Nalayeh was born in 1976 in Somalia. She grew up in a large family, with four brothers and seven sisters.
Along with her parents and siblings, a six-year-old Nalayeh later emigrated to Canada in 1984. They initially settled in Edmonton, Alberta before eventually moving to Toronto in 1992.
Nalayeh attended the West Humber Collegiate Institute, a high school in Etobicoke. For her post-secondary education, she studied at the University of Windsor, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications. Additionally, she earned a postgraduate certificate in broadcast journalism from Seneca College.
Hodan is a mother of two sons. Her sister Dega Nalayeh is a senior vice president private client advisor with U.S. Trust.
Besides Somali, Hodan is also fluent in English.
Nalayeh has over thirteen years of experience in client management, sales and production in radio and television. She has served as a producer on a number of TV shows, including American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.
Additionally, Nalayeh has provided marketing and writing consultancy to burgeoning companies. Her work in this area is centered on video marketing combined with online branding.
In September 2013, Nalayeh was appointed Vice President of Sales & Programming Development of Cameraworks Productions International's Canadian operation based in Vaughan, Ontario. The company is a global, full-service and comprehensively-equipped video and television production facility focusing on pre- to post-production of business-to-business video assets.
Nalayeh also serves as the President of the Cultural Integration Agency, a full-service media firm specializing in the development, production, marketing and distribution of multicultural programs. In February 2014, the company partnered with Cameraworks Productions International to produce a new television format for cultural community programming. To this end, Nalayeh on March 1 began hosting the half-hour Somali community show Integration: Building A New Cultural Identity, which airs Saturday nights on CityTV. She also serves as an Executive Producer on the weekly Toronto program.
Besides media production and consultancy, Nalayeh does a lot of volunteer and advocacy work for the Somali community. She founded the Somali Refugee Awareness Project, which in 2011 presented the veteran Somali artist Saado Ali Warsame with a Lifetime Achievement Award. In this capacity, Nalayeh also works closely with a number of non-profit organizations.