Tracey McAtamney

The author and inspirational speaker, Tracey McAtamney, from Balsall Common is director of Ladies First Professional Development and founder of Surviving Bereavement


At the age of 18, I was Coventry Carnival Queen and even back then loved fund-raising – my year was completed with a parachute jump with the Lady Mayoress! Fast forward, I married and have two lovely sons, now 27 and 36. Twenty years ago, when I was just 38, I was widowed suddenly when my husband died while playing golf for the Law Society in Spain.

I sold our family legal practice and founded Warwickshire Legal Recruitment and worked in association with Warwickshire Law Society providing locums, something I struggled with before selling our practice. Then, when my mum was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer, I sold the business and held mum’s hand during her cancer journey. After her death I suffered with empty nest syndrome with my oldest son now in his own home and my younger son at university.

I was offered the opportunity to take over a Women in Business network. I re-launched within three months and introduced our Ladies First Business & Inspirational Women Awards. It’s my motto that ‘we all have a story’, I told mine and was asked to write a book. In 2019, I became the author of Hidden Strength and set up my own bereavement foundation called Surviving Bereavement. During lockdown I qualified as a grief recovery specialist.


As the founder of Surviving Bereavement, I provide pop-up bereavement cafes across the West Midlands and Warwickshire. These provide a safe place for bereaved people to meet others feeling the same isolation of loss and loneliness. The cafes are free to attend and funded by sponsorship and donations. We have tears but we also have lots of laughter and hugs! I also provide free memory boxes and bags for children and young adults coping with bereavement. More recently, I give talks in the workplace on creating a compassionate culture.

I am still a director of Ladies First Professional Development and the network is bigger than ever. Many of the businesses support my Bereavement Foundation by offering sponsorship. In January, we launched our awards from the House of Commons and we are hosting our 6th awards at the IXL Dallas Burston Polo Club on 13 June, raising funds for the Giles Brain Tumour Charity.


Personally, seeing my sons grow into such wonderful young men – their dad would be so proud. Professionally, my Surviving Bereavement work, being recognised as a Platinum Champion for outstanding contribution as a volunteer in the year of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.


I see the best in everyone and sometimes I have been a little naïve. Will this change? Probably not!


For Surviving Bereavement, more cafes and volunteers to help run them. For Ladies First, see my awards continue to grow and encourage young people that they can achieve whatever they want in life.


The people! I love networking in Birmingham, the busy vibe and incredible venues.


Walking my dogs, concerts, theatre – and I absolutely love dancing!