I admit; we didn’t hit it off right away. (smile) This was one of the classic cases of two strong, professional ladies just missing the mark each time we tried to initiate conversation. However, one of our mutual sisterfriends was most insistent that if we were to ever get it right, we would be joined at the hip…and boy, was she ever right!
I was at another mutual friends girls night out one evening, and in walks Melissa Dawn Johnson, my arch nemesis at the time, lol. We actually start talking in this relaxed setting and realized we were more than just meant to be colleagues and friends, but we were soul sisters. We share the same age, birthday and common interests! During one of the toughest times of my life last year, she was right there with the most kind, spiritual demeanor. She walked closely with me until I saw the light again…for that, I am eternally grateful to her.
So is this lovely creature?
Melissa Dawn Johnson has quickly risen to become one of the most recognized and respected voices on authentic brand leadership. She has the rare gift of crystallizing purpose, packaging potential and helping any person or organization unleash the champion from within. She is President of Velvet Suite, an influential brand leadership firm offering consulting, curriculum development and coaching to leading brands in business and sports.
Melissa faced her fear of public speaking at an early age to become an award-winning orator. Her passion for people coupled with her pursuit of brand leadership led her to coveted brand marketing positions at Victoria’s Secret, Nationwide Insurance and Procter & Gamble.
Today, she is seen on CNN as well as other international media outlets and in business publications as an expert in the field of brand leadership. Most recently, she has been called upon for commentary on the rise and fall of iconic brands, such as Tiger Woods, The Penn State Crisis, Lance Armstrong and more.
As author of the book, Brand Me. Make Your Mark: Turn Passion into Profit (Ambassador Press), she is a pioneer in the personal branding movement and creator of her own leadership coaching system called Win Like A Champion ™: The Mind-Body-Business Challenge. This complete coaching approach is designed to create total transformation for next generation leaders.
The NFL launched its first NFL Player Brand University in partnership with Velvet Suite, reaching more than 360 rookies across 19 teams elevating leadership beyond the field. This opened doors for Melissa to provide next generation leadership consulting for some of the world’s most admired organizations, including the National Basketball Association (NBA), The NCAA, Gillette, Notre Dame, P&G, Kraft, Home Depot, MillerCoors, Time, Citi and others.
Melissa, known as the “coach of champions,” advises world renowned clients, such as World Cup Star, Oguchi Onyewu, NFL Quarterback, Charlie Batch, NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony, WNBA Star Alana Beard, Grammy Award-winning artist Common, as well a host of C-Suite executives, pro-athletes, civic leaders, personalities and politicians. She has designed multi-million dollar partnerships with personalities and entertainment companies, such as Shania Twain, Jessica Simpson, Mary J. Blige, Universal Pictures, Discovery Network and ABC. In 2012, she was named NAMD Entrepreneur of the Year and The Atlantan Magazine named her one of Atlanta’s Women of Power & Influence.
Reared in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Ms. Johnson learned the value of service at an early age. She attended college on a community service scholarship where she served as coordinator of the Indianola Middle School Program, honored by President Bill Clinton for developing an outstanding model of mentorship. In 2011, Ms. Johnson was inducted into the Otterbein College African American Hall of Fame. Her passion for mentoring continues through the “Passion 2 Profit” college mentoring program sponsored by Velvet Suite.
The CEO Pundit™: What inspires you?
Melissa: Sunlight…I love watching the sun rise in the morning; it’s symbolic of new beginnings. Of course, my middle name is Dawn, and it reminds of another day, another opportunity, and that I’m alive.
The CEO Pundit™: Who inspires you?
Melissa: Resilient people…people who have the courage to get back up again; a student obtaining their beyond obstacles…single mothers rearing children.
My parents…people who get up, determined to be better than their circumstances. Those individuals discover through struggles who they really are…I call them champions.
The CEO Pundit™: What is your legacy?
Melissa: I pray that I helped to awaken sleeping giants…people who are great, but didn’t see their greatness and I woke them up to that potential. When someone did that for me, it changed everything.
I think that says it all…cheers, Melissa.
Follow Melissa’s companies on Twitter @WinLikeAChampion, @BrandMeLive & @VelvetSuite
- Jodie Blum…#LadiesMakingHistory #WomensHistoryMonth (TheCEOpundit.com)
- Jai Jones…#LadiesMakingHistory #WomensHistoryMonth (TheCEOpundit.com)
- Grace Lee…#LadiesMakingHistory #WomensHistoryMonth (TheCEOpundit.com)
- Chef Jamika Pessoa…#LadiesMakingHistory #WomensHistoryMonth (TheCEOpundit.com)
- In Honor of Women’s History Month: My #LadiesMakingHistory (TheCEOpundit.com)