Melissa Dawn Simkins, CEO, Velvet Suite | Founder, The She-Suite | Speaker

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CEO, Velvet Suite | Founder, The She-Suite
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Melissa Dawn Simkins, affectionately known as "The First Lady of Personal Branding," is a pioneer in personal brand leadership with a proven track record of advising Fortune 100 organizations, CEOs, C-suite executives and influencers. She is a sought-after strategist on how to lead change in the face of adversity. Relevance and readiness are core to her approach as she gives insight around future-ready talent development, bridging the diversity divide and brand leadership innovation.

She is CEO of Velvet Suite® ( an award-winning leadership innovation firm advancing the future of profit through people. She is the Founder of The She-Suite®, the female focused platform of Velvet Suite on a mission to break the outdated paradigm of work by empowering working women to boldly design a career and life with purpose ( The She-Suite Brand Leadership Institute (BLI), is the only online leadership readiness platform community with proven results to ready, retain and advance all women and women of color who work for large enterprises. 

Melissa is a former contributor to and has been a frequent guest on media outlets such as CNN, CNBC and more. She is the author of Brand Me. Make Your Mark: The Ultimate Playbook for Personal Branding. Melissa is a sought-after keynote speaker on leadership innovation.

As an innovator, Simkins was the first African American female advisory board member for the World Brand Congress. Velvet Suite created the NFL Player Brand University in partnership with the National Football League, the first personal brand development academy of its kind in all professional sports. Other Velvet Suite clients have included: Boston Scientific, UBS, Lincoln Financial, Allstate, Home Depot, Southern Company, the National Basketball Association, CEOs, C-Suite executives, celebrities, pro-athletes and more.

She has been recognized by NAMD as their Entrepreneur of the Year, The Atlantan's Women of Power & Influence and her firm is a finalist for the Greater Washington Innovation Award. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for The SHRM Foundation (Society for Human Resource Management).