Combs Enterprises’ newly appointed President, Dia Simms talks to ESSENCE about the importance of HBCUs, having Diddy as a mentor and her journey to success.
More than a decade ago, Dia Simms became Diddy’s assistant at Combs Enterprises. Now, she’s been named the company’s President, which encompasses brands like Bad Boy Entertainment, Sean John, Combs Wine & Spirits, AQUAhydrate, Bad Boy Touring, Janice Combs Publishing, Revolt Films and Revolt TV. She shared with ESSENCE what Diddy’s mentorship meant to her and why it’s important for her to offer a helping hand to the next generation.
The Gig: My schedule changes wildly, but on any given day I could be working on a new campaign for Ciroc, looking to close out some new business propositions for Sean or some multi-million dollar proposal. Also, I could be planning a date night for my husband.
Hard Work Pays Off: I have worked for Sean in a variety of roles on a plethora of projects, so it’s always great to be recognized. To be handed the key after all of the hard work that Sean has put into building his enterprises. I am grateful and proud. I’m really excited about what’s next.
Having Media Mogul Diddy As A Mentor: He has been a tremendous mentor. What’s so phenomenal about him is that he really has an amazing ability to bring out the very best inp you, even beyond what might be your own expectations. We’ve all had bosses that we worked for who we didn’t learn a lot from and we secretly felt we could do the job better. But here I have an opportunity to work for somebody who I can learn from every day.
Morgan State University Becoming Her Foundation: For me, going to Morgan and going to an HBCU was really the perfect foundation from a confidence building standpoint and from an enrichment standpoint. I think it set me up for success in any environment. I was very much treated like family as my professors genuinely cared about my safety, livelihood and happiness.
The Importance Of HBCUs: Getting a 4.0 is important but you also want to make sure your emotional health is nurtured and that you have people that you can call on your short list not just when you graduate but for the rest of your life. I would encourage high school seniors to really take a hard look at what they can gain from going to HBCU: a real family and also setting up that foundation for the rest of your life.
Advice For Her Younger Self: Be sure to take a moment and reflect on some of the accomplishments. I delivered a can’t stop, won’t stop approach, which served us well but I do think it is important to occasionally take a second to just reflect.
Relieving Stress: I love reading, spending time with friends and family, and traveling.
Her Superpower: Speed.
Her Theme Song: “Lovely Day,” By Diana Ross
Interview by Essence