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Dia  Simms

Dia Simms

CEO at BRN Group & Former President of Combs Enterprises

Biography

An award-winning, entrepreneurial business leader, Dia Simms is the CEO of BRN Group, a breakthrough cannabis tech company that focuses on building and managing cannabis brands. Previously, she was the first president of Combs Enterprises, the company created by mogul and music legend Sean “Diddy” Combs, who Forbes called, “Hip Hop’s first billionaire.” Legendary for her expertise in leading brand strategy and launching brands, she is a dynamic keynote with an inspiring story and valuable insights on business, leadership, and succeeding in a man’s world to become one of America’s few female and African American CEOs. Read More >

“Now is the time for a revolution in the cannabis industry,” said CEO Simms when BRN Group launched in late 2019. “We’re here to inspire brands to think bigger while helping expand the diversity of products, people and thinking in the industry.” As a leader blazing new trails in one of the world’s most promising and innovative industries, Simms brings a track record of driving sales, maximizing revenues and leading high performance teams. She earned her reputation at Combs Enterprises, where she began working as Sean "Diddy" Combs’ executive assistant in 2005 and grew with the company, building multiple brands and businesses. Credited for turning Bad Boy Records into Combs Enterprises, Simms achieved success overseeing the portfolio of brands under the Combs empire which includes spirits, fashion, fragrance, and the Capital Prep schools. She also oversaw their award-winning in-house ad agency. One of her most notable achievements was transforming the previously unprofitable CÎROC ultra-premium vodka into a $2 billion retail value brand, selling over 16 million cases worldwide.

Ms. Simms’ many honors include: Ad Age Women to Watch, Billboard’s Most Powerful Executives in Music, Ebony Power 100, Maverick of the Year and the Diageo Global Marketing Brilliance Award. An active philanthropist and volunteer, she currently serves on the boards of Capital Preparatory Charter Schools and THREAD. She received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Morgan State University, and a master’s degree from the Florida Institute of Technology.

Bringing leadership in multiple industries, insightful perceptions and a captivating life story, Ms. Simms is a creative force that inspires and engages. Her dynamic presentations leave audiences motivated, informed and ready to take their work or life to the next level. She currently speaks nationally on a variety of topics including women’s empowerment, brand building, negotiating, marketing in a new America and diversity & inclusion. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Forbes: How Dia Simms Is Leading the Business Empire of Hip Hop’s First Billionaire

Forbes Success in 60 Seconds: How to Take Career Risks

The Need for Women in Leadership

Approaching Diversity

Know Your Value

Speech Topics

A CBD CEO Looks at a $40 Billion Industry

When Dia Simms launched BRN Group, she saw it as a "once in a millennium opportunity." With CBD projected to be a $40 Billion industry in the U.S. in the next decade, Simms shares her insights on one of the most rapidly growing industries in North America and the world. Bringing deep experience and success in spirits marketing to her role as a powerhouse cannabis entrepreneur, Simms examines the many niche opportunities for businesses, investors and entrepreneurs alike. She also highlights the potential for women and minorities to get their "piece of the pie" in a new, booming industry where the old boys club doesn’t exist, and hustle reaps rewards.

Dia on Women and Work-Life Balance: "Juggling is What Clowns Do!"

According to Dia Simms, "There is no work-life balance. Not for the women that I know." For her, life is not a matter of keeping multiple balls in the air at once ("Juggling is what clowns do!"). It's about taking on every aspect of your life from a batting cage — focusing all of your force on one ball at a time. From her daughter's science fair to negotiating a $100 million deal, Dia is 100% present on each ball in each moment. In this inspiring speech, CEO/mom/wife/philanthropist/award-winning entrepreneurial business leader Simms outlines how women can go from juggling it all to hitting life, family and career out of the park.

The Clipboard Effect: Letting Men Know You Mean Business

From the Department of Defense to the world of Hip Hop to CEO of her pioneering CBD company, Dia Simms knows how it feels to be the only woman at the table. Her signature success strategy is "the clipboard effect." As a young woman in her 20s working big events, Dia discovered that carrying a clipboard communicated to everyone in the room that "I’m here for work." Later, she developed a "theoretical clipboard" of making the level of value that she brings to the table clear in every conversation. In this empowering talk, Dia helps audiences discover what their own theoretical clipboard could be — while sharing her ever-candid wisdom about rising to the top in a man's world.

Fueling Your Brand

Spirits. Content. Entertainment. Fashion. Fragrance. Retail. Now, cannabis. Dia Simms has distinguished herself as the visionary creative and marketing force behind multiple global brands in multiple industries. A pioneer in utilizing social media and digital innovation, she has been named both an Ad Age Woman to Watch and a winner of the Diageo Global Marketing Brilliance Award. Now at the forefront of branding for the cannabis industry, she shares her insights on what it takes to build, lead and manage successful brands — and how to fuel yours for success.

Dia on Diversity: Stop Seeing It as a Favor. It’s Great for Business

The most recent McKinsey report on shows that companies in the top 25% for ethnic diversity at the executive level are 33% more likely to have above-average profitability than those at the bottom 25%. Dia Simms saw that in action as President of Combs Enterprises. Combs Enterprises, a company renowned for its ability to see trends, innovate, connect with consumers, retain great employees, and achieve enormous business success. All benefits that Dia attributes to both the diversity of the team and leadership. Speaking as a rare African American CEO and from her experience recruiting, building and leading highly effective, diverse teams, Dia provides insightful recommendations to increase diversity and drive success.