Dawn Evans and Tracey Smolinski are two powerhouses when it comes to business and female entrepreneurship.
With 25 years of business experience, numerous awards, qualifications, and high-net-worth clients, these women really know what they are doing. Only eight months ago they were both socialising with billionaire Sir Richard Branson on his private island.
Both regularly speak at business events: Dawn talks about her business growth strategies, and Tracey speaks about how to master networking, which is also the title of her best-selling book. They are often asked to share a platform, as their respective talks are complementary – networking and business growth go hand in hand. During the pandemic, Dawn and Tracey were invited to speak at the Global Stimulus Summit, where they spoke about the impact of the global pandemic and how they had taken their offline companies online. The summit also featured top entrepreneurs Les Brown, Sharon Lechter and Nik Halik.
Dawn is chief executive of a multiple award-winning vocational training company, Ajuda Ltd; founder of Wales’s biggest ever education and mental health shows; owner of Peak Coaching Academy and a published children’s author. All these roles have helped develop her skills and experience as a successful entrepreneur. Dawn specialises in motivating, inspiring and helping startup and growing businesses develop. She has used her degree-level qualifications in education, sustainable leadership, and coaching and mentoring for entrepreneurial practice in developing and creating new entrepreneurs of the future.
Tracey Smolinski is chief executive of Wales’ largest networking company, Introbiz. Like Dawn, she uses her wealth of business knowledge to mentor individuals on networking; she loves helping and developing people. Tracey’s networking company has secured 3,000 global members, and has commissioned keynote speakers including Lord Sugar, Les Brown, Brian Tracy, Dr John Demartini, Grant Cardone, Hilary Devey, Baroness Michelle Mone, Sharon Lechter and many other renowned business people at her annual business expositions and online events.
Both women are also proud role models for the Welsh government’s Big Ideas Wales programme, which involves going into schools and universities across the country to inspire confidence and motivate young adults to consider launching their own companies, empowering students and the entrepreneurs of the future.
Between them, Dawn and Tracey have raised over £300k for charity because they thrive on helping other people by making a positive difference in their lives.
These women have made an impact and have worked with many budding and growing entrepreneurs across the globe, who now run successful businesses too. They thrive on watching others succeed.
So why IWOW and the book?
Let us take you back to 2012 when the women first met. Tracey hosted a networking event, which Dawn attended as a delegate. She bought a ticket to a seminar in London a month later, which was delivered by Kevin Green, a serial entrepreneur and star of The Secret Millionaire, a reality television show. After that, Kevin invited Tracey to London to host a post-event cocktail party, where Tracey and Dawn first met. They got on well from the start and built up a good rapport. A few months later, Dawn joined Tracey’s network, Introbiz, and that was the start of a great friendship.
Little did they know what that would lead to years later.
Over the years, Tracey and Dawn often met to discuss their businesses and come up with ideas for each other. They had fun in the process. In spring 2019, they were sitting in a hotel in March 2020, after the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak had been declared a pandemic, Tracey and Dawn pivoted their businesses and decided to take the conference online. To make it an online success, they needed an online audience, so they set up a Facebook group, Inspirational Women of the World. More than 3,000 women joined the group within six weeks.
They noticed that many of the women had imposter syndrome and were lacking in business knowledge and confidence. They realised that these women would benefit from the online conference, which was a great success, as well as from Dawn and Tracey’s expertise, guidance and support. So, in June 2020, they formed IWOW Ltd.
Many ideas came from IWOW. As well as wanting to create a global community of female entrepreneurs, Dawn and Tracey also wanted to give women an opportunity to tell their stories and be heard by a wider audience. So, they set out to find 20 inspirational women to feature in this book, each with her own chapter, and her own story. Once you start reading it, you will be fascinated by their stories and will surely agree that they truly are inspirational women of the world.
Dawn and Tracey now have a mission: to make a huge impact by inspiring and uplifting one million women by 2030. They are planning and organising their third annual women’s conference, which will be hosted in London on 2 July 2021. Other opportunities will include retreats, workshops and mastermind challenges.
Thanks to their connections around the world, they are also creating opportunities further afield – from socialising with Sir Richard Branson on his private island (which they were fortunate to experience in 2019), to building a village on a Moroccan mountain to help poor women set up their own business.
The Moroccan project is scheduled to start in September 2021, and every year they intend to add a new building. By year 10, this will be a business village where women can create businesses that they would not otherwise have been able to – and what a difference this will make for these women of Morocco. This is what IWOW is all about: empowering women, lifting them and giving them opportunities that they would not have thought possible.
Dawn and Tracey are also confident that when they help women connect, these women will excel and lift one another, and have friendships for life too.
An extract from “Inspirational Women of the World” (Panoma Press) by Dawn Evans and Tracey Smolinski