ATLANTA: Walmart’s Deisha Barnett will join the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce later this month as SVP of marketing and communications.
She will report to Hala Moddelmog, president and CEO and the former president of Arby’s Restaurant Group.
Barnett will lead the Chamber’s executive communications, marketing, branding, and media relations, succeeding Scott Higley, who left the role in May, according to his LinkedIn profile. Overseeing seven staffers, she will be responsible for supporting the Chamber’s work to drive job creation, enable sustained economic growth, and attract and retain talent.
Barnett will work in tandem with Kate Atwood, executive director of ChooseATL, a regional initiative that is focused on "telling a comprehensive story about Atlanta to grow the region’s prosperity in the global economy," according to the group’s website.
Atwood and her team will support the Chamber’s marketing strategy of working to recruit and grow business investments in the region by attracting and retaining top millennial talent.
The Chamber is launching an updated marketing and communications strategy focused on Atlanta being a global knowledge capital, it said in a statement.
"I am excited about being able to lead the team and the work, help grow comms and marketing professionals, and drive the work forward in a way that embraces comms strategies and tactics to attract talent and business to this area," said Barnett.
She added that her presence as an African-American woman, mother, and someone from a unique background will boost diversity at the Chamber.
"I have a personal passion for diversity and inclusion," Barnett said. "I believe the most effective teams are the ones that embrace diversity of thought."
Barnett is joining the Chamber after nine years at Walmart, where she directed comms strategy for the biggest shopping events of the year, such as back-to-school and Black Friday. She also led communications for the retailer’s community giving and diversity initiatives. Barnett was most recently senior director of corporate communications at the retailer.
Previously, she worked with internet service provider EarthLink, managing corporate communications. Earlier in her career, she was an account executive at Ketchum, according to her LinkedIn profile.
"I am excited about this role because it allows me to give back to a town that has been really good to me throughout my career," said Barnett, who started her career in Ketchum’s Atlanta office.
Barnett was a member of PRWeek’s 40 Under 40 list in 2015.