Melissa Dawn Simkins


As a wife, mother, executive, author, speaker and fitness advocate, Melissa brands a new model of success for women who lead.

When executives, athletes and influential leaders want to know how to build a brand of global influence, they call Melissa Dawn Simkins and her firm, Velvet Suite. Simkins is the authority on champion brand leadership and her creative influence is the brains behind some of the world’s most beloved brands. She is a pioneer in her field of personal branding being on the leadership team that launched the Swiffer brand, re-energized the iconic Mr. Clean, created the first-ever multi-cultural marketing plan for Victoria’s Secret Stores, launched the first-ever, National Football League Player Brand University training 350 rookies across the entire league as well as re-branded Nationwide Insurance. Through her proven track record, Simkins has helped launched more than 500 profitable brands in her career to date.

Simkins was the first African American female advisory board member for the World Brand Congress, in Mumbai India, a global think-tank of brand masters. She has served as an on-air contributor to CNN as a go-to media personality commenting on brands in crisis such as Lance Armstrong, Penn State, Tiger Woods and more. She contributes to

Simkins is President of Velvet Suite ® ( a leadership innovation firm unleashing the future of profit through people. She is the creator of Women In The Spotlight (, an digital accelerator community empowering the advancement of women in leadership in leading companies and firms. Velvet Suite clients include: the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, The NCAA, Gillette, Notre Dame, P&G, Kraft, Pepsi Bottling, Time, Citi, Home Depot, MillerCoors, Boston Scientific and more. She is known as the “Coach of Champions” and her company’s leadership system is quickly becoming the go-to approach to building next generation leaders for Fortune 500 companies to elevate passion and performance at work. As author of Brand Me. Make Your Mark: The Ultimate Playbook for Personal Branding  (Xlibrius), she is a trailblazer in the personal branding movement.

Velvet Suite’s renowned client list also include celebrity brands such as: World Cup Star, Oguchi Onyewu, NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony, WNBA Star Alana Beard, Two-time Super Bowl Champion, Charlie Batch, Grammy Award-winning artist Common as well a host of C-Suite executives and their teams, pro-athletes, civic leaders, reality-stars, personalities and politicians. She has designed multi-million dollar media and entertainment partnerships with personalities and properties such as Shania Twain, Jessica Simpson, Mary J. Blige, Universal Pictures, Discovery Network and ABC.

The journey from corporate cubicle to CEO came after a tragic personal loss. It was from that moment of pain that a greater purpose was born. Velvet Suite was launched in 2006 with one clear vision, to transform the world one champion at a time. She passionately shares her story and the system that changed her life and serves the firm’s clients as a keynote speaker at leadership events around the world.

“I’ve learned that the only moment promised is N.O.W. No Opportunities Waits and what we do with that moment separates the ordinary from the extraordinary.”

She is a classically trained marketer groomed in global branding during her tenures at Procter & Gamble, Victoria’s Secret, Baxter Healthcare and Nationwide.

In 2012, she was named NAMD Entrepreneur of the Year and The Atlantan Magazine named her one of Atlanta’s Women of Power & Influence. She was inducted into the African American Hall of Fame at her alma mater.

Simkins received a Master of Science degree from the Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) program at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She graduated cum laude with a BA in Public Relations and a minor in Business from Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for The SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management) Foundation and the Board of Trustees for Otterbein University.

Melissa is married to her husband and purpose-partner Will and together they have one son and Melissa is a step-mom to three additional sons.