Slma Shelbayah

Chief Communications and Marketing Officer

Slma Shelbayah is a former award-winning CNN journalist, adjunct professor, and marketing and communications executive. In 2015, she won the CNN Diversity Ovation Award for her commitment to inclusion in news coverage. Her background includes more than 15 years of experience as a journalist, communication, and public relations expert in the media, management, DEI, human resources, and search industries. Her news career includes breaking news coverage with CNN International, spanning the regions of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa and varying across national and international topics including stories covering Arab and Muslim Diasporas.

Today, Slma serves as the Chief Communications Officer at Diversified Search Group, overseeing the internal and external communications strategy, marketing, public relations, and branding of all four lines of business which include Management Consulting, Executive Search, DEI Consulting, and the Leadership Institute. She also leads project management consulting solutions for their global clients. Previously, she was the Corporate Director of Public Relations for Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), developing and executing effective public relations initiatives to elevate the university’s corporate identity both regionally and nationally by securing media coverage of SCAD students, signature events and the university president while fostering external relationships with partners and media across the globe. Prior to this role, Shelbayah spent most of her career in journalism across a variety of departments at CNN as a Producer, Assignment Editor, and Digital Writer.

Additionally, as the CEO of Shelbayah Consulting, LLC, a communication consultancy firm that was started in August 2015, Shelbayah assists clients in branding and communication strategy development, DEI communication, crisis communication, public and media relations, content development, storytelling, digital marketing, writing, and public speaking training. The firm has helped individuals and organizations build their brands and supporting platforms, as well as narrate their stories of impact. Some of her previous clients include The Carter Center, Google, American Express, Flatiron Health, and Southern Company Gas.

She holds an undergraduate degree in journalism with a minor in sociology and a master’s in linguistics with a focus on cross-cultural linguistics of Spanish and Arabic, both degrees from Georgia State University. She has also obtained a certificate from Oxford University, UK, 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. Shelbayah is a graduate of the prestigious leadership program, LEAD Atlanta, class of 2018, and is currently a fellow of the New Leaders Council class of 2023.