Meet The Rainmaker - Martha Fay Africa
by Rachelle J. Canter, Ph.D.
Presented by the Women Rainmakers
May, 2004
Name: Martha Fay Africa
Employer: Major, Lindsey & Africa (world's largest legal search firm)
Title: Co-Founder & Managing Director
Location: San Francisco, CA

Why did you start women rainmakers?
I was frustrated hearing talented women lawyers say they couldn't make rain without role models. Most felt they could not learn from men. So I decided to find successful women role models, and start an educational group to help train rainmakers.
Advice to young women lawyers:
Don't be afraid of rainmaking - it's a learnable art.
Recommended first steps?
Show more interest in others than you show in yourself. Believe in your ability to succeed. Why should someone else succeed and not you?
Rainmaking strategies:
  • Look for the vacuum, the under-served, what isn't getting done by others and go claim it as your own.
  • Attach yourself to a rainmaker you respect.
Most important rainmaking advice?
You won't get business unless you ask for it!
Any changes since you started women rainmakers in 1990?
Women can have a seat at the table now - the question is still whether they choose to take it.
Best advice you ever got:
From Frank Press, my mentor, former two-term President of National Academy of Sciences and my boss at MIT: "You can help someone else make money or you can help me make history" - and I've been a sucker for making history ever since.
What would you like your legacy to be?
That women lawyers associated with Women Rainmakers pass on that learning to others.
Business philosophy:
Do unto others, but make sure you retain the competitive edge.
Best way to keep a competitive advantage?
Reading business publications like the Wall Street Journal for insights on what business trends mean to your clients. That's how you add real value.
Yardstick of success:
Wanting to go to work everyday and loving being there.
Proundest professional accomplishments?
(1) Founding Women Rainmakers and
(2) being the first law school placement director in the country to charge employers for the privilege of interviewing law students.
Characteristics of happiest, most satisfied lawyers?
Believing in themselves and believing they are making a difference.
Words that describe you:
Intuitive, creative.
Favorite pastimes:
Listening to jazz, entertaining, buying and renovating properties.
Any other advice?
Don't hold yourself back or let anyone else hold you back: "I will not be less so that you can be more." Take chances, take risks to succeed, and if you let yourself, you will have a great time on your path to success!
Interview by Rachelle J. Canter, Ph.D.
Note to readers: Marty Africa is the founder of, and inspiration behind, Women Rainmakers. Though not a lawyer by training, she has had a profound influence on Women Rainmakers and the legal profession, as rainmaker, industry leader and innovator, leading search consultant, activist for creating more opportunities for women and minorities in the legal profession, coach, and a person who embodies more than anyone the spirit and ideals of Women Rainmakers.
LPM Women Rainmakers is a national forum enabling women to network and develop business opportunities. By understanding how to develop business, women can exert greater control over their careers and integrate their personal lives successfully with the practice of law. For more information on LPM Women Rainmakers, visit .
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