909: Dia Simms | Building a $2 Billion Vodka Empire with Sean “Diddy” Combs

Travis Makes Friends

Feb 26 2024 • 1 hr 10 mins

Today I'm making friends with Dia Simms – CEO of Lobos 1707 Tequila & Mezcal.

**On this episode, we talk about

– how Dia began negotiating Department of Defense contracts in her early 20's

– her journey through the world of sales

– how Dia worked her way from being Executive Assistant for Sean "Diddy" Combs to being President of his company

– growing a vodka label to be valued at $2 Billion

– the difference between tequila and mezcal

– and so much more!

** (Psst... Before I tell you more about the guest, do you like this show? Please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts — even one sentence helps! 🙂)

** About Dia Simms

Dia Simms serves as the CEO of Lobos 1707 Tequila & Mezcal, a new independent spirits brand that launched in November 2020. Simms leads Lobos 1707 alongside Founder and Chief Creative Officer Diego Osorio with early backing by sports and cultural icon, LeBron James. Lobos 1707 Tequila & Mezcal is named after the Spanish word lobos, meaning "wolves", and dedicated to celebrating the strength of the pack. Simms brings an impressive track record of building successful brands, combined with her entrepreneurial spirit and deep expertise in the spirits industry to Lobos 1707.

In May 2021, Simms Co-Founded Pronghorn, a 10-year initiative to drive diversity, equity and inclusion in the spirits industry. Pronghorn, backed by the world’s leading spirits producer, Diageo, seeks to help participants within the Black community achieve the goal of generating $2 billion in economic value in the U.S.

Simms spent almost fifteen years working alongside Sean “Diddy” Combs at Combs Enterprises, starting in 2005 as his executive assistant. She grew within the company while building multiple brands and businesses under the Combs Enterprises umbrella. In 2017, Simms was named President of Combs Enterprises, making her the first president in the company’s thirty-year history other than Sean Combs himself. In her role as President, she oversaw multi-billion-dollar brands under the Combs empire, including CÎROC Ultra-Premium Vodka, Blue Flame Agency, AQUAhydrate, Bad Boy Entertainment, Sean John and Revolt TV. Of note, Simms led the transformation of CÎROC Ultra-Premium Vodka taking the previously unprofitable brand to a $2 billion retail value.

Simms was listed as “One of the Most Powerful Executives in the Industry'' by Billboard in both 2017 and 2018, as well as named to the Ebony 'Power 100' list. In April of 2018 she was an honoree of the Matrix Awards from New York Women In Communications (NYWIC), as well as named to the 2018 Ad Age ‘Women to Watch’ list and Variety’s ‘Power of Women New York Impact List’. Simms serves on the board for the Maryland organization THREAD, which provides underprivileged Baltimore-area high-school students resources to help foster their academic advancement and personal growth. She often speaks on the importance of diverse leadership and accelerated brand building.

Simms graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Morgan State University. She obtained a master’s degree in Management from the Florida Institute of Technology. Simms now resides in Maryland where she lives with her husband, daughter and dog.

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