Charlene Wheeless is a multi-faceted powerhouse in the business world. An accomplished business leader with over 30 years of experience in various fields, such as leadership, communications, and operations, she is highly sought-after as a keynote speaker, leadership advisor, and author. Her expertise has helped empower executives and teams to achieve breakthrough performance and transform business and workplace culture.
At Charlene Wheeless LLC, her firm, she uses her extensive business acumen to assist organizations in achieving their goals. She is also a senior advisor for equity and justice at APCO Worldwide, where she assists C-suite leaders and companies in implementing effective DE&I initiatives.
Before starting her own company, Wheeless served as the Principal Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Bechtel Corporation, where she provided C-suite counsel on matters of marketing, business development, strategy, international affairs, and talent engagement. She was also responsible for issues and crisis management, internal and external communications, reputation management, sustainability (ESG), and public affairs. Her contributions to Bechtel were instrumental in establishing the company's renewed value proposition and focus on customer experience as a differentiator. She also served on the company’s ethics and knowledge management committees and was a member of the board of the Bechtel PAC and the Bechtel Foundation.
Wheeless's multidisciplinary business skill set was honed through her extensive experience at multinational companies such as Raytheon, CGI, Northrup Gruman, and DynCorp. She handled global communications, issues, reputation risk, and business and operations management, including serving as the lead executive overseeing all facility operations for Raytheon's largest facility in the Washington, DC, area—the first communications executive to ever do so.
Wheeless is a prominent voice on equity and justice, appearing in prestigious publications such as Forbes, Business Insider, and Chief Executive magazine. She is the immediate past chairman of the Page Society, the world's leading professional association for senior PR and communications executives of Fortune-level companies.
In recognition of her leadership and expertise, Wheeless was selected as a member of Marshall Goldsmith's 100 Coaches community in 2021. She is also a certified leadership coach and a member of the National Speakers Association. She holds an MBA with an emphasis in Marketing, an MA in Public Communications, and a BA in Journalism/PR.
Wheeless's dedication to her community is evident through her service on the boards of several organizations, including previously serving as the chairman of the HCA Virginia-Reston Hospital, a commissioner for the Loudoun County Economic Development Authority, chairman of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Board of Advisors for the George Washington University Virginia Campus.
Wheeless has been named a “Woman Worth Watching” by the nationally known Profiles in Diversity magazine, and a “Women Who Mean Business” honoree by The Washington Business Journal. She was also named among the 25 Influential Black Women in Business by The Network Journal.
Her debut book, "You Are Enough! Reclaiming Your Career and Life with Purpose, Passion and Unapologetic Authenticity," was a bestseller in 2021 and won two independent book awards for best non-fiction and inspirational books of the year.
In summary, Charlene Wheeless is a highly accomplished business leader with a strong track record of success. Her extensive experience and business knowledge make her a valuable asset to any organization and its leaders.