Senior Vice President, Communications & Public Affairs
Tanya Wheeless brings a decade of experience as a corporate lawyer, organizational spokeswoman and lobbyist to her role as senior vice president of communications and public affairs. Wheeless, who joined the club in 2011, is responsible for developing and integrating external and internal communications regarding the team’s business and basketball operations, as well as community and philanthropic initiatives. She also directs the organization’s governmental and public affairs.
An Arizona native, Wheeless joined the Suns following six years as president and chief executive officer of the Arizona Bankers Association, a 100-year-old association that represents banks throughout Arizona. The youngest state banking association executive in the country during her tenure, she served as the group’s primary lobbyist on both the federal and state levels, as well as its media spokeswoman, commenting in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, Fortune Magazine, the Arizona Republic and Phoenix Business Journal. Wheeless was named by Arizona Woman Magazine as one of “20 Women Who Will Change the Way We Live, Work and Play by the Year 2020.”
A magna cum laude graduate of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU in 2001, Wheeless practiced in the Phoenix office of Washington, DC-based Steptoe & Johnson, lobbying on behalf of a varied client base that included the Motion Picture Industry of America, the American Insurance Association and American Express.
Wheeless and her husband, Steve, reside in Tempe with their three children, Audrey, Ross and Jake, and dog, Maverick. Among her community involvements, she is currently a court-appointed special advocate for children in foster care and she serves on the boards of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Phoenix Suns Charities.