Charlene A. Wheeless
Principal Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs
Charlene Wheeless made it her life’s work to prove wrong every person throughout her career who underestimated her or told her what she couldn’t do rather than what she could. “I don’t believe in the word ‘no.’ Everything is possible through belief, hard work, faith and resilience — with a bit of fearlessness thrown in!” she asserts.
Today, Wheeless is the principal vice president of Global Corporate Affairs at Bechtel Corp., a $32 billion engineering and construction company employing more than 50,000 people worldwide. She stands on her tenures in senior positions at Raytheon Co.’s Intelligence and Information Systems unit, American Management Systems and DynCorp., in addition to staff positions with PRC Inc., Steuart Petroleum Co. and IBM Corp. “I don’t know anyone who has achieved success alone. As executives and professionals, we have a responsibility in our companies to inspire others and help them succeed beyond their own expectations,” she states.
Wheeless gives freely of her time away from Bechtel, serving on the boards of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), Reston Hospital and the Arthur W. Page Society. She also serves on the committee of The Seminar. Her passion project is to one day work with homeless dogs and train them as therapy and companion animals for people afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. “Animals have tremendous healing ability. Being in a position to help others regain trust, the ability to feel safe and learn to love again and, most important, believe in themselves again is life-changing. If I can help someone regain their power, I will have achieved my true mission in life.”
Wheeless holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from New Mexico State University, a master’s degree in public communication from The American University and an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management.