WASHINGTON, DC, August 17, 2020 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Teri Helenese has been inducted into Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.
Ms. Helenese, a former IT consultant and human resources professional, is currently the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) Director of State-Federal Relations and Washington, D.C. Representative, reporting directly to Governor Albert Bryan, Jr. In that capacity, she devotes significant time, talent, and energy to economic stimulus and development, technology adoption, and public policy in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which devastated the islands in 2017.
Among her top achievements as a key member of Governor Bryan's office, she spearheaded the effort to bring D.C. United, Washington's professional men's soccer team, to St. Croix for an exhibition game—an all-time first. She also facilitated another first: a collaborative effort on the part of the governors of the five U.S. territories to lobby Congress to extend Medicaid funding beyond the "fiscal cliff" that loomed in September 2019. More recently, she invited Black bank chief executive officers and owners on the U.S. mainland to consider relocating all or part of their banks' business to the U.S. Virgin Islands. As one of five U.S. territories, the USVI is the only location under the American flag where Blacks own and operate the majority of businesses and occupy leadership positions in both government and the private sector. If successful, the #BankBlackVI initiative will bring lasting benefits to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
In all of her past and present endeavors, she has demonstrated a commitment to excellence, giving her all to her employers, her native community in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), and her adopted community in Loudoun County, Virginia. Along the way, she has gained expertise in information technology, human resources, strategic communications, organizational change, and applied politics—her area of specialization at the George Washington University School of Political Management, where she earned a Master of Arts degree with concentrations in statistics and communications.
A History of "Firsts" in the Private Sector
A former IT consultant, Ms. Helenese spent 20 years counseling Fortune 500 clients, government agencies, and NGOs, shepherding them through periods of large-scale organizational transformation. She started out as a strategy and technology consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, helping to pioneer an early version of electronic health records (EHRs). Subsequently, she consulted with Deloitte, where she played a key role in the development of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks. The credential was designed to bolster the security of U.S. ports. Ms. Helenese served as "TWIC Ambassador," traveling to 37 states to brief employers, unions, Coast Guard officials, and other stakeholders on the new credentialing process and enrolling 2 million workers. Today, TWIC has nearly 15 million enrollees. Also at Deloitte, Helenese played a leading role in integrating the company's information infrastructure at the birth of a new U.S. government entity: The Department of Homeland Security.
In 2008, Ms. Helenese was relocated to St. Croix to join the USVI's "Reverse the Brain Drain" program. She was the first Virgin Islander to be hired for a senior management position—Human Resources Director—at Diageo's Captain Morgan Rum Distillery, one of the world's leading manufacturers of rum. By the end of her tenure there, 97% of the subsidiary's workforce were fellow Virgin Islanders. Later, she served on the leadership team for the design and construction of the company-sponsored state-of-the-art Captain Morgan Visitor Center on St. Croix.
As Director of People Services and Human Resources Transformation at International SOS, the world's largest medical and travel security services firm, Ms. Helenese helped set the company's global HR agenda, completed a complex payroll conversion to a new platform for five merger and acquisition companies, and shepherded the organization through its own successful merger.
She was subsequently chosen to travel to Bangkok to set the global HR agenda with the company's C-Suite leaders. At a General Dynamics conglomerate, capping her achievements in the field, she was given responsibility for HR operations in twenty countries across Europe and Asia.
Most recently, on the technology front, she took the lead in fostering a joint initiative between Google and the USVI Government designed to help Internet users find accurate and locally relevant information about COVID-19 from trusted sources, without compromising personal information. Simply put, the Google-USVI collaboration is about harnessing the best of what technology has to offer on behalf of Virgin Islanders' health and safety.
Early Promise, Early Recognition
Ms. Helenese accepted a full scholarship at Florida Memorial College—a Historically Black College and home to the Black national anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing!"—where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.
At college, Helenese distinguished herself in a series of leadership roles, starting in her freshman year as Class Senator. She was subsequently elected Sophomore Class Treasurer, Junior Class Vice President, President of the Catholic Students Association, and President of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Association—the oldest Black sorority with a long history of distinguished members, including Rosa Parks, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, Phylicia Rashad, Debbie Allen, Maya Angelou, and Coretta Scott King, among many others. But soon, another natural disaster struck. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew wreaked destruction across South Florida. Ms. Helenese volunteered to help with recovery efforts in Homestead, Florida, a community that was especially hard hit. Having lived through Hurricane Hugo on St. Croix in 1989 and Hurricane Andrew in 1992, volunteering and community service soon became a way of life for her.
After returning to school, Ms. Helenese was elected Miss Florida Memorial College. Representing the entire student body, she traveled the state, speaking about the importance of volunteerism and mentoring high school students. She joined forces with the 5000 Role Models of Excellence program, led by Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, which aims to empower and lift up minority youth. For her efforts and volunteerism in the state, Florida's Governor Lawton Chiles recognized her contributions, and Mayor Robert Ingram of Opa Locka proclaimed "Teri Helenese Day" in her honor on November 13, 1993.
