Pre-Enrollment Questions

Q: What is Women In The Spotlight ® (WITS)? 

Women In The Spotlight ® is an elite leadership accelerator community. We exist to empower emerging and executive leaders with the essential skills and relationships ascend to new levels of impact and recognition. Our mission is to actively shape the future of women, wellness and workplace innovation by equipping leaders with the best knowledge, resources and relationships to advance.

The Brand Leadership Institute (BLI) is our membership platform for Women In The Spotlight. Members enroll in our e-learning platform offering customized interactive courses for the time-crunched, career-minded woman. Our all-in-one training solution is an essential development system for high-potential leaders poised to transition to their next level. Our graduates discover authentic purpose, unleash confidence and accelerate performance.

The outcome is a more self-evolved and influential industry leader who has greater harmony between her personal and professional life. Our graduates design a life that is equally successful and fulfilling.  Alumni of the BLI become the most influential and inspiring women in their industries and the top performers within their companies. The BLI offers a proven system for results-driven performance that delivers elite coaching, interactive content and an influential community of support.

Q: What makes WITS different than other women’s leadership programs?

We address the biggest dilemma facing professional women today: how to go from under-recognized and overlooked to building a bold brand of credibility without compromising her quality of life. We offer a proven system and results that have help women elevate their purpose, performance and profit without neglecting their health, wealth and relationships.  This is where brilliant branding comes to life. Members receive world-class coaching through our Institute, confidence, competence and connections to start sacrificing less and living more.  Here is what we deliver:

Proven Track Record – We build brands of global influence. Melissa Dawn Simkins is known as The First Lady of Personal Branding. She is a classically trained marketer who has worked for and with some of the most renowned individuals and companies. Yet she launched her company, Velvet Suite ( in 2006 from her living room with no investors, no contracts and no recognition. Today, she is one of the most sought after thought leaders in personal branding, having worked and developed leaders from corporations such as Procter & Gamble, Home Depot, Boston Scientific, the NFL and more.  She has also worked on brand campaigns with celebrities such as Jessica Simpson, Carmelo Anthony, Shania Twain and more. Melissa is only the first of several master instructors who will provide ongoing coaching and content as the platform expands.

Proven System – You need more than inspiration and motivation to get to the next level. You need a proven system to save you time and accelerate your progress. Our team is committed to giving you step-by-step access to our system that has garnered repeatable results for clients at every level. Visit success stories page to learn more.

Proven Results – The Brand Leadership System delivers repeatable results.  Melissa’s firm and her work have duplicate success at the highest levels. She has helped to personally launch more than 300 brand concepts, invested more than 50,000 hours in brand coaching/consulting and has helped to close multi-million dollar partnerships for mega exposure.  To learn more about some of her work, visit About Melissa page.


Access Influential Community– A personal net worth is connected to your network. Getting to the next level starts with who knows you. Members gain access into our powerful network of purpose-driven leading women. Getting connected to this power circle is invaluable.

Q:  What is the Women In The Spotlight® Membership?

To become a member of the WITS Brand Leadership Institute, an individual must register and pay the tuition for the virtual 12-course, 12-week curriculum. This Institute delivers content though the convenience of multimedia including: interactive video, action item templates, done- for-you resources, master webinars and a dynamic multi-media center and vault of lifestyle tips and information, videos, interviews and more.  This program is a proven and prestigious leadership system exclusively designed for leading women to build a purpose driven and profitable brand in your industry as a woman in the spotlight plus insights on how to balance the hectic demands without selling out to stress.

Members will access 12 courses over a period of 12 weeks to provide a step-by-step personal brand system to elevate influence, performance and profit.  This interactive, online video-based system has been the basis of Velvet Suite’s ( award winning brand leadership system that has taught Fortune 100 leaders, high growth entrepreneurs, celebrities and professional athletes. Members will have 24/7 access to the Institute and will benefit from over 50,000 hours of brand coaching condensed into 12 precise and efficient sessions for a comprehensive and convenient experience.

Institute members will also have the opportunity to gain skill, confidence and competence in their industry and network with other high caliber women.

Additional Member Benefits Include:

Community Of Leading Women – Members will gain access to our virtual community. Members will have the opportunity to connect with other members for support, peer-to-peer mentoring and business connections.     

