Dawn Hall is President and CEO of AttainIt, a firm that helps organizations attain their supplier diversity program goals and grow their businesses. AttainIt was also awarded the first sole source women-owned small business federal contract in the U.S. in January 2016.
What motivated you to start your business?
I wanted to participate in the momentum of the women business owners movement towards more and larger businesses owned by women. I feel strongly that we need to participate in the business community and demonstrate that we are competent and capable of competing in commercial markets.
What is the greatest barrier you faced in launching your business and how did you overcome it?
Belief in myself and my abilities. I practiced believing that I could until I did.
Do you have a mentor? How did you find him/her?
Yes, I worked for her during the 1990s. She was very influential in shaping my perception that women can be powerful and professional. We maintain contact today and she still inspires me.
If you could go back in time to when you were first starting, what would you tell yourself, with the intention of avoiding mistakes and heart ache?
I would tell myself to believe in my abilities and trust my drive, intention and intuition. If I had more belief in my abilities I would be farther down my path today.
What resources have been most helpful to you?
Other business owners, they are constantly providing information and feedback about the business community, how to find opportunity and valuable insight into mistakes and lessons d.
What does success look like for you?
Longevity – being able to maintain my drive and passion for what I do and being able to inspire other women to dream big and pursue their desires.
What do you do to recharge?
Meditation, exercise and cooking with my husband. We also take our dogs on long walks every weekend – getting out of the house/office and walking the trails with our dogs, who so clearly enjoy themselves, helps me to reconnect with the idea that I have to create my own joy and be intentional about experiencing it. It takes effort and commitment to reconnect with ‘real’ life and remember that what happens in the business is not the only thing that is happening.
What’s your advice for a woman that’s considering starting her own business?
You may have to overcome perceptions about what you can and cannot do – perceptions perpetuated by stereotypes and your own perceptions of your limitations. If you believe you can and you have the fortitude to devote the effort you can and will succeed.