Abenaa Hayes

Abenaa Hayes




Programming Committee Co-Chair

Founder & CEO, Elysee Consulting


Abenaa Hayes helps leaders and brands who want to meet 21st century societal mandates head on. The founder and CEO of Elysee Consulting, LLC, she is a seasoned communications and brand marketing executive with expertise in healthcare, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) and health equity. For over 20 years, Abenaa has helped US and global biotech and pharma companies reach stakeholders, influencers and communities through transformative narratives, dynamic storytelling and meaningful engagement.

Building on a family legacy in health equity and racial justice, Abenaa is also a champion of racial and social equity in the communications industry. Prior to launching Elysee Consulting, she founded the Inclusion and Health Equity practice at Real Chemistry (RC), a global health innovation company.

At RC, she was the executive sponsor of the company’s DE&I Steering Council, as well as a key driver of the company’s DE&I/health equity thought leadership and business resource group activations. She was also the architect of several talent pipeline initiatives in partnership with leading HBCUs and the client lead on social impact, health equity, multicultural, corporate inclusion and reputation campaigns on behalf of leading pharmaceutical and biotech clients, including Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Horizon Therapeutics, Genentech, Takeda, Sage Therapeutics and more.

Prior to RC, Abenaa was at Edelman, where she was a senior healthcare lead and brand strategist for AstraZeneca and Shire (now part of Takeda) and the co-founder and chair of the agency’s Black Employee Resource Group, Edelman Griot. She’s also held leadership roles at Weber Shandwick, MSL and BCW.

Recognized as one of pocstock’s Top 50 of the Future of Black America (2024) and as a “Woman to Watch” by Medical, Marketing and Media (2021), Abenaa has been a featured speaker and panelist at forums such as SXSW (2021); ADCOLOR (2021); and publications including Axios, Essence, Adweek and Entrepreneur magazine. She’s served as the co-chair of the PR Council’s D&I Agency community and is a member of Chief, Mixing Board and ForbesBLK.

Abenaa holds an MA in broadcast journalism from the Annenberg School at USC and an honors BA in cultural studies from McGill University in Montreal.