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Employee Spotlight – Charley Estes

May 21, 2024

Get to know Charley Estes! Charley is a Lead Consultant on a Department of Defense contract and Chair of the WBD Mentorship Committee. He works in Acquisitions Support, focusing on pre-award contract package development, quality control of security documents, and acquisitions training for the team and client.

What does your typical workday look like?

It’s hard to define a typical day, but I usually start by logging on around 8:30 AM and make my first cup of coffee. That allows time for my computer to warm up, my emails to load, and me to transform into a real person. Once that’s all said and done, it’s anyone’s guess what the day will look like. Some days that means minimal emails and I can knock out my urgent actions before noon. Then it’s sifting through the language in a Performance Work Statement (PWS), developing a process map, or trying to build out training decks for our team and clients.

Other days, that means fires and urgent actions, and I’m lucky if I get to eat lunch by 3 p.m. Most days, though, are an unpredictable blend of the two. But hey, keeps me on my toes.

What has the Mentorship Committee taught you, and how does that make you a better consultant?

At first, I was only serving on the Committee—helping generate ideas and content, while leading a few of the roundtables. In that role I saw the need for community and the program’s potential to grow and fulfill that need. When our previous chair stepped down, I took over the position. We’re still working to improve the program, but the goal will always be to facilitate the community and culture of WBD, supporting each other personally and professionally. I believe that’s what mentorship is really about.

How does that make me a better consultant? I think identifying the need for more support and understanding has helped me be more patient with clients and our own teams. It has also helped me improve at identifying gaps in knowledge on the client side. I have built process maps, checklists, and training decks—anything to encourage not just learning, but real engagement with the material and processes.

What three skills are essential to fulfill your role?

1. Patience
2. Critical thinking/problem solving
3. Interpersonal skills

Major emphasis on that last one, for our contract and consulting in general.

What do you like best about working at WBD?

My team. There could be chaos all around us (and there often is), but I work with a great group of people. They make the job that much easier with their support, shared laughs, and good vibes. Oh, and the baked goods—can’t forget about the baked goodies we all take turns bringing into the office.

What has been your most memorable moment at WBD so far?

Early in my time at WBD, I was training a new employee who was doing an absolutely stellar job. At the company holiday party, she won a Cerdo de Oro Award for all her hard work and accomplishments. It was a small thing, but I still remember that moment. To know I played even a small part in helping her succeed and really step into her own nearly brought tears to my eyes.

It was the first time I experienced something like that—my first time being any sort of mentor. Thinking back on it, that’s probably where my interest in mentorship started.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Outside of work, my partner and I love to host people for dinners, watch parties, and game nights. I love bringing people together, and I guess it goes right back to my hyperfocus around community! I also play video games (maybe too much) and do some writing (maybe too little).

Lately, I’ve been on a big home improvement kick—currently turning our sunroom into a “cozy, tavern-esque space.” I’ll let you know what that means when I figure it out myself.

What inspires you?

I find inspiration in the courage of people living authentically, even in a world that tries to limit them. Sometimes, the act of resistance is just being true to oneself—loud, proud, and unapologetic. As a transgender man, it’s important to see that, and it’s important to me that I do the same.

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