Charlene Wheeless is a renowned communications and corporate affairs professional, author, keynote speaker, and executive advisor with over three decades of experience in business, corporate affairs, and communications. In 2020, after a four-year health crisis, Wheeless retired from Bechtel Corporation, where she was the principal vice president of Corporate Affairs since 2009. She was responsible for internal and external communications, reputation risk management, issues management, crisis communications, marketing communications, Sustainability, and CSR. She was a board member of the Bechtel Foundation and the Bechtel Political Action Committee. Earlier she held executive positions at Raytheon Company as well as other large, global enterprises.
Today, Wheeless leads her namesake firm, Charlene Wheeless LLC. She provides advisory and coaching in organizational communications, executive communications and presence, team dynamics, DE&I, equity & justice, and issues management to executives and their enterprises. Wheeless’s coaching practice is grounded in positive psychology and the Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching Framework. Wheeless’s clients include multinational companies in the Fortune 10 and the Fortune 100, mid-sized firms, and executives from various technical industries. She also serves as the senior advisor for equity and justice at APCO Worldwide, a global advocacy and communications consultancy.
Wheeless has emerged as an important voice and influencer on equity and justice and has appeared in scholarly works and media outlets including The Dialogue Project, Forbes, Business Insider, and Chief Executive. She is an equally important voice in shaping the future of the communications profession. Wheeless is the chairman of the board of trustees for the Page Society, the world’s leading professional association for senior public relations and corporate communications executives. Other board positions she holds include chairman of the board of trustees for HCA Virginia Hospital, Reston and board member for the Institute for Public Relations, the Page Center, and The Black Experience, an effort to amplify voices of leaders in the Black Community. She is also a member of the APCO International Advisory Council and Marshall Goldsmith’s 100 Coaches, an organization that brings together many of the world’s leading executive coaches, top business thinkers, and best leaders with the common purpose of making good executives better.
Her debut book, “You are Enough! Reclaiming your Career and Your Life with Purpose, Passion and Unapologetic Authenticity,” was released by Amplify Publishing and quickly became a best-seller and has garnered independent book awards. The book chronicles her experience as a Black female executive climbing the corporate ladder, her courageous fight with cancer, and takes readers on a journey of reclaiming your life with purpose and passion. The book has been considered a blueprint for people of color, especially women, find a saner way to climb the corporate ladder.
Wheeless has received numerous awards for communications and leadership excellence throughout her career, including the PR Week Global Power Book for most influential professionals in Public Relations for five consecutive years and The Network Journal’s Most Influential Black Women in Business.
Wheeless is a certified coach from MG Stakeholder Center Coaching, Capp Institute, and is a member of the National Speakers Association. Wheeless holds a BA in Journalism/PR, an MA in Public Communication, and an MBA in Marketing. She resides in the Washington, DC Metro Area.
What we offer
Charlene Wheeless is a communications strategist who helps companies and senior leaders navigate and solve their toughest business challenges.
Think of us as your thought partners. In organizations, for businesses, executives, and individuals. I started Charlene Wheeless LLC because I saw a need for businesses to prioritize humanity, compassion, and empathy while still focusing on the work of doing business. Whether your needs are navigating the murky waters of diversity, equity and inclusion; equity and justice; crisis communications; leadership and executive advisors, chances are we’ve been there and we know how to help. We are advisors; leadership, executive, and life coaches, and more importantly, we’re your partners when you need us most. Many consultants talk about problems, we’re here to solve them based on your unique circumstances. We want you to win. Let’s face it:
You didn’t come this far, to only come this far.