Wendi Strong, member of APCO’s International Advisory Council, recently retired from USAA, a Fortune 200 financial services company serving more than millions of current and former members of the military and their families. From 2000 to 2016, Wendi served as executive vice president for enterprise affairs, chief communications officer and a member of the senior leadership team directing the strategy and operations of the company.
During her tenure, Wendi was responsible for brand and reputation management, public relations, military affairs, employee engagement, marketing communications, social media, and corporate responsibility and philanthropy. As chief steward of USAA’s reputation, Wendi led a companywide strategic initiative to define and leverage USAA’s corporate character, connecting USAA employees with each other, the company’s members, the military community, and other stakeholders. Today, USAA is internationally recognized as one of the top global brands, regularly appearing on the leadership lists of Fortune’s Most Admired Companies.
Prior to USAA, Wendi served in senior communications leadership positions at Associates First Capital Corporation, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, and Rosewood Hotels and Resorts. She started her career at public relations agencies Holt & Associates and Hill+Knowlton.
Wendi is a trustee of the Institute for Public Relations and is a member and past board member of the Arthur W. Page Society, the premier global organization for chief communications officers. She serves on the advisory board of the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas. Her past board service includes the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio, the San Antonio River Foundation, and the University of Texas at San Antonio Cancer Center Council. In 2017, Wendi received the Alexander Hamilton Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Public Relations from the Institute for Public Relations. She also is a recipient of the Jack Koten Award for mentoring from the Plank Center at the University of Alabama. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology and master’s degree in journalism/communications from the University of North Texas.