In April 1994, Ebony magazine dubbed Teri Helenese a Rising Star. In 1997, the same magazine included her on its list of the Top 25 Accomplished Women. And in 1998, she was recognized by another well-known magazine, Cosmopolitan, as a Leader to Watch. In less than two decades, Teri Helenese has met and even surpassed these expectations. Her career has spanned executive functions across the private and public sectors. In every setting—from St. Croix to Washington, D.C. and from the local to global enterprise—she has made lasting, impactful change and she continues to be a rain-maker and a changer-maker today.
Teri Helenese is a Big Four IT Consultant in Washington, DC. She is a leader with a focus on global human resources, strategic communications, and change management. As an IT consultant for over 15 years, Teri has counseled Fortune 500 clients across numerous industries, not-for-profit organizations including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and government agencies in the areas of culture evolution, behavior change, leader alignment and stakeholder engagement in support of strategic and complex business transformations. Teri has led the people aspects of numerous large-scale organizational transformation engagements, including managing the communications team that implemented mission-and-function-based governance strategies at the Department of Homeland Security in the largest merger since 1949.
During her tenure at Deloitte Consulting, in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, Teri was responsible for a major change that would enhance the security of U.S. ports. Under the new Maritime Transportation Security Act, members of the Coast Guard, truck drivers, mariners, and other individuals requiring access to secure areas would need Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), a new government credential. It was a task that took diplomacy and plenty of people savvy: Teri was tapped as the TWIC Ambassador and traveled to 37 states and communicated with 130 maritime ports, where she briefed major employers, unions, Coast Guard officials, and other organizations and individuals on the new credentialing process mandated by Congress—always meeting resistance with a positive attitude regarding the need for uniting behind a common goal: the security of our ports. Teri successfully moved resistors and detractors to supporters and champions of the TWIC Congressional Mandate. As of May 2014, there were 2,999,058 people enrolled in the TWIC Program.
Teri’s breadth of knowledge and spirit kept putting her at the right place at the right time. Again, after the 9/11/01 disaster, she was called upon to integrate Deloitte’s information infrastructure at the birth of a new U.S. government entity: the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Composed of 22 agencies, each with its own modus operandi, the newly formed DHS had more than 180,000 employees, and annual IT budget of $4 billion, and a complex IT infrastructure consisting of many overlapping and incompatible technologies. An unprecedented transformation was at hand—and Teri was a key member of the team charged with effecting that transformation. To integrate and share such a massive amount of information meant that the walls between formerly separate agencies had to be broken down. Called the “silo smasher” by executives and colleagues alike, Teri came of age as a change agent.
At Booz Allen Hamilton, Teri was able to bring her PR and marketing skills to bear in building global awareness of the company’s IT Organizational Systems products. She also helped pioneer Booz Allen Hamilton’s early version of electronic health records—yet another example of Teri’s penchant for innovation and organizational change.
In 2008, Teri was tapped as part of a Reverse the Brain Drain Program and was relocated to her native St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Before returning to Washington, DC, to work with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Teri worked as Diageo USVI’s Director of Human Resources and the Captain Morgan Visitors Center Brand Manager. As the HR Director, she successfully managed four key areas: Talent Agenda, Total Rewards, Employee Relations, and Learning & Development. Working in tandem with Benton Construction, Teri was responsible for the design and build phases of the $5 million Captain Morgan Visitors Center. She successfully launched the Visitors Center and the Brand in April 2012.
Early in her career Teri served as the US Virgin Islands Governor’s Representative and Director of the Office of the Governor in Washington, DC, and she also worked as the Director of Public Affairs in the 25th Legislature. Teri Helenese holds a B.A. degree in political science and public administration from Florida Memorial College, and a double M.A. degree in statistics and communications from the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. She is a Project Management Professional PMP® and is qualified to administer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Instrument – MBTI Qualified. Helenese also holds professional certifications from Georgetown University, PROSCI and IAP2 in communications and change management.