We have good news for you. You can have a cool career and make a good living. No need to choose between loving your job and paying your mortgage. The following profile, part of the BlackEnterprise.com Cool Jobs series, offers a peek into the nuts and bolts, perks and salaries behind enjoyable careers.
The It Factor: As the executive vice president of Blue Flame Agency, it’s safe to say that Dia Simms is the go-to lady for all things Sean “Diddy” Combs-related in terms of brands. She oversees the strategic execution of all brands under the advertising agency and the House of Combs. Proving that any job can eventually lead you to your passion, Simms comes from a diverse career background. After graduating college, Simms worked at the Dept. of Defense, negotiating defense contracts while contemplating attending law school. After being transferred around within the department and becoming bored with her job, Simms took on a radio job in Maryland upon the recommendation of a friend. While there, she honed her passion for marketing by launching a marketing company with friends. She continued her career in radio as she headed to New York to work for Clear Channel Communications before taking on a job working for one of the biggest entertainment moguls in the world.
The Process: “My days are dramatically different depending on what’s priority,” says Simms, who’s in charge of developing marketing and brand strategies. From the recent launch of AQUAhydrate to working on a new and exciting Sean John campaign, Simms knows what it takes to create a winning product. “We have to be pretty much ready for anything and make sure we are the absolute best at what we do,” she says.
Go-getter Goals: Despite Simms working on the globalization of several brands, one of her most proud moments to date is her work with Ciroc Vodka, helping move numbers from 75,000 cases to more than 2 million. “I like to see a brand that people once never heard of grow,” says Simms, who’s greatly inspired by Combs’ entrepreneurial savvy. “I’ve had an amazing experience to date, but would truly like to see 100% ownership [with my own company in the future].”
Winning Advice: Simms advises young professionals to start working hard the minute they step foot into any job, even if it’s not their desired position. “It really goes to just being excellent wherever you are,” she adds while also saying there have been times where she’s been in Home Depot and paid attention to the person at the cash register who is moving the fastest. “You may not be at the position that you want to be, but you really never know who’s watching.” In addition to hard work, Simms also warns young professionals to never be blinded by the glitz and glam of the industry and to always keep business first. Even if you are on a million dollar yacht, Simms says “you need to treat it like business and take it seriously and understand the business before you understand the entertainment aspect.”
As a board of director for the organization Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), this marketing executive also advises that one of the best ways to have a career in entertainment is to break into it yourself. “Some of the best examples are people who are self-starters and still doing well years after years,” says Simms. “It’s their own company which gives them a different level of accountability.”