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JADE'S STORY

From the piano to the pulpit, to world-wide platforms, and now towards the presidency, learn the history behind 2020 Presidential Candidate, Jade Simmons.

Award-winning Piano Student in Charleston, SC

Jade’s mother, Loretta, an administrative assistant to a dean, worked at the Citadel Military College while her father, a civil rights activist, often protested outside of it. Her mom endowed her with a potent faith while her dad passed on the feistiness to fight for what’s right. Outside of music, the honors student participated in multiple sports and was class president her sophomore and junior years, as well as Student Body President her senior year. She would also meet the high school sweetheart who would later become her husband.

She earned the most scholarships in the history of St. Andrew’s High School including several she won as a finalist in the Miss South Carolina pageant, an official state preliminary of the Miss America Organization. She chose the controversial platform of Youth Suicide Prevention after a tragic loss of some local students in Charleston.

How that translates:

Jade brings to the table a lifelong history of focus, discipline, and achievement. When everyone around her was choosing easier to stomach issues to champion, she chose the issue we couldn’t afford to ignore. She will continue to prioritize people over popularity.

An Advocate for Mental Health Awareness and Youth Suicide Prevention

Jade majored in music at Northwestern University. While there, she was a member of the marching band, co-founded Boomshaka (a percussion and dance ensemble that still exists today), and became Miss Chicago, Miss Illinois, and ultimately First Runner-up at Miss America 2000 in Atlantic City. Her chosen platform, A Passion for Life: A Strategy to Prevent Youth Suicide was suddenly a hot button issue on the heels of the rise in school shootings, including the Columbine High School Massacre that forever changed our educational landscape.

While still an undergrad, Jade delayed her senior year to devote herself fully to mental health advocacy. She quickly became a sought-after speaker in the areas of mental health awareness, bullying, and suicide prevention. She spoke daily in elementary, middle, and high schools across the nation, as well as alongside renowned psychologists and published researchers at important conferences on mental illness and suicidology. Simmons also worked with suicide survivor support groups in efforts to increase access to help for those in crisis, and to reduce the stigma surrounding suicide and mental illness.

In February 2000, at the age of only 21, Jade participated in the roll out of Surgeon General David Satcher’s historic National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and testified before congress alongside Tipper Gore and author Danielle Steele on behalf of mental health funding. 

How that translates:

Jade will continue to give voice to demographics that have been muted and issues that have gone unaddressed. She has a knack for avoiding demonization, prioritizing collaboration, and reframing conversations around controversial and divisive issues, from race, to religion, to gender, in a way that results in unexpected discoveries and powerful solutions.

A Colorful Music Career Marked by Innovation, Success, and Service

After graduating Northwestern with a Bachelor’s degree in Music (Piano Performance), Jade sensed there might be more to her future than a concert stage and briefly considered a postgraduate switch to law school. But ultimately, she didn’t believe a courtroom or the bureaucracy of politics would be her best way to make a lasting impact. Nevertheless, Jade’s year away from school working so closely with communities to address the epidemic of suicide, started her obsession with helping people live powerful, purposeful lives they’d never think of ending prematurely. But in the end, as far as her formal education, her passion for music remained her driving force.

Jade, and her high school-sweetheart-turned-husband Jahrell moved to Houston where Jade attended Rice University to study music as a Provost Fellow with renowned Canadian pianist Jon Kimura Parker. Jahrell, trained as an Air Traffic Controller in the Navy, soon began his work for the Federal Aviation Administration which continues to this day.

After getting her Master’s degree at Rice, even Jade’s early career was marked by service. As she learned the difficult ropes of building a concert career, she taught back her tactics and discoveries to other emerging artists, culminating in her first book, Emerge Already! A Guide to Career Building for Emerging Artists. Soon, after being named the New Music/New Places Fellow with Concert Artists Guild and becoming a Yamaha Artist, she was performing in the famous concert halls she’d dreamed of, including performances with the Dallas Symphony in Meyerson Symphony Center, Chicago’s Symphony Center with the Chicago Sinfonietta, Ravinia, New York’s Town Hall, Seattle’s Meany Hall, and Detroit’s Institute of Art. She’s even performed in the hallowed halls of the White House and the US Supreme Court. 

Her once traditional musical career would evolve into a colorful one mixing multiple genres that spanned Rachmaninoff to Rap, adding electronics and her trademark style of inspiration and storytelling. Her innovations took her to the popular South By Southwest festival in Austin, TX where she was named one of the “Best of SXSW 2014”. In an industry often criticized for its lack of diversity in terms of ethnicity and age, Jade cultivated one of the most diverse audiences in Classical music because of how she revolutionized its presentation.

In addition to performing, she has been brought in to lecture on building creative careers of impact at institutions such as University of Chicago, The Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Michigan, Rice University, Spelman College, and the Juilliard School to name a few. While in a community, she also performed kids concerts at local grade schools, believing strongly in the power of the arts. She did more of the same in partnership with the Van Cliburn Foundation where she also served as its popular webcast host for the storied international competition.

Simmons’ accomplishments on and away from the stage caused her to be featured for her work in publications around the nation including Symphony Magazine, Chicago Magazine, and it landed her on Essence Magazine’s Style and Substance list alongside First Lady Michelle Obama, Gold Medal gymnast Gabby Douglas, and ballerina Misty Copeland. Her work to make a social impact through the arts earned her the coveted Sphinx Medal of Excellence from the prestigious Sphinx organization which came with a performance at the US Supreme Court hosted by Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

How that translates:

A pattern of discipline, focus and competition is consistent, but a heart of service and genuine concern for people remain. It is always Jade’s goal to help individuals and communities reach their highest potential, and to provide the tools, the inspiration, and the information to do so. You’ll also see her skills as a communications chameleon and social translator gifted at finding the ties that bind and in creating powerful interactions amongst diverse audiences.

