Age: 34, General Manager
The Blue Flame Agency, New York City
Dia Simms accepted a job as assistant to rapper / record producer / fashion designer Sean “Diddy” Combs after just a six-minute interview with Combs. Less than five years later, she leads one of Combs’s multimillion-dollar companies, Blue Flame Marketing and Advertising. As general manager, she develops marketing strategies for “Diddy” brand initiatives including, Ciroc Ultra Premium Vodka, Sean Jean fragrances and the Sean John clothing line. It’s a high-powered position, but she doesn’t allow it to detract from her femininity. “As a woman, it is important to feel like you can embrace your femininity — be ladylike and powerful simultaneously,” she explains.
Hard work is key to her success. “Whether you are volunteering at a church event or closing a multimillion dollar deal, it is important to give it 500 percent,” she insists.
Simms worked as a contract specialist with the Department of Defense after which she established Madison Marketing Inc., with two partners, managing events and promotions for clients that included Seagram’s, Appleton Rum, Nabisco and Dada Sportswear. She moved to the pharmaceutical industry as a sales representative for GlaxoSmithKline, becoming the top performer in her region. She continued her sales career at Clear Channel as a senior account executive, where her clients included Sean John clothing and Bad Boy Records. She joined Diddy’s business empire in 2005.
Simms holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Morgan State University and a master’s degree in management from Florida Institute of Technology, and is Level II-certified by the Defense Acquisition University. She joined the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, which provides entrepreneurial training for high-school students, especially those from low-income communities, and is a board member of the Women’s Employment Opportunity Project Inc., Grace Reformed Church and Daddy’s House Social Programs.
First job: Coffee Beanery barista
Last Movie: Cadillac Records
Favorite author: Kurt Vonnegut
Favorite song: “Show You the Way to Go” by The Jacksons
Favorite sports team: AtlantaFalcons
Favorite comedian: Larry David