Birch Horton Bittner & Cherot is pleased to announce that Leslie Wheelock has joined the firm as Of Counsel, focusing on Tribal Business and Community Development, 8(a) matters, Government Contracting, Telecommunications/Technology and related Tribal Federal Policy in its Washington, DC office.

Most recently Leslie served at the US Department of Agriculture as a Departmental Officer, Senior Advisor to the Secretary, and Director of the Office of Tribal Relations. During her term at USDA Leslie served as the principal advisor to the Secretary and other USDA executives on USDA policy, regulations and programs affecting American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes, tribal organizations and businesses, tribal colleges and universities tribal lands and tribal citizens. At USDA, Leslie worked closely with the Forest Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Rural Development agencies. Additionally, Leslie worked on Tribal priorities across other departments and agencies, covering key areas prioritized by Tribes nationwide, including self-determination, economic and infrastructure development, business and broadband support, education, employment development, housing, sacred places, climate change, energy, conservation and natural resources.

Ms. Wheelock previously served as Director of Economic Policy at the National Congress of American Indians. During her tenure at NCAI, she worked on a variety of economic development initiatives involving small business, financial literacy, rural infrastructure, access to capital, expansion of broadband to Indian Country and agriculture. She also previously served at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC as the Rights and Permissions Manager on the National Mall transition team and as a strategic planning consultant on cultural and intellectual property. Leslie currently serves on the National Council for the Museum as well as the board of directors for the Smithsonian Indian Museum in New York.

Prior to her move into public service, Leslie accumulated more than 20 years of executive legal and management experience in US and international corporate technology and telecommunications corporations. Her most recent corporate experience was as sector counsel for NANA Corporation’s government contracting businesses. Leslie’s corporate legal career has included leadership positions at IBM, MCI Telecommunications (including Concert Communications – MCI’s international joint venture with British Telecommunications) and Euronet Worldwide.

Leslie is a member of the bar in New York, Connecticut and Washington, DC as well as the US Court of International Trade and US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Ms. Wheelock earned both her JD from the Cornell Law School and MBA from the Johnson School of Graduate Management in 1984. Leslie’s undergraduate degree is from DePauw University. Ms. Wheelock was born and raised in Indiana, and her home and family are on the Oneida Reservation in Oneida, Wisconsin. Leslie is a member of the Oneida Nation.