2020 Influential Businesswoman Awards

24 Acquisition International - 2020 Worldwide Finance Awards n 2011, Julie Hawkins designed a product which led her to establishing her own company two years later, KIH Products. It was at this point that Julie began to become aware of the adversity faced by single parents in business, yet through a combination of hard work and determination, she was able to push through, even helping others who were facing the same problems. When her daughter turned five, Julie completed a law degree, and was able to take on some paralegal work that was instrumental to her professional and personal development. However, whilst the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) only requires twenty hours per week of qualifying employment, this is very difficult to attain as the reality of the industry’s fixation on full-time hours meant that she was forced to change career paths, much to her dismay. However, Julie was not about to give up, just because society was not equipped to deal with her requirements. Her situation meant that she was destined to significantly reduce her skillset and salary, something that Julie was not going to accept lying down. She decided to fight this system. The Single Mums Business Network was established in 2019, with the mission to help other single mums gain exposure for their businesses, while also raising awareness of the obstacles placed in front of this demographic in pursuit of salaried careers in line with their skillsets. Working with women all over the UK, the SMBN is principally made up of single mothers in business, as well as professional single mothers and professional women, and men, who have joined as friends of the SMBN, gaining benefits such as increased exposure, as well as comradeship and the opportunity to support the cause. Julie’s main advice to women who want to succeed is, after all, to support other women. It is vital to undo years of primitive survival techniques and see each other as allies instead of enemies, who are able to help each other to success, whatever that means for each woman. As an expert under the 10,000-hour rule who was been in and out of employment, set up a company, neared homelessness and has experienced the whole scope of job situations as a single mother, Julie is committed to helping women remove the parent penalty of suffering in their careers. -The Single Mums Business Network (SMBN) is not a networking group in the traditional sense. Instead, it is a collaboration of professional women and women in business who share similar circumstances, working together and supporting one another. Founded in 2019 by Julie Hawkins following her own gruelling experiences as a single mother in business, the SMBN is designed to help single mothers gain exposure for their businesses whilst raising awareness of the boundaries that face this demographic. We spoke to Julie to find out more about her work in the SMBN. Working Mums Business Membership Director of the Year 2020 (UK): Julie Hawkins I Each member of the SMBN is supported to be seen and heard more than if they were operating solo. Offering payment plans that ensure nobody is excluded based on financial situations and advice and encouragement to all the women who support the SMBN, the organisation is working to see women empowered and safe. In addition, the SMBN is working with men to see how they fit in to this in a positive way. Success can only be achieved through balance and collaboration. Having already helped many women across the UK, Julie is now working on various other projects such as an event in March led by Julie and two other leaders, that is dedicated to helping women across the UK find their power through unity and sisterhood. The ‘Find Your Power’ event will be a collaboration between the SMBN, Parents in Biz and Empowerment House, designed to help women, and men, find professional, emotional, physical, financial and sexual fulfilment. The Single Mums in Business Awards will also take place in November, with nominations for the 2021 awards opening on 29th November. Julie is continuing to work on the impact created by the SMBN, so that women no longer suffer financially as a result of having children. For a long time, men were able to support their families with their salaries, whilst having free childcare and someone to look after the home. As the cost of living continues to grow disproportionately to wages, severely impacting parents and single parents across the UK, Julie and the SMBN is one of the million voices pushing for change. Together we can succeed by peer pressure. Contact: Julie Hawkins Company: KIH Products T/A Single Mums Business Network Website: www.singlemumsbusinessnetwork.com | www.find-your-power.com