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WTS International Chapter Leadership Training

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Written by Lindsey Barbee, Greenman-Pedersen, Inc.

Five of WTS-Boston Leadership, Rebecca Williamson, WTS-Boston Vice President from GPI, Kristine Gorman, WTS-Boston Secretary from STV, Jessica Kenny, WTS-Boston Director-at-Large from MassDOT, Susie Bailey, WTS-Boston Director-at-Large from HDR and I, WTS-Boston Programs Committee Co-Chair, attended WTS International Chapter Leadership Training in St. Louis, MO on November 18th and 19th.  Our group arrived on November 17th for the opening reception at the National Blues Museum.  There were 120 chapter leaders in attendance at the training. 

During the training, WTS-Boston Leadership attended general sessions as well as several “breakout” sessions on topics related to leadership and Board roles, chapter websites and social media, WTS Foundation, chapter membership growth, scholarships, and Transportation YOU.  One of the notable general sessions included a presentation by WTS International Board Director Susan Martinovich.  Ms. Martinovich discussed career development, providing inspirational mementos and reminding leaders to “Be YOUrself, Be Visible, Be Involved, and Be Part of the Solution.” 

chleader2On Friday November 18th, WTS-Boston Leadership presented at a breakout session titled “Celebrating WTS-Boston’s 35th Anniversary through Partnerships and Collaboration”.  The presentation captured the huge successes realized by the chapter in 2015, when the 35th anniversary milestone was achieved.  Early in 2015, WTS-Boston put a call out for volunteers to help memorialize and capitalize on this milestone.  This call for volunteers gathered and re-engaged past leaders, current leaders, Advisory Board members, committee members, non-members and sponsor firms together to form a diverse committee.  The committee successfully launched the “MY WTS” campaign to raise awareness and engage the WTS community to share what WTS means to them.   The “MY WTS” idea came from Christine Breen, Diversity Committee Co-Chair from Nitsch Engineering.  WTS-Boston was recognized through the production of videos (courtesy of HDR) and through use of social media to spread our message, including a feature on “Chronicle,” a local TV network program.  By partnering with our sponsors and engaging the WTS-Boston community, our chapter was able to grow our membership, thank and recognize all of our volunteers, recruit new volunteers, raise money for scholarships and certainly raise awareness about WTS-Boston and our mission of advancing women in transportation.  The session was very well attended and attendees had numerous questions as they begin to prepare for milestones in their own chapters.

The WTS-Boston Leadership in attendance agreed that one of the most beneficial sessions of the training program was the roundtable discussion held on Saturday morning.  The session gave leaders from various chapters around the country the opportunity to discuss chapter operations and share ideas related to membership growth, diversity, leadership roles and succession, fundraising, and chapter events.  The interaction allowed attendees to get to know one other and their chapters, while networking and creating an open dialogue between chapter leaders.

Although the Leadership representing the Boston chapter at training spent most of our time learning, networking, and engaging with other chapter leaders, we also had the opportunity for sightseeing and fun in St. Louis.  In the afternoons on Thursday and Saturday, we made our way around the city, taking in a Riverboat tour on the Mississippi River, riding a tram 630-feet to the top of the Gateway Arch for city views, visiting the National Blues Museum, enjoying a traditional Barbecue lunch and live music, and touring the Budweiser brewery. 

WTS provides tremendous professional development and networking opportunities to all its members and Chapter Leadership Training allowed the attendees to take full advantage of that.  It certainly allowed WTS-Boston chapter leaders to spend time getting to know each other, as well as network with transportation professionals from across the country.  The knowledge gained and connections made at Chapter Leadership Training will benefit the Boston Chapter as it moves into its fourth decade!

 

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