Meet Cicely

One woman and two men receiving their awards at the Association Trends Conference.

Leaders instill in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves. Positive leaders empower people to accomplish their goals.

- Cicely Simpson

Cicely is changing the way people understand their roles in their own careers. In her twenty five-year career, Cicely has made her mark on the leadership team in every position she held. 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; pulling back the curtain on how the world works on the Hill and in Fortune 500 companies. 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. “OK” or “Good enough” are not part of her philosophy. Instead, Cicely shows audiences how to find their edge and keep it.

Cicely is a seasoned public operative, now working with her fourth Presidential Administration. She has also served in prominent roles such as Legislative Director for two Congressmen, and veteran of the C-suite, formerly as Vice President of Government Affairs at Dunkin’ Brands, Inc., formerly as Executive Vice President of Public Affairs for the restaurant
industry, and now as Founder & CEO of Summit Public Affairs. Her experience at all levels of government and expertise in the boardroom allows her to speak with authority on the public
and private sectors as well as their countless intersections.

Prior to launching Summit Public Affairs, Cicely served as the Executive Vice President of Public Affairs at the National Restaurant Association leading the restaurant industry’s public affairs strategy at all levels of government to achieve the industry’s public policy and political goals. During Cicely’s tenure at the Association, she was named to the Nation’s Restaurant News Top 10 Power List. She has also been recognized as one of The Hill’s Top Lobbyists in 2015, 2016, and 2017. In 2016, Cicely was recognized with the Association Trends 2016: Leading Association Lobbyists award.

Prior to joining the Association, Cicely served as Vice President of Government Affairs at Dunkin’ Brands, Inc., the franchisor and corporate parent of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins restaurants. During her tenure at Dunkin’ Brands, she led the company’s legislative, regulatory, and political strategy with federal, state, local, and international governments. Prior to her service at Dunkin’ Brands, Cicely served as the Legislative Director for two Tennessee Congressmen on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper and U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis. She began her career in the Tennessee Attorney General’s Criminal Division, before joining the law firm of Lewis, King, Krieg & Waldrop in Nashville. 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.

Cicely currently serves on the Board of Advisors for Pepperdine School of Law, Board of Trustees for Lipscomb University, the Advisory Board for the Salvation Army National Capital Area, the Board of Directors for Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind, and Board of Advisors Member for Klosebuy. She is also the best-selling author of “Pull Up Your C.H.A.I.R.” with Forbes Books. 

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