Connect Through Exclusive Live and Virtual Events and Special Offers – This membership is uniquely designed to address the dilemma of being a high achieving woman with the pressure to perform at peak levels at home, in the community as well as on the job.  Member-only discounts and VIP invitations, as well as special offers, will provide incentives for both live and virtual discussion groups to recharge, reconnect and get inspired.

Q:  Can you provide a list of membership benefits?

Brand Leadership Institute Members receive these multimedia learning and development experience:

  • Weekly Interactive Video coaching sessions (2 videos per course topic)
  • Master Webinar with Melissa Dawn Simkins
  • Time Saving, Done for You Resources (easy to follow supplemental templates to include easy to follow action plans for each course)
  • VIP Event Invitations and Special Offers (VIP guest passes and discounts)
  • Dynamic Vault – Multi-media Center (library of powerful tools and life-style tips)
  • WITS Podcast Replays
  • Graduate recognition at our annual She-Suite Event

To learn more about our exciting benefits go to JOIN NOW

Q:  Can I fit a 12-week Institute into my busy schedule?

The good news is our Institute is especially designed for the busy and on-the-go professional. You have 24/7 access at anytime on any technology device. You are free to go at your own pace. It is possible to participate in the learning within a 30 to 60 minute commitment each week. You can always do more but we believe the most valuable investment you could make each week is in yourself. Without investment there is no advancement. You will have three months to complete the course. We are here to help you stay accountable but we also realize that life events happen. We designed this to make it accessible and doable for anyone.

Q:  How does the Brand Leadership Institute E-Courses work?

The 12-week, 12 lesson online e-course is released weekly over a period of three months. Each week represents a course topic and participants receive two interactive videos plus done for you templates and action plans to support each video for learning and application. What’s great is that we make our courses easy to follow and adaptable to your schedule. We estimate each week you can set aside between 30 – 60 minutes at minimum to accelerate your success.

 Q:  Can I get all of the curriculum at one time?

We intentionally pace our course material week by week in sequence. This is a great advantage to you. It allows you to learn progressively and also digest the content for comprehension and application. It’s important that we walk you through a proven process to help you build your brand from the inside out and make this easy and simple to fit into the most hectic of schedules.

Q:  When are the webinars?

The master webinars are pre-recorded hosted by Melissa and also include a surprise Woman In The Spotlight® guest. You will get more hands on coaching focused on the content. You will also be able to access the webinars in the multi-media center at any time.

Q:  What is the format of the interactive videos?

Each week two interactive videos will be released within our private online course community. Our videos are informative, easy to follow and engaging. The following are the elements of each course video:

  • Melissa will introduce the theme and clarify the purpose of the lesson. She will break down the theme with “three essential practical points” translating the theme into reality
  • Melissa gives stories and examples to illustrate the lesson points
  • Each lesson comes with Done For You Resources, templates and discovery exercises to help you apply to your career and life
  • Each lesson will end with a simple quiz to make sure you retain what you learned so you can advance to the next lesson

Q: When is the current enrollment period?

Our program is offered at different times throughout the year announced on our website. We recommend that you check back with the website and prepare for enrollment as registration is limited.

Q: How do I enroll?

Enrollment only happens at certain times each year. Stay connected to our website to learn of our next open enrollment period. During open enrollment, individuals can secure a seat in the course by paying online. Enrollment discounts are offered at the discretion of the WITS.

Q: How long is the membership?

Once the Institute is completed, you will have access to the courses for 12-weeks. You will still receive information still have access to all of the WITS programs, offerings, events and more. Our Brand Leadership Institute is offered for a specific periods during the year. As a WITS Institute alumnus, you receive ongoing access to monthly communications, news and announcements regarding new offerings, events as well as opportunities to be spotlighted through social media. You will also receive first access to exposure opportunities to promote your brand to growing community.

The Brand Leadership curriculum is a three-month program. After completing the Institute, members may participate in other live and online events as announced through the WITS network.

Q: What happens after I complete the Institute?

We celebrate our graduates at an annual live event. It’s a great opportunity connect with other women in our network! We also offer alumni additional bonus programs and exposure opportunities that are not offered to others. Our goal is to help you continue to grow your brand and mastery and also utilize your story and your wisdom to share with other members.

Q: Who is WITS for?

This community based membership serves high achieving women in two areas:

  • Corporate women who aspire to new levels and on the path toward executive leadership
  • Entrepreneurs who aspire to new levels and are on the path of executive leadership

Women In The Spotlight® members are self-starters who understand the value of investing in personal and professional development. They are women committed high caliber personal and professional values and expanding their network. They are action-oriented leaders looking to learn, share and give back.

