Whitney Slightham, CEO

After leading health sciences and government communications for over 15 years, Whitney Slightham founded Mesa Marketing in 2022. Her work has earned 12 national and international recognitions, and she has a proven track record of elevating scientific stories in prime media markets, including earned media coverage in the BBC, CBC, the Washington Post, and NPR.

Whitney Slightham, Mesa Marketing

Whitney Slightham is a seasoned communications professional with 15 years of experience in strategic communications, digital marketing, and public relations. Her campaigns have garnered 12 national and international awards, and she has a proven ability to drive revenue and elevate technical stories in prime media markets, securing coverage in outlets such as the BBC, CBC, Washington Post, and NPR.

Most recently, Whitney served as the Communications Director for Virginia Tech’s Fralin Biomedical Research Institute. In this role, she led a team and supported 37 principal investigators and 400 employees with internal and external communications projects. She directed international media relations campaigns that reached over 600 million people worldwide in 2021, doubled science story output, and significantly boosted audience engagement and community size by 500% as the primary social media manager. Whitney also spearheaded the redesign and launch of the institute’s website, resulting in a 20% increase in unique user website traffic within six months.

Prior to Virginia Tech, Whitney managed city-wide communications campaigns, crisis communications, and community engagement for the City of Roanoke, Virginia. Reporting directly to the City Manager, she grew and managed a digital community of 220,000 followers and produced viral video content that reached 3 million viewers worldwide. Her efforts led to a major website redevelopment project that increased City recreation program registrations by 30% and generated 100 leads per month, earning a 2017 Gold Public Relations Society of America Award. Whitney also initiated the City’s Welcoming Roanoke program to engage immigrants and refugees, successfully securing funding through New American Economy’s Gateways for Growth grant.

At 434 Marketing, an award-winning digital marketing agency, Whitney served as Marketing Director, overseeing hundreds of content marketing and web development projects. Her content strategy for the City of Lynchburg’s website won a silver International Economic Development Council award, increasing site traffic by 397%, lead conversions by 476%, and generating 376 new leads within three months post-launch.

Whitney holds an honors bachelor’s degree in English from Western University in London and a postgraduate certificate in Public Relations from Humber College in Toronto.

  • National Healthcare Ads Merit Award – Website and Marketing Strategy for Plastic Surgeons of Northern Arizona (2023)
  • International Economic Development Council Silver Award – Website and Digital Marketing Strategy for City of Lynchburg Economic Development Authority (2015)
  • New American Economy Gateways for Growth Challenge Grant – City of Roanoke, Welcoming Roanoke (2019)
  • Public Relations Society of America Gold – Best PR Campaign, City of Roanoke Recycling (2018)
  • Public Relations Society of America Gold – Best Website, Roanoke Parks and Recreation (2017)
  • Public Relations Society of America Silver – Best PR Campaign, Roanoke Parks and Recreation (2017)
  • STAR Top Performing Employee – City of Roanoke Awards (2016)
  • STAR Top Performing Employee – City of Roanoke Awards (2017)
  • STAR Top Performing Employee – City of Roanoke Awards (2018)
  • STAR Top Performing Employee – City of Roanoke Awards (2019)
  • VRPS Best Traditional Promotional Effort (2016)
  • Lynchburg Community Impact Award (2016)
  • Public Relations Graduate Certificate, Humber College (Toronto, ON)
  • B.A., Honors English, Western University (London, ON)

Other Training:

  • Google Ads Training (2023)
  • Neurobiology Laboratory Training (2019)
  • Virginia Tech Molecular Biology Course (2019)
  • Lab Safety Training (2019)
  • VDEM Crisis Training for PIOs (2018)
  • Public Deliberation Training (2018)
  • Government Leadership College, Roanoke VA (2017)
  • 500-Hour Yoga and Meditation Teacher Training (2016)
  • Inbound Marketing Certification, HubSpot (2014)
  • Board Member (2018 – 2021), Apple Ridge Farm
  • Communications Chair (2019 – 2020), PRSA Blue Ridge Chapter
  • Laboratory Volunteer (2019), Fox Lab, Fralin Biomedical
  • Community Volunteer (2017 – Present), Virginia Tech
  • On Call Crisis Victim Advocate (2015 – 2016), Lynchburg YWCA & Centra Hospital
  • Volunteer Yoga Teacher (2015 – 2018), City of Roanoke, City of Lynchburg
  • PR Event Volunteer (2013), CIBC Wood Gundy, Toronto ON
  • PR Director (2013 – 2014), Markham, ON Jazz Festival
  • Communications Advisor (2014), Kinark Child and Family Services
  • Radio Host, “Tech in Ten” (2011 – 2012), CHRW Radio, Western University
  • Arts Reporter (2011 – 2012), Western University Daily Gazette
  • Graduate- and undergraduate-level lectures in communications presented at Virginia Tech, Lynchburg College, Randolph College, and Kutztown University.
  • Media Training and Science Communications – Virginia Tech (2019 – 2021)
  • Science Communications and Professional Development Lectures, Virginia Tech Translational Biology and Health Graduate Program (2021 – 2022)
  • Triangle J Council of Governments – “Community Engagement” Presentation (2019)
  • Association of Outdoor Recreation Education Conference – ”Applying Inbound Marketing to the Outdoors” (2017)
  • International Economic Development Conference – “Marketing Best Practices” (2015)
  • Small Business Development Center Lecture Series – “Understanding Your Buyers” (2015)