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Dia Simms, CEO of the BRN Group (pronounced “burn”), brought insight and inspiration to the UnBossed podcast with her inspiring career story. From the Department of Defense to managing Sean “Diddy” Combs’s alcohol division to delivering new cannabis brands to a flourishing market —Simms consistently marries excellence with hustle for impressive results.
The former CEO of Combs Wine & Spirits has created a steady, upwardly mobile path. Her hustle caught Diddy’s attention and put her in a prime position to learn from the best and to demonstrate the power of women in leadership. Under Simms’ direction, Cîroc Ultra Premium Vodka, DeLeón Tequila and spirits innovation projects for the company went from obscurity to over 1000% growth in the first 24 months after launch.
“Around 2008, I went to the CFO at the time and actually asked to do a backwards analysis of when you had women in leadership versus when you had men in leadership and to show how much more profitable he was. And it wasn’t surprising to me to show [that] you make more money when women are in charge,” Simms says.
In 2019 Simms took all she had accomplished across her already robust résumé and went out on her own — into the ever-expanding cannabis space as CEO of the BRN Group, which focuses on building and managing CBD brands, developing interactive and personalized e-commerce experiences, and providing relevant learning to inform and engage customers within the CBD market.
“After 14 years, it was just a wonderful run. But I really wanted to have real significant and deep levels of ownership and authority over my work. Puff was a phenomenal partner, but this was a chance… I thought, “Hey, this is an industry that is burgeoning and I’m really excited about the opportunity in the cannabis space.”
Simms’ focus? Building quality and diverse cannabis brands.
“I’m just obsessed with building things from scratch. So I was like, “Oh, my gosh. It’s not only just a product, but this is a whole industry.” How can I go and actually shake up the whole industry? I can’t be the only one. We need 5,000 CEOs of color. So for me, those were the things that were so attractive and exciting. And it has not disappointed so far.”
To learn more about Dia’s experiences working with Diddy, the music business and her company BRN group, listen below: