Charlene A. Wheeless is the former principal vice president of global corporate affairs for Bechtel Corporation.

Charlene was responsible for global communications, issues and reputation management, sustainability, stewardship, and public affairs. She served on the company’s ethics and knowledge management committees, as well as 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 served as the lead executive, responsible for facility operations, security and quality audits, and employee morale. 

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 was recently named by PR Week magazine one of the 50 most influential PR professionals in the industry, for the third consecutive year. This year, she was also named to the PR Hall of Femme, the PR Global Power Book, and the 2017 National Journal “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.

Active in the community, Charlene is a member of the board of directors, executive committee and chair-elect for the Greater Reston (Virginia) Chamber of Commerce, a board member for NACME (National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering), and on the committee of The Seminar, the premier organization of the highest-ranking global communications and public affairs executives. Additionally, she is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Arthur W. Page Society, and for Reston (VA) Hospital. Previously, she was on the advisory board of the George Washington Virginia Campus, 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 in public communications at American University in Washington, D.C., and a master’s degree in business administration at Keller Graduate School of Management.