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Shelia Hardwell Byrd

Director of Communications

Shelia Hardwell Byrd is the Director of Communications for the City of Jackson Mayor's Office. Byrd is a native of Winnfield, La., and holds a B.A. in Mass Communication from Grambling State University. She is currently enrolled in the Master's of Public Policy and Administration Program at Jackson State University. 

Byrd is an award-winning writer with more than a decade of experience in the field of communications. Most recently, she was the Media Relations Specialist for JSU's Communications Department. Prior to that, she worked for The Associated Press, holding the positions of news reporter, desk supervisor, broadcast editor and statehouse reporter. Byrd was one of the few African-American women to cover the Mississippi Legislature on behalf of The AP. During her stint at the global wire service, she wrote national, political and feature articles and was selected to serve as an AP National Writer.

Her work in public relations has included serving as the Communications Manager of the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi and Site Director for The Clarion-Ledger Jackson Voices Project. As JSU's Media Relations Specialist, Byrd was a key member of the University Communications team. Her JSU feature stories were published in Mississippi's largest newspaper, and she led production on special publications for the university.

Byrd won a 2014 PRism Award of Excellence for Feature Writing and a 2013 Lantern Excellence Award for Public Relations Feature Writing. In 2013, she also was the first recipient of the Distinguished Service Scholar Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education District III.

Byrd is a member of the Public Relations Society of America and the Public Relations Association of Mississippi. She is a former Board Member for the Boys & Girls Club of the Mississippi Delta. She is also the former PTA President for Van Winkle Elementary School.