USDOT Welcomes Women in Leadership Program

Recently, the 70 women participating in the 2016 Leadership Program of WTS International, the association for the advancement of women in transportation, had the opportunity to hear from Deputy Secretary of Transportation Victor Mendez and a panel of five senior-level female executives at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Deputy Secretary Mendez applauded the women in the room for making a difference in the transportation industry. He spoke about how women are under-represented in the in the transportation industry and more needs to be done to attract, retain and advance women to be a part of it.

The Deputy Secretary addressed the issue of how technology is impacting the industry and highlighted the need for qualified, skilled professionals in this changing market. As a strong advocate of having diversity in transportation roles, Deputy Secretary Mendez stressed the importance of encouraging the new generation of students to pursue careers in transportation and having women in leading positions.

Deputy Secretary Mendez also recognized the importance of having associations like WTS and the valuable programs it offers to both seasoned professionals and young women interested in transportation.

Following Deputy Secretary Mendez’s warm welcome, the panel engaged in a discussion about their journey to a rewarding career in transportation. Lauren K. Brand, Associate Administrator for Intermodal Systems Development at the Maritime Administration, moderated the panel, and was joined by:

  • Daphne Jefferson, Deputy Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration;
  • Ellen Partridge, the Federal Transit Administration’s Chief Counsel;
  • Rebecca Pennington, Chief Financial Officer for the Federal Railroad Administration; and
  • Gloria Shepherd,  Associate Administrator for Planning, Environment, and Realty at the Federal Highway Administration.

Topics of discussion included the importance of work/life balance, honing in on your strengths, taking risks and overcoming obstacles in your path to success, just to name a few.

Jennifer Lacke, WTS Mid-Career Participant and Inside Sales Manager at CH2M summed up the program nicely, saying: “This was an amazing experience to hear first-hand from successful female leaders who have gone before us. The transportation industry has limitless opportunities, and women should feel empowered to pursue them.”