Meet Cicely Simpson

Cicely Simpson

You must learn to lead yourself before you can lead others. Self-leadership is critical. Every decision, every choice starts with you. The impact you desire in your career and life starts with you.

Cicely Simpson is a leadership expert, keynote speaker, ForbesBooks best-selling author of the book: Pull Up Your Chair: 5 Strategies to Change the Trajectory of Your Career, Forbes Contributor, Founder of 21st Century Leadership Institute, and Creator of C.H.A.I.R. Leadership, a unique leadership model for modern leaders. Cicely’s best-selling book has been featured in Times Square, Apple News,  Forbes, podcasts, and too many places to name! 

Cicely is changing the way people understand their roles in their own careers. In her twenty-five-plus year career, Cicely held leadership roles in every organization she has served.    Today, she endeavors to show everyone from CEOs to students how they can carve out a permanent space at the table, no matter what direction their career takes. Her background in politics and business brings real-world experience to audiences across the country. Beyond showing them what this new brand of leadership looks like, Cicely is pushing people past their comfort zones in order to inspire real change. Cicely shows individuals and organizations how to find their edge and keep it. 

Cicely’s Unique Leadership Path

Cicely is a seasoned public operative and veteran of the C-Suite.  She has worked with four U.S. Presidents, Foreign Leaders and CEOs in boardrooms across the country forging her unique leadership approach in prominent roles such as Legislative Director for two Tennessee Congressmen,  formerly as Vice President of Global Government Affairs at Dunkin’ Brands, Inc., formerly as Executive Vice President of Public Affairs at the National Restaurant Association, and Global Vice President, Starbucks Coffee Company.  Cicely’s work at the intersection of business and politics has earned numerous professional awards including being named to the Top 10 Power List for the restaurant industry.

Her experience at all levels of government and in the boardroom allows her to speak with authority about what it takes to get the leadership table and how to ensure you stay there.


Leveraging her decades of experience in the public and private sectors, Cicely has launched multiple companies including Summit Public Affairs, LLC and Cicely Simpson & Co, Inc. 

Cicely is also the Founder of the 21st Century Leadership Institute, equipping individuals, teams, and organizations with the unique leadership skills required of modern leaders in today’s ever evolving workplace.  

Cicely began her career in the Tennessee Attorney General’s Criminal Division, where she honed her advocacy skills. Cicely received a Juris Doctor from Pepperdine University’s School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Lipscomb University in Nashville.  She serves on numerous boards and volunteers with a number of organizations.

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