WITS members are many times women interested in conserving time and energy. For this reason, the Institute offers a self-guided curriculum with interactive and engaging programs that are simple to follow. Finally, WITS members are passionate about changing the world, but they first realize that change starts from within. They recognize the value of investing first in themselves in order to powerfully impact their personal and business relationships.

Q: What is the curriculum?

Our 12 course, 12 week curriculum gives is precisely focused proven system to define your brand value, elevate your influence and turn your passion into profit.

Month 1: Discover Your Brand Value

Week 1: Course 1: Purpose

Week 2: Course 2: Passion

Week 3: Course 3: Performance

Week 4: Course 4: Problem

You Achieve: Clarity of your unique invaluable difference and focused action to set yourself apart from the clutter and competition.

Month 2:  Promote Your Brand

Week 5: Course 5: Position

Week 6: Course 6: Presence

Week 7: Course 7: Pitch

Week 8: Course 8: Package

You Achieve: A precise and package message that communicate credibility, industry authority and authentic connection with your audience.

Month 3: Elevate Your Influence

Week 9: Course 9: Promotion

Week 10: Course 10: Partnership

Week 11: Course 11: Profit

Week 12: Course 12: Protection

You Achieve: Supercharge your influence, exposure and financial growth while knowing what to do to maintain or recover your reputation and good name.

Q: What is the tuition investment?

The tuition investment for The Brand Leadership Institute is $2,299 per person.

Q: Can my company sponsor my membership?

Yes! We encourage our corporate and entrepreneur participants to inquire about your company sponsorship as a part of your professional development program. WITS Brand Leadership Institute is a prestigious coaching program that provides customized curriculum tailored specifically to the advancement and retention of Corporate and Entrepreneurial women in leadership. When women thrive in their personal and professional lives; so do companies, families, communities and the world.

Q: Do you offer corporate/enterprise rates for groups?

Yes! We have several enterprise clients who sign up for our enterprise level program which starts with a minimum of 30 women. This is great for sales organizations, ERG groups or specific business units looking to drive high level development for a specific group of women to create a culture shift Contact our office directly to learn about our special enterprise program and discounted rates for groups.

Q:  What is the return on my investment?

Members receive more than $20,000 in value and benefits at a fraction of the cost for this introductory offer.  There are two tracks of development for women who are currently in leadership or who aspire to greater levels of performance at work and greater fulfillment in their personal lives.  Compared to many executive leadership programs, the investment is marginal.

The membership delivers:

World Class Coaching – Learn from Melissa Dawn Simkins, President of Velvet Suite® ( and pioneer of personal branding with a proven system to get results that will transition you from where you are to your next level of purpose, performance and profit.

Competence – Gain brand mastery and knowledge to package your value as thought-leader within and outside of your company.

Confidence – Accelerate your progress with proven tools and Done For You Resources to successfully manage the integration of your personal and professional life.

Connections – Access a new network of authentic relationships with high achieving women in leadership for support, partnership and promotion.

Q:  Can I join anytime?

Institute membership is only available during times of open enrollment.  Check our website for our next enrollment period.

Q: How are the payments made?

The payments are made for individuals through clicking the JOIN NOW.

Q:  Who Is Melissa Dawn Simkins?

Accomplished executive, media personality and first lady of the personal brand movement are a few words that describe Melissa in her professional life. In her personal life she is a woman of faith, wife, mother, daughter, survivor, sister, fitness competitor, dancer and advocate for women’s wellness.  She is passionate about branding a new model of success for women in leadership.

“We don’t have to sell-out to stress. We can be the total package, we can have the career we desire and the life we love,” she says. “We can have success without sacrifice.”

She is recognized as the unchallenged brand strategist with a track record for building global influence. Simkins is President of Velvet Suite ® (, an innovative brand development firm transforming people through a proven system to ignite purpose, performance and profit. Her tough love approach is the hallmark of her clients’ success. After losing her boyfriend to tragic death, Melissa left an influential position at Procter & Gamble. She launched Velvet Suite from her living room with no contracts, investors or notoriety. Simkins grabbed her faith and used her own brand system to build her business and rose from obscurity to international relevance, reaching millions and turning her passion into profit through multiple revenue streams including:  consulting, media, speaking and writing.

