Tracey Davis is sales director and co-founder of business networking company, Sterling Networks.
Passionate about making meaningful connections, Tracey facilitates regular networking groups across the country, helping members collaborate, fast track their professional relationships and build profitable businesses.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I am the sales director for Sterling Integrity Services and Sterling Advance. I have been in this role for 10 years and my key focus is on supporting the members of our networking groups and speaking to business owners who are interested in networking and building their business to see if we can support them and find them a home in our groups.
I also manage our growing team and ensure all our systems and processes are being used to create consistency across the company and allow us to provide a professional approach at all levels.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
Yes. When I was younger, I loved hairdressing and started in the industry at a very young age, before going into a hair salon and starting my Saturday job.
From that Saturday job I launched into a hairdressing career and worked my way up to become a manager of one of the top salons in Gloucestershire. I then realised I had a lot of lovely clients and wanted to go out on my own, so I started my own freelance business in Gloucestershire for over 10 years. A lovely business that I then sold.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
From early on in my career I felt a hunger to develop my skills in business and to challenge my business knowledge as well as my own personal development.
I faced the challenge of changing from being known as a good hairdresser into becoming recognised as a businesswoman and running a successful business doing what I love.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
I have two main achievements of equal magnitude. The first was leaving my successful hairdressing business to join my husband in running a manufacturing company, which we started from scratch and developed into a £250k plus business in five years.
We successfully sold that business and decided to try living and working in Europe for nearly seven years before returning to the UK. We then started Sterling Integrity Services which covers both Sterling Networks and Sterling Advance. We have grown that business exponentially and now run 24 networking groups, with more amazing growth plans set for 2021.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
I am an incredibly determined individual and believe in our business vision, and this drives me forward for success every day. The joy I feel when I get great feedback from our clients then makes me determined to support even more people.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
I fully support mentoring and believe that it is always good to give back what you have learned in life.
I have been extremely fortunate to work with several business coaches and I find that the support I get from them has helped me from a mentoring point of view. I have not formally mentored anyone but have worked with many young people, both in the manufacturing industry and in our current business and hope that the help and support I provide allows them to grow into their own role.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?
I would love to see more support for women in business. I am extremely proud of the work that we have done in Sterling Networks to support our female members.
Traditionally, networking has been a male dominated environment, and when we started the business the groups were predominantly male. Over the years that has changed, and our groups are now very mixed. We run them at times that allow for the school run and provide the flexibility of managing your business around your home life.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
Work hard and trust that what you are doing will drive you towards the success you deserve. Stay true to your vision and continue with improving your business knowledge and personal development. Also, make sure you get the balance right and enjoy yourself and what you have achieved.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
The next challenge is to take things to the next level and ensure all our businesses are successful and that we grow the Sterling brand.
As well as continuously expanding Sterling Networks, we are launching a new business called Sterling Advance. There are a lot of opportunities with this and it is exciting to be starting something during current circumstances.
On a personal note, longer term the goal is to build the business so that it runs itself and I can ease off. One of my life’s ambitions was to have a mobile home in Cornwall and last year we achieved this. We have only been able to use it a handful of times this year and the plan is to spend more time there in the future once the company is where we want it to be.
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