Dia Simms is on a mission to make clear that when it comes to bottom line success, diversity is more than a buzzword. As the President of Combs Enterprises and the driving force behind Sean “Diddy” Combs’ expansive empire, Simms’ steady career rise is linked to results, not box checking. “My being in the room makes all of us better. This is not a favor. You can look at any study and it will continually reinforce the idea that more women actually make more money.”
Hired as Comb’s executive assistant in 2005, Simms ascended the ranks working alongside the music, fashion and beverage mogul across a diverse range of business ventures, quickly establishing herself as an invaluable asset to his evolution as an entrepreneur. She credits her unconventional career experiences, from a stint at the Department of Defense to roles in the pharmaceutical and marketing industries, as critical to honing her leadership skills and identifying her professional passions. Today, Simms oversees business ventures across a growing portfolio of lifestyle and consumer product brands including Bad Boy Entertainment, CÎROC vodka, Revolt Media, and Sean John to name a few.
I recently sat down with Simms to discuss her industry-spanning career trajectory, lessons in bold thinking from Sean Combs himself, and the business benefits of diverse leadership.
On the Power of a First Impression
With a career trajectory that’s spanned the Department of Defense to hip hop, Simms learned quickly how to stand out as the only woman in the room, stressing the importance of making the right kind of first impression. “You don’t have twenty minutes to make an impact. You need to assert not only your confidence, but your excellence, your know-how, your prowess, and your conviction about your genuine value,” she says.
Being outnumbered also prompted Simms to draw clear lines between her professional and personal lives to ensure her leadership was taken seriously. “When I started working for Combs Enterprises, I wouldn’t put one single personal effect up, one personal picture. We had a million parties. I wouldn’t do a two-step. I didn’t want there to be any opportunity for miscommunication.”
Watch her full interview with Moira Forbes @ Forbes