How To Be A Boss! An Interview With Diddy’s Right Hand Woman Dia Simms!By Delaina Dixon | July 23, 2015 | Gal Approved
Hello lovely Divas! It’s #HowToThursday, and we’re kicking off a new section: Careers! Here you’ll learn how your career idols made their first million, brokered their first deal, sold their first company, created their fashion collection or gained millions of social media followers — start taking notes!
We’re revisiting our amazing interview with Dia Simms, Diddy‘s top advertising executive, on how she made it to the top!
Working alongside Sean “Diddy” Combs sounds like a dream come true, right? Well, that’s what Dia Simms does for a living.
This savvy advertising executive is known as the company’s “brand gladiator,” a role she’s been perfecting for the past nine years, working with Diddy’s top spirit brands and other marketing efforts.
On an early Friday morning, Dia took time out of her uber-busy schedule to chat with the DivaGals. Of course, we asked her the secrets to her success, and she was happy to divulge!
What’s the main responsibility of your position?
I have a new role now. I’ve been with the company for about nine years, I used to run the in-house advertising agency called Blue Flame. I also had responsibility for anything and everything to do with Cîroc Vodka. We’ve made some changes recently. My primary role is our new division, wine and spirits. I was involved with purchasing a new tequila, which will launch in a few months. And I’m also working with what the next goodies are.
What does a typical day entail for you?
There are definitely no normal days! I don’t know how familiar you are with my boss Sean Combs, but we have a NAVY Seal, by any means necessary attitude — we get it done. I just came back from Los Angeles where we spent three days shooting the new commercial for Cîroc Vodka. Any day could include shooting commercials, tasting flavors for our new pineapple launch and working on our new TV network, Revolt, for the music conference we just finished. It could include planning the next white party, which is pretty intense; it feels like we’re planning the Grammys sometimes. Then there is recruiting and staffing, and I’m super involved in social media, so I work closely with our digital team. There’s our radio programming and events around the country; traveling and looking at international expansion; and looking at new products to see what our new venture might be. It definitely varies widely, and it’s never boring at all.
What skills did you bring to Diddy’s organization that made you such a success with the company?
I think we both have in common that mantra that absolutely anything can be done. It might be difficult, it might not be worth it, it might be a million dollars, it might be dangerous, but it can be accomplished. I think that is why we’re able to work so well together.
What’s the biggest lessons you’ve learned working with Diddy?
I learned how to operate on limited sleep, that’s for sure. And I think at the end of the day, what I really love the most, is that you can really come up with a great idea and make it possible. I worked at the department of defense and pharmaceutical companies, and if I want to get a new colored pen, it was a 100 person process and congressional sign-off. Where here, we can say, “Hey, I think we should turn the building violet.” If you have a good plan, you can make it happen. I love that we can literally launch a brand next week if we want to, or take over a street or a city whenever we want to do it, as long as we have a plan in place.
Which accomplishment makes you the most proud?
I would say far and away, it’s Cîroc Vodka. Sometimes we feel like the “300” because we are a small team, but we don’t want to die at the end of the story! We work with Diagio, which is a world-class company, the biggest company in the world for wine and spirits. They had Cîroc Vodka for five years and the brand didn’t do that well, and if anybody could do it, it would be these guys, as they are best in class. Once we took over the brand, within the first 3 to 3 1/2 years, we moved it from 70,000 to 2 million cases a year. We’re just extraordinarily proud of what we were able to do, and really proud to tap into this new American audience that’s multicultural, which sometimes gets undervalued when brands our going out with their targeted audiences.
How important is it for you to connect with a multicultural audience?
Our brands are more for a state of mind than any ethnicity, but there is a reality about the way of the world and the way America is going, and sometimes people of color — of any color — get ignored across the board. We don’t ignore them. We’re people of color, and we’re proud of that. Obviously, we have a diverse group in our organization. We make sure that we don’t ignore that critical audience.
Give us a sneak peek on your new wine and spirit!
Combs Wines is our new division — we’ve gone and put our flag in the sand — we’re going to be entrenched in the spirit industry. We just purchased a new tequila called DeLeón, that’s public news and we’ll be launching that over the next few months, and it’s just amazing.
What qualities should a person have to succeed in a company like yours?
It really comes to a personality type than what school you went to or whatever training you had. There’s a level of accountability, integrity and initiative that’s not always easy to teach. It really is quite simple, and people, for whatever reason, avoid it. But it really is the coming early, staying late and putting in the hard work. There’s no magic bullet. For some period of time, you really need to bust your butt and work hard.