Charlene Wheeless, principal VP, global corporate affairs, Bechtel: Power List 2017

2017 rank: 21

Charlene is kind, thoughtful, sincere, approachable, and pleasant to be around, a strategic thinker, risk-taker, and consummate communicator who exudes leadership, dares to challenge the status norm, has passion for her work, and love for community.

She is an active board member of the Arthur W. Page Society and committee member of The Seminar, two of the most exclusive global trade organizations for PR and corporate comms execs.

Even more importantly, she is a nurturing mother of two young daughters, supportive wife, and great friend with an incredible outlook on life, particularly during challenging times.

At this moment, Charlene is facing her most difficult challenge: breast cancer.

I’ve been in communication with her and her eldest daughter, Jene, who is a protégé of mine.

Jene keeps me posted on her mom’s progress, but I could hear a tearful appreciation in Charlene’s voice when she called my mobile shortly after surgery to thank me for my flowers, letters, cards, and texts.

When I returned her call we talked about her recovery and laughed and joked as if she hadn’t just gone through a radical mastectomy.

What a strong woman. I have so much respect for Charlene and who she is as a person. Her kindness is my weakness.

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