After graduation from the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management, Ms. Helenese was appointed to the position of USVI Governor Roy Schneider's Representative in Washington, D.C. and later as Director of the USVI Legislature's Office of Public Affairs. At 23, she was the youngest member of the Schneider administration.
During this period, she was the keynote speaker at an event honoring the territory-wide winners of Future Business Leaders of America's (FBLA). In her speech, she encouraged students to work for something more lasting than money and to give back to the islands. FBLA is the largest and oldest organization operating in the schools to attract students to careers in business.
Leadership, teamwork, business savvy, community service, and the respect of her peers: all of these elements took root and ripened in the young Teri Helenese, where they came together to form the dynamic woman she is today.
Family and Community
Consistent with Ebony magazine's inclusion of Ms. Helenese on its list of the Top 25 Accomplished Women in 1997 and Cosmopolitan magazine's designation a year later as a Leader to Watch, she has since amassed significant achievements that positioned her for her new role as a member of Governor Ralph Northam's African American Advisory Board. The board was established to strengthen the relationship between the African American community and the state government through effective policymaking and community participation. In this position, she aims to improve diversity and inclusion in Virginia's public schools and to boost curriculum development in African American history.
She has also been leveraging her position as president of the Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) at Belmont Ridge Middle School in Loudoun County—her daughter's school—as well as her strong background in IT, human resources, and strategic communications, to improve diversity and inclusion in Virginia's schools statewide. She is a proud member of the Loudoun branch of the NAACP, an organization that has called out the need to deal with race and racism in the county's schools.
Ms. Helenese is married with two children, Gabrielle and Crystal DeAbreu. She continues to volunteer for Junior Achievement, the nation's largest organization dedicated to giving young people—especially minority youth—the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the 21st century economy.
In tracing the roots of her own success, she cites a high-quality education, a supportive family, and excellent mentorship at every step of the way.
"Teri is a brilliant and resourceful leader on our team, we count on her in Washington to keep us on pace and so far we are above the curve." – U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan, Jr.
"Teri was one of my first hires during the startup of Diageo's Captain Morgan Rum Distillery and we knew how important it was to hire someone locally to fill such a big role in Human Resources. Teri was instrumental in getting the Plant off to a great start." – Dan Kirby, Diageo's Captain Morgan Distillery Vice President (retired)
"The combination of Teri's creative side, analytical aptitude, and collaborative spirit made an indelible impact on our clients and our people." – Dan Helfrich, Deloitte Consulting Chairman and CEO
"Teri's tenure at two major consulting firms, coupled with her team leadership roles and as a mother of two young children has encouraged others to succeed in their own passion and career development." – Michael Lestingi, Deloitte Consulting Director
"As a program manager at Booz Allen Hamilton, Teri delivered high quality public-private partnership solutions to address the multi-disciplinary demands needed and she effectively integrated siloed business functions of Federal clients." – Kathleen Dyer, Booz Allen Hamilton, Principal (retired)
"I have seen Teri manage programs with multiple work streams, competing resource needs and deadlines, and she kept them all on track, on time and on budget. When she worked with me at International SOS, Teri took over the management of an immense program, moving the organization to a new Target Operating Model. She was able to quickly gain understanding of the work streams and get them on track ensuring the successful completion of every major milestone. She is able to work with people with many different viewpoints to bring them into consensus, and even inspire enthusiasm in order to achieve ambitious goals." – Joan Stack, International SOS, Senior Vice President (retired)
"Teri showed clear signs of promise at the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. Her professional achievements and the accolades she has received over the years is proof that discipline and hard work pays off. Teri makes GSPM very proud. She's a shining star!" – Ron Faucheux, The George Washington University, Graduate School of Political Management Professor and American Lawyer, Scholar, Non-Fiction Author and Political Consultant
"I am amazed at Teri's organizational skills and how she assimilates every application to which she has access. Without fail, she delivers on tasks ahead of established timelines while identifying the practical options as solutions. Her contributions to the final product or the desired outcomes are intricately woven into her extremely sharp analytical skills. Teri is a progressive thinker; and bold in her approach that reflects an unshaken foundation. Most notable though is her negotiation abilities which often yields bountiful results and a clear and identifiable path towards the success of the project. She is as engaging as she is thoughtful, considerate, and trustworthy." – Carol M. Burke, National Committee Woman, Democratic Party of the United States Virgin Islands
About Marquis Who's Who®
Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who's Who in America®, Marquis Who's Who® has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Today, Who's Who in America® remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis® now publishes many Who's Who titles, including Who's Who in America®, Who's Who in the World®, Who's Who in American Law®, Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare®, Who's Who in Science and Engineering®, and Who's Who in Asia®. Marquis® publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who's Who® website at www.marquiswhoswho.com.
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