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Big Goals, Bold Choices: Mila Smart Semeshkina, Founder, Women's Empowerment Council "Success demands action. Don't hesitate to move forward, and take steps towards realizing your dreams."

By Tamara Pupic

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

WE Council
Mila Smart Semeshkina, Founder, Women's Empowerment Council (WE Council) and WE Convention

This article is from a special edition of Entrepreneur Middle East created for the 2024 edition of the Women's Empowerment (WE) Convention, staged by the WE Council. Check out the full publication here.

Mila Smart Semeshkina was inspired to establish the Women's Empowerment (WE) Council and organize the WE Convention conference upon recognizing the significant lack of platforms specifically dedicated to female leaders, where they could convene, grow collectively, and inspire each other. "My vision was to create a place where women leaders could mentor and guide others, showcasing how to achieve goals with motivation and by being role models," she says. "The concept was to establish an environment where women, acknowledged for their strength, power, and self-sufficiency, could channel their abundant energy productively. Essentially, the WE Council is a beacon for women acting as lighthouses, and for those seeking guidance to navigate their lives."

Based out of Dubai, the Women's Empowerment Council has today grown into a community of 30,000 women from around the world. Its flagship event, the WE Convention, featured a stellar lineup of 65 speakers in 2023, which included notable names like model, author, and dietician Maye Musk, Wildberries founder and CEO Tatyana Bakalchuk, and Build an Empire CEO Elena Cardone. In 2024, the two-day WE Convention 2024 featured more than 100 speakers, including Maria Sharapova (world-class tennis champion, investor and entrepreneur), Carla Bruni (singer, supermodel and the former first lady of France), Karen Wazen (digital entrepreneur), Meryem Uzerli (actress), and many more.

But the stellar lineup of speakers is not the only strength of the conference- its uniqueness is in the content that the many extraordinarily successful women will share with attendees. "At our events, successful women share their 'recipes' for success- detailing the specific actions they took, the challenges they overcame, and the pathways they followed," Semeshkina says. "These narratives are akin to recipes in cooking; each includes a set of ingredients (actions and strategies), mixed and prepared in a unique way. The same principle applies to career and business success: the foundational elements are similar, but the final outcome is uniquely flavored by each individual's journey."

Another strength of the WE Convention, Semeshkina continues, is an atmosphere of camaraderie and support. "It is a stark contrast to the often-perceived notion that women in success-driven environments compete and undermine each other," she explains. "Instead, when brought together with a shared vision of success and a common worldview, an incredible atmosphere of positive and constructive networking emerges. Women help and uplift each other, creating an environment of mutual support and collaboration."

Related: Big Goals, Bold Choices: H.E. Dr. Maryam Mohamed Fatma Matar, Founder And Chairperson, UAE Genetic Diseases Association

Mila Smart Semeshkina, founder, Women's Empowerment (WE) Council. Image courtesy WE Council.

For the 2024 edition of the WE Convention, Semeshkina has chosen a topic that is often shrouded in hesitation, yet crucial for empowerment: money. "The discourse usually revolves around self-development and spiritual growth, which are vital; however, there's an urgent need to address the practical aspects of financial empowerment and career success," she says. "It's about time we openly discuss why earning money, achieving career milestones, and having the autonomy to make choices matter significantly."

This year's event will therefore delve into success strategies, discussing the importance of financial independence and career advancement, and offering insights into stabilizing and growing businesses. "Our aim is for attendees to leave with tangible success stories, whether it's doubling their income, expanding their business, or advancing in their careers," Semeshkina says. "We seek measurable and practical outcomes that result directly from the strategies discussed at the WE Convention.To facilitate this, we're not just hosting inspiring speakers on the main stage, but also organizing hands-on workshops."

As for her plans for the future, Semeshkina aims for the WE Convention to become more widely recognized, attracting a larger number of women who aspire to be part of the WE Council community. "Specifically, our goal is to significantly increase participation in our annual conference," she says. "Instead of hosting 2,000 attendees, we're aiming for 5,000, solidifying our position as the world's premier forum for women leaders. By scaling up, we not only expand our reach, but also enhance our impact. As we become more prominent, we attract more influential speakers and thought leaders. This, in turn, enriches the experience for our attendees, offering them exposure to a wider range of ideas, experiences, and insights shared by our role models and speakers. The increased visibility and the quality of discourse at our events will empower more women to embrace and act on the messages, strategies, and ideas presented."

Related: Big Goals, Bold Choices: Dr. Giovanna Graziosi Casimiro, Head, Metaverse Fashion Week

Insider Insights: Mila Smart Semeshkina shares her tips for achieving success

Define your vision clearly "The first step towards success is to have a crystal-clear understanding of what you want. Define your primary goal, and envision your future in specific terms. It's crucial to know precisely what you are aiming for– this clarity will guide your decisions and actions."

Take bold actions "Success demands action. Don't hesitate to move forward, and take steps towards realizing your dreams. Embrace the courage to engage in activities that bring you closer to your goals. Overcoming fear and inertia is essential in the journey towards success."

Embrace continuous learning "The third key is to remain open to new learning and experiences. Be receptive to people and opportunities around you. Constant growth and adaptability are vital in an ever-changing world. This openness not only enhances your skillset, but also keeps you versatile and prepared for unexpected changes."

Related: Big Goals, Bold Choices: Olga Leffers, Founder, VintageDream

Tamara Pupic

Entrepreneur Staff

Managing Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Tamara Pupic is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Middle East.

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