She-Suite Summit Coming in July


Melissa Simkins, Velvet Suite

Melissa Dawn Simkins knows what it’s like to be busy. As CEO of brand leadership solutions firm Velvet Suite and as a mother of a 10-month-old son, she is no stranger to juggling priorities.

Personal branding, time management and prioritization are among the topics to be addressed at a summit her firm is sponsoring next month to help women find clarity and excel wherever they find themselves.

The She-Suite Summit on July 14 at the Ritz-Carlton in McLean, Virginia, is designed to help women build and advance their personal brand, which entails developing and promoting the characteristics they need to be successful and significant. The summit is in its second year.

“The event is an extension of a targeted leadership initiative and community called ‘Women In The Spotlight,’” Simkins said. “Our objective is to advance and advocate for women through our Brand Leadership Institute, a 12-week e-coaching accelerator helping companies close the gender equity gap. At the summit, each attendee will leave with a 90-day personal brand action plan a solid idea of what their personal brand is and how to use it to their advantage.”

“Personal branding is all about discovering your value and getting what you’re worth,” she continued. “Your brand is defined as the promise and perception of your value.”

The author of the 2007 book, “Brand Me,” Simkins has worked with Fortune 100 corporations, Shania Twain, the National Football League and others to help build and expand their respective brands.

Promoting yourself, she added, is not narcissistic. It’s essential for success—in your own career and life and that of the company you work for.

While the summit will focus on empowering women as individuals, it will benefit companies, too, Simkins said. Because so many women feel they must make “hard choices” about whether to focus on careers and families, it pays to empower the talented employees companies may have a hard time retaining.

“It’s really about helping women find clarity all around,” she said.

The conference will provide information on how to get to where you want to be as well as provide insights on time management, organization, executive presence, personal style and image. Just how valuable is the Brand Leadership Institute? Some 32 percent of women who have emerged from it have been promoted within the next 12 months, Simkins said.

“One hundred percent of our graduates understand what we call their M.V.P.—their mission, vision and purpose,” she said.

The event begins 8 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m., plus an after-hours networking reception. Between 100 and 150 leaders are expected for an intimate day of personalized development. The event emcee is Laura Evans Manatos, founder of Laura Evans Media.

The day’s speakers includs Simkins; her husband William Simkins of VS-Financial; Tina Sung, vice president at Partnership for Public Service; Benita Fitzgerald Mosely, CEO of Laureus Sports for Good Foundation USA; Pamela Prince-Eason, CEO of Women’s Business Enterprise National Council; Greg Baroni, CEO for Attain; Marsha Ralls, CEO of Closed Monday Productions LLC; Jacqueline M. Welch, senior vice president of human resources, Freddie Mac; Oguchi Onyewu, World Cup star, professional soccer athlete; and many more.

Sponsors include Attain, Miele and Fairfax Woman. Corporate Champions who are investing in their top talent to attend include the Society for Human Resource Management, Freddie Mac, Xfinity Mobile, Boston Scientific, Excelacom, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and more.

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