40 Under 40 The Class of 2015

Dawn Leaks

Founder and CEO, Woman of Confidence Coaching and Consulting, LLC; Age 39

Dawn Leaks

Dawn Leaks

Dawn Leaks believes everyone has a God-given purpose in life. “Some people are operating within it, but others are not,” she said. “They stay in a job or profession just because it pays the bills.”

Her desire to become an entrepreneur was born in her teens, and in February the business she founded in 2012 — Woman of Confidence Coaching and Consulting, LLC — became a full-time endeavor. “My mission is to help people live the life of their dreams with passion, purpose, and confidence,” she said. “I help people find clarity and develop a clear action plan to move forward with what they were meant to do.”

The former state director of communications for the American Red Cross is serious about her work and saw “passion and compassion demonstrated in extraordinary ways” when she coordinated public affairs for the Red Cross after the 2011 Springfield tornado and the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Today, she works as a personal coach, handles communications and marketing for businesses and nonprofits, and is a contributing writer for Lioness magazine. “Effective communication can help people have more harmonious relationships and attract the right clients,” Leaks said.

Her professional career has included working for MassLive, the Urban League of Springfield, Springfield Public Schools, and Leadership Pioneer Valley. She has an MBA in entrepreneurial thinking and innovation from Bay Path University and brings that expertise to her volunteer and civic endeavors.

Leaks is on the advisory board of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., a board member of New England Public Radio Inc., sponsorship chairman of the Arts and Humanities Award Gala, former columnist for African American Point of View, and former board member of the Next Level Development Conference of Women of Color.

“My work allows me to meet amazing people who have a big vision for their life, but are not sure how to make it happen,” she said. “I help them to strategize and stay motivated so they can reach their goals.”

The certified John Maxwell speaker, coach, and trainer grew up in Springfield and says she’s optimistic about the city’s future. “I hope that being a successful entrepreneur will help me do my part in the great revitalization taking place here.”

— Kathleen Mitchell

Photo by Denise Smith Photography