The finalists for WashingtonExec’s Pinnacle Awards were announced Oct. 8, and we’ll be highlighting some of them until the event takes place virtually Nov. 12.
Next is Diversity & Inclusion Executive of the Year finalist Tedena Wheeler, who’s a business manager at Leidos and chair of African American Leidos Network.
Wheeler is a performance-driven leader with expertise in large-scale business management and project leadership. As a business manager in the Office of Technology and a dedicated champion of equality, she is motivated by opportunities to succeed and embodies the definition of diversity and inclusion.
The true impact of a leader isn’t based solely on their professional accomplishments, but also on their commitment to making a difference for people within the company. Wheeler has a track record of leadership in several employee resource groups, including chair of the African American Leidos Network, former secretary of the corporate Women’s Network and president of the San Diego chapter of the Women’s Network.
As AALN chair, Wheeler leads the organization, which has expanded to multiple chapters across the company made up of more than 500 members and is the voice for AALN within Leidos to raise awareness and concerns faced by diverse employees.
Wheeler’s leadership is steady, transparent and collaborative as she positions the AALN ERG front and center to lead enterprisewide conversations on race in the workplace through the AALN Book Club and the “Real Talk” series.
The “Real Talk Series,” which features members of the Leidos executive leadership team as guest panelists, provides a forum for honest conversations, in light of recent racial injustices in the country, and regularly hosts over 1,000 participants.
AALN Virtual Book Club offers a platform for employees across the country to discuss crucial conversations on race in the workplace with over 70 book club members.
Additionally, under Wheeler’s leadership, AALN launched the inaugural AALN Leadership Conference to provide participants with professional development opportunities as well as the health and wellness-focused AALN Week of Wellness.
Wheeler’s diversity and inclusion efforts are recognized throughout Leidos and earned her the following acknowledgements: ERG Service Award, recognized by CEO Roger Krone, and Cornerstone Award, recognized by the Leidos Innovations Center (which recognizes individuals who exemplify the cornerstone value of inclusion).
Her inclusion efforts spill over to all employees by seeking funding for and arranging programs and initiatives to include a “Daughters and Sons to Work Day” at the San Diego Campus and establishing teams to support charity events. She’s not only an impassioned advocate for the ERG she leads but serves as a strong ally in close collaboration with other ERGs.
Wheeler was part of the planning that led to two “Into the Boardroom” events organized by the Women’s Network, allowing employees to interact with members of the Leidos board of directors. She has also led collaborative community impact projects to deliver Thanksgiving food boxes to military families and provide holiday toys to foster children.
Wheeler is the consummate professional; unfailingly giving her expertise and thought leadership to Leidos’ overall I&D initiatives & strategy and serving as a valued partner that consistently embodies great leadership characteristics and exudes Leidos’ cornerstone value of inclusion.