The rise of her brand is a testament that her brand system works! She has helped to market celebrities such as Mary J. Blige, Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lopez, Big Boi, Common, Shania Twain, Hill Harper and more. Her clients include professional athletes, Fortune 50 corporate executives and influencers. She has helped launch more than 300 brands, created 150 brand concepts and brokered more than 350 million dollars in partnerships. She has invested more than 50,000 hours coaching and consulting.

As a multi-media enterprise, Melissa is an on-air contributor to CNN and other national media outlets discussing brand in crisis such as Lance Armstrong, Penn State, Tiger Woods, NFL, Ray Rice and more. She is author of Brand Me. Make Your Mark: The Ultimate Playbook For Personal Branding and has contributed and/or been featured in,, Wall Street Journal,, Essence, Black Enterprise, and more.

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 was also first woman to launch the first ever, NFL Player Brand University in partnership with the National Football League, the first brand development academy of its kind in all of professional sports. She is a classically trained marketer with tenures at Victoria’s Secret, Baxter Healthcare and Procter & Gamble. A.G. Lafley, CEO of Procter & Gamble, named her an Unsung Hero.

Other Velvet Suite clients including: The NFL, NBA, The NCAA, Gillette, Notre Dame, P&G, Kraft, Coca-Cola, Pepsi Bottling, Home Depot, MillerCoors, Boston Scientific, Hip Hop Artist/Actor, Common, Actor Hill Harper, NBA All Star, Carmelo Anthony, WNBA Star Alana Beard and more. 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.

“Leadership is a lifestyle,” she says. Her wise insights as well as warm personality has opened partnerships with brands in beauty, fashion and business including: Best Buy, J Crew, CoverGirl, Tide, Pantene and more.

Melissa is a competitive figure athlete who uses the principles of mind, body and business to transform her clients from the inside out. She is currently working on her next book focused on women in leadership.

Melissa received her undergraduate degree from Otterbein University in Public Relations and Business and received her Masters of Science in Integrated Marketing from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She serves on The Board of Trustees at Otterbein University and also serves on the Board of The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation. She is a happily married to William A. Simkins.

Q:  What is the refund and cancellation policy?

We reserve the right to refuse/cancel a membership to WITS.  If WITS refuses a new or renewing membership, registrants will be offered a refund.

Membership Cancellation by Participant – Membership cancellations received within 7 days of registration may be eligible to receive a full refund less $150 service fee. Cancellations received after the stated deadline will not be eligible for a refund. Cancellations will be accepted via phone or e-mail, and must be received by the stated cancellation deadline.  All benefits and incentives received by participant must be cancelled/returned to the WITS. All refund requests must be made by the attendee or credit card holder.  Refund requests must include the name of the attendee and/or transaction number.  Refunds will be credited back to the original credit card used for payment.

These above policies apply to all WITS memberships unless otherwise noted in the corresponding program materials. Please read all individual program information thoroughly.

Event Cancellation by Sponsor – WITS reserves the right to cancel an event due to low enrollment or other circumstances which would make the event non-viable.  If WITS cancels an event, registrants will be offered a full refund.  Should circumstances arise that result in the postponement of an event, WITS has the right to either issue a full refund or transfer registration to the same event at the new, future date.

Registration Cancellation by Participant – Unless specifically stated on registration materials, the deadline to receive a refund for your registration is 30 business days before the event. Registration cancellations received prior to the deadline may be eligible to receive a refund less a $75 service fee. Cancellations received after the stated deadline will not be eligible for a refund.  Refunds will not be available for registrants who choose not to attend an event. Cancellations will be accepted in writing only and must be received by the stated cancellation deadline. The attendee or credit card holder must make all refund requests. Refund requests must include the name of the attendee and/or transaction number. Refunds will be credited back to the original credit card used for payment.

These above policies apply to all WITS Events unless otherwise noted in the corresponding event materials. Please read all individual event information thoroughly.

Velvet Suite Goods and Product Refund/Return Policy – All returns of goods and materials purchased directly from the WITS (via Velvet Suite Marketing Consulting Group, Inc.) require prior authorization. Shipping and handling charges are non-refundable; Returns must be authorized by the WITS within 30 days of the invoice date. Within thirty (30) days of purchase, we will replace, substitute or repair, at our sole discretion, any Velvet Suite product that is deemed defective.  Products provided/sold by WITS partners and affinity programs are subject to the return policy of the partner.  Products which are software or downloadable from any WITS website or provided media (mp4, portable download file, Memory Drives, etc.) are non-refundable.