Page 98 - First Ladies of Football
P. 98

ALUMNI  Charlene Wheeless ’89-’92 A cheerleader and dancer for as long as she can remember, Charlene joined the Redskin Cheerleads organization in 1988 – and hasn’t looked back since! After serving as a one-year co- captain a three-year captain on the team, Charlene hung up her pom poms to focus on a career as an executive in Communications and Marketing. Today, Charlene serves as the Principal Vice President of Global. Corporate Affairs for a large, multinational engineering and construction firm and one of the largest privately held companies in the nation. In this role, she is responsible for global communications, issues and reputation management, brand management, corporate social responsibility, and public affairs. She serves on the company’s ethics and knowledge management committees, as well as on the boards of the Bechtel PAC and Bechtel Group Foundation. Before joining Bechtel in 2009, Charlene was vice president of communications for the Intelligence and Information Systems (IIS) business unit of Raytheon Company as well as the site executive of its Falls Church, Va. facility. In these positions she oversaw global public relations, advertising, media relations, marketing communications, employee communications, and community relations, and held responsibility for facility operations, security and quality audits, and employee morale at the company’s largest location in Northern Virginia. Prior to her years with Raytheon, Charlene was senior vice president of global communications and marketing for American Management Systems (AMS) and corporate vice president of communications at DynCorp. She also held executive and staff positions with PRC, Inc. (later acquired by Northrop Grumman Corporation), Steuart Petroleum Company, and IBM Corporation. Charlene has been a true trailblazer throughout her career, often being the first black female executive in nearly all of the companies she’s worked with. Charlene was recently named by PR Week magazine one of the 50 most influential PR professionals in the industry, for the third consecutive year. She was also inducted into the PR Hall of Femme, and the PR Global Powder Book. In 2017, the National Journal named her among the “25 Influential Black Women in Business.” Earlier, she was 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. Charlene and her wisdom have appeared in several books on leadership and communications and she is a sought-out speaker on those topics and on motivation and diversity. She is also the author of a popular blog —, which chronicles her three -year battle with cancer and brings hope and solace to others. Active in the community, Charlene is chairman of the Greater Reston (Virginia) Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Board of Trustees for the HCA Reston Hospital, and on the committee of The Seminar, the premier organization of the highest-ranking global communications and public affairs executives. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Arthur W. Page Society. Previously, she was on the board of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), a member of the advisory board of the George Washington Virginia Campus, and a commissioner on the Loudoun County (Virginia) Economic Development Authority. Charlene graduated from New Mexico State University with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism and public relations. She earned a master’s degree inbusiness administration at Keller Graduate School of Management. She currently resides in Ashburn Virginia with her husband and their two dogs. They also have two adult children.      

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