Charles Yessaian

Charles Yessaian ’00 has a profound passion for history and extensive experience on Capitol Hill. A skeptical student, Charles was always encouraged by a particularly influential Lewis professor, Dr. Ewa Bacon of the History Department, to pick a career he particularly enjoyed to become more successful in life. Dr. Bacon always advised him that “to be good at what you do, you have to enjoy what you do.” Her inspirational words continued to guide him throughout his time at Lewis, and even beyond. 

After several years of unique work experience, Charles now serves as the Vice President of Government Affairs at JMH Group locations in both Washington, D.C. and Detroit, MI. This business consulting and government relations firm is dedicated to increasing and accelerating business opportunities for their clients and partners in executive level leadership of large systems integrators, military organizations, government relations firms, and other groups. Charles’ extensive professional experiences allow him to successfully interact at both congressional and administrative levels, manage client accounts, and run the day to day operations of the firms.

Throughout all of his personal and professional experiences, Charles always found himself captivated about the why behind certain events that have occurred and how they could have been different.

“Some people think the world is just in black and white,” says Charles. “It is so full of color that people tend to ignore, though. There are so many different factors that come into play that make this world dimensional. I always find it so interesting to discover the reasons why people, especially politicians, do the things they do.”

He has held various positions at both the federal and state levels of government, including previous positions as the Director of Government Relations at Strategic Federal Affairs in Washington DC, and as the Legislative Director for Congressman Joe Schwarz and oversaw daily operations in his Washington, D.C. office. Before that, Charles served in the office of Congressman Fred Upton as a Legislative Assistant where he was responsible for communicating with several committees and advising the Congressman on a handful of political issues. 

After attending Siena Heights University in Michigan for his first year of college, he was approached by the Lewis University baseball coach and offered him a scholarship. He accepted and transferred to Lewis, where he played baseball and studied history. He studied and earned minors in both political science and ethnic studies.

Charles is grateful for the skills he was able to obtain at Lewis University that helped shape him into the successful professional he is today.

“The small class size at Lewis University helped me focus and allowed me to grow as an individual,” says Charles. “In the long run, that really helped me speak confidently in front of large groups of people.”

He also reflects on the warm, welcoming community atmosphere at Lewis that “made him feel right at home.”

“I was not Catholic, but everyone on campus was accepting of me and made me feel very comfortable,” Charles added.

Charles went on to attend Johns Hopkins University and earned a Master of Arts in Government. He is happily married to his wife Sema and is very proud of his four year-old daughter Melanie Rose. He encourages students to do exactly what Dr. Bacon encouraged him to do: something that you love. If you love it, you will indeed be great at it.

July 2016

<< Back to decade


Did you know we have more than 40,000 alumni worldwide? Read feature stories and news items online about some of our most notable alumni. Read more.