A Publication of WTVP

40 Leaders Under Forty

Shelbey Simone Roberts | 29

Television journalist, WMBD-TV/WYZZ

Shelbey Simone Roberts
Shelbey Simone Roberts

Shelbey Simone Roberts is the evening news anchor for WMBD-TV/WYZZ, while also reporting on health care issues and small business developments. 

“Her widespread community engagement, ability to convey current events in a relatable manner, and her emotional and heartfelt storytelling make her a treasure that central Illinois looks to for news of the day,” said her nominator. “Behind the scenes, Shelbey works to train up the next generation of journalists … advocates for stories that directly impact marginalized communities that tend to go unnoticed, and pushes for solution-based journalism with real answers, all while having that radiant smile.”

Shelbey has won multiple awards for her work, including from the Illinois Broadcasters Association for her efforts on a town hall broadcast focusing on race relations in central Illinois following the death of George Floyd.

Her work extends beyond the news. In June of this year, 30 WMBD/WYZZ employees under Shelbey’s direction worked a total of 60 hours at two locations – at the South Side Mission in Peoria, and at The Baby Fold in Normal. At the former, the team demolished multiple rooms that will make way for the new Youth Center to be built there, plus deep cleaning the commercial kitchen and painting and preparing the new Donation Warehouse for the Garden Street Thrift Store. Meanwhile, Shelbey helped coordinate a donation drive that the Baby Fold later characterized as the biggest in its history. 

Shelbey is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and is involved in the community service work of Phi Psi Omega chapter. She has volunteered with Meals on Wheels, Midwest Food Bank, and the Dream Center.

Advice to your 20-year-old self: “You are enough just as you are. There’s no accolade, extracurricular activity, test score, relationship or career path that makes you more worthy of being accepted and valued. You were enough before and you are enough now.”  

 Best advice ever: “Growing up, my mom would consistently say ‘attitude is everything.’ This stemmed from a poem by Charles Swindoll that she used to quote, which said in part, ‘I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.’ I carry that reminder with me every day whether circumstances are working for me or against me.”  

Leadership definition: “I see a great leader as someone who first and foremost has a heart of serving others. They teach what they know and are also open to learning and feedback. They lead with kindness and patience. But they’re also firm about their expectations of others and holding people accountable.”