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2021 In-House Counsel Awards: Charlene Wilson

Assistant General Counsel, Franchise Operations

H&R Block

Charlene Wilson“I enjoy getting to know the business and being more proactive to mitigate risks,” says Charlene Wilson. “I like the opportunities I have to see the entire business and to work with senior leaders and management at all levels.”

Wilson supervises and manages the legal franchise support team, including one attorney and three senior paralegals, for H&R Block. This part of the business generates more than $225 million in annual revenues for the company. She is entrusted to protect the company’s legal interests in this critical area. An excellent leader, she has a proven ability to lead high performing teams.

“Normally, the last thing anyone wants to do is go to the legal department,” she says. “I often hear our leaders say, ‘We haven’t thought about that. Ask Charlene.’ I’m happy to be known as the go-to resource who supports our teams.”

Wilson appreciates the opportunities she has to work with a major corporation while also working with small business owners in the franchised operations. And ultimately, she serves the tax preparation clients who are the purpose for this business.

During her tenure as assistant general counsel, Wilson has seen her role evolve and broaden to include more involvement as a business partner for the business. She is now at the forefront of how her company achieves business goals in terms of growth and increased revenue and profits.

Her law career began soon after she received her JD from the University of Kansas School of Law. She and her husband asked each other, “If you could live anywhere, where would you want to live?” They moved to San Diego, and she became a labor and employment attorney. After six years, they returned to the Midwest. She has been with H&R Block for the past 10 years.

During these pandemic times, Wilson has found productive and challenging ways to use the time she would normally have spent commuting. One of her recent achievements is completing a mini-MBA program. She has also spent more time with her family, enjoying the outdoors and going wherever they can find warm weather and water.

A people person at heart, Wilson makes every effort to get to know others on a personal level. She is involved in mentoring women employees through the H&R Block Women’s Network and serves as a board member for the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Mid-America Chapter.

Wilson has learned from some excellent mentors throughout her career. Some of the best advice she ever received is not to be afraid to challenge herself and to make mistakes. “I learn and grow and keep going, she says. “Achieving my goals is so rewarding.”