Jade believes America has a unique calling and a powerful destiny, and its rebel DNA has played a crucial role in defining what it means to be American. But she aims to help steer us towards a path that provides greater opportunity for all of its people without squelching our competitive edge in the world around us. She believes in America-first policies, but not in isolationist practices that keep us from being the true world leader we were destined to be.

A Transformative Turning Point

Jade began to place more emphasis on the speaking portion of her concerts and used her time with a captive audience not only to inspire, but to challenge stereotypes, outdated notions, and to explore new possibilities. This not only boosted her musical career, but began to open doors to other stages and platforms. By this time, Jade and her husband had become parents to a son and had a daughter on the way (see Supreme Court photo above) and Jade turned her focus to not only career-building, but profitability and sustainability, wanting to personally provide more for her family, and make a bigger impact outside of music. She gave the speech of a lifetime in a very small room with a very few people which led to an opportunity for her first corporate speaking engagement. From there, she transitioned from freelance artist to budding entrepreneur and built out a professional speaking arm of her business, Jade Media.

Over the span of a few short years, Jade discovered a way to translate her musical background, training, and her experiences on differentiating in the world of Classical music to what companies wanted to learn about innovation, creativity, productivity, impact, and purpose. She’s created one-of-a-kind MainStage keynote experiences that combine inspiration, information, and entertainment. Today, she is a woman winning in an overwhelmingly male-dominated industry.

She’s an in-demand speaker, coach, and author brought in by the world’s most recognizable brands to spark transformation in their most powerful resource…their people. Just last year, she was named one of the Best Keynote Speakers of 2019 (Northstar Meetings) and again in 2020 (BigSpeak). Her acclaimed podcast, Decomposed, with American Public Media has been featured in numerous Top 10 lists, including Time, BBC America, and Esquire Magazines. Jade Media transitioned to Jade Media Global, LLC, a certified woman-owned business, with a diverse team of other inspiring women. Jade now travels the globe speaking and performing for audiences who have heard her trademark message of transformation and purpose translated in multiple languages.

How that translates:

Jade has led a life marked by innovation and reinvention. When the time called for it, when people needed it, when there were voids she felt she could fill, Jade purposefully transformed and diversified her offerings to rise to each occasion. She’s driven by a desire to influence and inspire people to be the biggest, boldest version of themselves possible, the version of themselves that stand to make the most impact. As her career blossomed and transitioned, she used it to reach more people, to have broader impact, and to reach people in a way that would forever mark how they experienced life and business. 

She intentionally partners with purpose-based companies and organizations who have a track record of prioritizing the people who work for them and the customers they serve. As a result, she’s met some of the best, people-focused leaders in the most demonized industries (think insurance, banking, pharmaceuticals, technology). She’s inspired unsung heroes to operate as transformative leaders for their teams. From kids to corporate, with leadership, college audiences, women’s groups, arts and faith-based programs in between, the result is always the same. She gets people to bring more of themselves to every single table, every single time. She causes burned out leaders to reconnect with their people in transformative ways and she creates an atmosphere for discovery and collaboration capable of birthing the most powerful solutions. She’ll do the same as president, fostering a new era of purpose-based public/private partnerships unlike the merely one-sided, transactional deals we’re used to. Her administration would empower and incentivize sustainable people-first initiatives, borderless collaboration between states during times of crisis, and national leadership that inspires us to do hard things in hard times that help us win. She brings a powerful connection with business leaders who know her as a servant-leader who has already powerfully served their people.

Make no mistake, communication will be key. Communication with all types of people, of varying viewpoints, with varying agendas will be crucial. Jade Simmons is the new communicator we need for the new era ahead.

Pit Stop at Prayer

In the midst of building her career as a speaker and building out Jade Media Global, during a weekend over Christmas break, Jade penned the Amazon Best-seller Audacious Prayers for World Changers. The book instantly caught on with not only people of faith, but others looking for a bolder way to express their belief in what is possible. A book on prayer was another unexpected turn for the pianist who didn’t have a seminary degree or hold a church position, but again, the results spoke for themselves. Today, people from all walks of life are still touting the book as a mainstay in their personal libraries, a catalyst for their major life changes, and a comfort during their hardest periods.

Soon after, ministry officially became a major part of how Jade would continue to make an even broader impact. She would go on to become ordained through her church and serve as one of the teaching pastors and the Director of Women’s Ministry, all while maintaining her career and running Jade Media Global. 

How that translates:

Jade sees leadership as a ministry, not as in preaching and proselytizing, or as an attempt to blur the lines in the separation of church and state, but ministry meaning being in service to others. She aims to work towards making people’s lives more peaceful, less painful, more prosperous, and ultimately, more powerful. People should feel better and be able to do better because of their leaders, not in spite of them. She believes great leaders should empower others to be servant-leaders in their own communities. 

Jade Simmons has the grit it takes to go from solopreneur to a sought-after entity, the brains of a savvy business leader, the creativity and collaborative spirit of an artist, and the heart of a minister. She also has the recipe for restoration for this nation.

G E T  I N V O L V E D

For those of you wanting not just a break from the divisive chaos, but wanting to be part of the solution and join other purpose pushers, transformation architects, and big believers to help Jade see this thing through, get involved today!

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For those of you wanting not just a break from the divisive chaos, but wanting to be part of the solution and join other purpose pushers, transformation architects, and big believers to help Jade see this thing through, get involved today!

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