Slma Shelbayah, M.A.
Chief Communications Officer
Slma Shelbayah is a Marketing, Communications, and Diversity Leader, Consultant, Adjunct Professor, and award-winning former CNN Broadcast Journalist. In 2015, she won the CNN Diversity Ovation Award for her commitment to inclusion in news coverage. She is passionate about diversity, human uniqueness, and unraveling taboo traditions and is dedicated to promoting the voices of under-represented individuals. Her background includes more than 17 years of experience as a journalist, communication, and public relations expert in the media industry, including roles as a reporter, show host, editor, writer, voice-over artist, and producer.
Serving as the Chief Communications Officer at Yardstick Management, Slma oversees the internal and external communications, strategy alignment, marketing, public relations, branding, and communication project management solutions for clients. She spearheaded a communications department leading a creative team responsible for rebranding the company both internally and externally.
Slma is also an Adjunct Professor of Business, Media, and Communications for Clayton State University and has previously taught at Brenau University, Herzing University, and Georgia State University. She teaches courses on public speaking, interpersonal communication, intercultural communication, speech, and business communication.
Her prior positions include serving as Director of Corporate Public Relations for Savannah College of Art and Design and a 7-year tenure at CNN serving in the capacity of Producer, Assignment Editor, and Writer working across different departments including, CNN International, CNN Digital Newsource, and CNN Homepage.
Slma was inducted and graduated from LEAD Atlanta’s distinguished and highly selective leadership program, LEAD Atlanta, for the class of 2018. She holds a B.A. in Journalism with a minor in Sociology and an M.A. in Linguistics with a focus on cross-cultural linguistics of Spanish and Arabic, both degrees from Georgia State University. She also obtained a certificate from Oxford University, U.K., during which students were selected from 30 countries across the world to pursue a seminar on global media policy: technology and new themes in media regulations.
Dedicating her time to community service that focuses on media, diversity, and inclusion, Slma previously sat on the Advisory Board for the Harvard Debate Diversity Project inaugural class, an initiative that provides selected high school students with debate training and an opportunity to spend a summer at Harvard College developing their speaking skills. Her life-long involvement with youth is also witnessed through mentoring as she is a board member of UBeyond Mentorship, a non-profit mentoring organization for young youth and professionals. Shelbayah also enjoys giving back to the media industry to further the impact on diversity, culture, and faith, and was previously on the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters.