Shelly Coleman-Martins named next VP of Strategic Communications 



Shelly Coleman-Martins, chief marketing officer and associate vice president of Strategic Communications, is the next leader of the communications department. She will take over on Vice President of Strategic Communications Lou Heldman’s last day on Friday.

As Vice President of Strategic Communications Lou Heldman prepares to retire, Wichita State didn’t have to look far for his replacement.

Shelly Coleman-Martins, chief marketing officer and associate vice president of Strategic Communications, will take the reins after Heldman’s last day on Friday. She will be the vice president of both Strategic Communications and marketing. 

“Our role in all situations starts with listening,” Coleman-Martins said. “We strive to keep our community informed through messages that will resonate and through relevant channels.”

WSU hired Coleman-Martins as marketing director in 2016. Coleman-Martins previously worked as an international marketing manager for Koch Agronomic Services and as marketing director for the Rhatigan Student Center. 

As the university responds to the coronavirus pandemic, Coleman-Martins said Strategic Communications is focused on getting important and timely updates to students, faculty and staff. At the same time, she said the office has put a spotlight on individuals at WSU who play a role in the larger community’s response to the virus. 

“We wrote stories about Shockers on the frontlines in medicine and science, Shockers helping produce face shields and stethoscopes and students who helped Girl Scouts earn badges remotely,” she said. 

Strategic Communications also produces regular publications for the university, such as WSU Today and Shocker Blast. 

Underlying those efforts, Coleman-Martins said, is a love for WSU’s mission and its community. 

“In general, we are storytellers for Wichita State. We promote and protect the brand.” 

Lou Heldman, outgoing vice president of Strategic Communications
Lou Heldman, outgoing vice president of Strategic Communications (COURTESY/WICHITA STATE)

Heldman, outgoing VP, came to the university in 2007 to teach at the Elliott School of Communication. He joined late President John Bardo’s executive team in 2014, two years into the planning of Innovation Campus. 

The university also unveiled the I-35 Strategic Enrollment Plan and formed a new affiliation with WSU Tech during Heldman’s time in the position. 

“In each of my roles, I enjoyed working with Wichita State students, faculty and staff and contributing to the positive energy of a university that was clearly on the rise,” Heldman said in an email to The Sunflower. 

Heldman, former president and publisher of The Wichita Eagle, said he was confident in Coleman-Martins’ ability to lead the Strategic Communications department going forward. 

“Shelly (Coleman-Martins) is one of the most capable leaders I’ve worked alongside in my 48 years in communications,” he said. “She cares deeply about the university and people she works with, she is always competent and prepared, she has impeccable judgment — she’s calm.”

“She knows what she doesn’t know and seeks help to fill in the gaps.”

Coleman-Martins has a bachelor of arts degree from Newman University and a master’s degree in business administration from Baker University.