FOR GINGER GHERARDI, ACCESS THROUGH WTS PROVES THE WORTH OF A NOTION
For Ventura County Transportation Commissioner Ginger Gherardi, being WTS-LA president from 1986-1988 provided a perfect stage for professional advancement. “The great advantage of being chapter president was the opportunity to meet people and develop contacts on a personal level throughout Los Angeles, the Los Angeles region, and later on a national level, when I was WTS National president. That was an enormous personal and professional opportunity and it gave me a broad appreciation for the reach of WTS.”
Gherardi led Ventura County Transportation Commission as Executive Director for nearly 20 years, and was responsible for transportation planning and implementation in Ventura County. Her mandate included highways, roads, public transit, paratransit, rail service (Metrolink), airport land-use, callboxes, and new technology. After retiring from VCTC, Gherardi was elected to the Santa Paula City Council and now represents the City as a Commissioner on the Ventura County Transportation Commission. To read about Commissioner Gherardi's career and the reach WTS provided to her, click here.
THE SECRET TO NETWORKING: TO THINE OWN SELF BE SHREWD
There are many schools of thought about networking. Some experts recommend leaving your comfort zone and forcing interaction. Liz Levin thinks differently. “Networking to-do lists often contain things like: go around the entire room, meet lots of people, practice and deliver your elevator speech, drop important names, and hand out business cards. And when we ask, ‘Who are the good networkers?’ People most often say, ‘Salespeople—people who are extroverted, smooth, slick, and smiley. Someone who has a strong pitch.’ But many people, particularly women, stop and think, ‘That’s not who I am. That’s not how I connect with people. That’s not how I build comfortable relationships.’ And therein lies the source of discomfort many people feel about networking. It doesn’t have to be that way,” Levin says. “In fact, I think people are less powerful when they network in someone else’s style. The strength is in developing your own style and perfecting that.” To read more of Levin's advice, click here.
ERIC SHEN: FINDING YOUR CAREER AND YOURSELF
Eric Shen has a very long title and great responsibility with the United States Department of Transportation. Shen serves as Director, Southern California Gateway Office, Maritime Administration (MARAD) of the United States Department of Transportation. Based in Long Beach, his area of responsibility encompasses Arizona and Southern California. He works closely with four deep-water ports, namely Hueneme, Long Beach, Los Angeles, and San Diego. The nontraditional path he took to reach his current position offers a model for engineers and planners looking to build a career in transportation. In our new member profile of Shen, who serves as a Director at Large on the WTS Los Angeles board, he serves up thoughtful career advice. “There is no single career path that defines who we are,” he says. “Be adventurous, challenge ourselves, and leave our own trails. Knowing that we won’t succeed each and every time, we can always pick ourselves up when we fail and then regroup.” To read more, click here.
REDEFINING THE ANNUAL REPORT: WTS-LA'S SHOWPIECE DOCUMENT
WTS-LA Communications Chair and ICF International Senior Proposal Manager Jeff Markwardt believes many, if not most, annual reports are dull. They offer little more than a rhetorical year in review. But the 2014 WTS-LA Annual Report defies convention by providing chapter membership with a beautiful, engaging document filled with substantive, useful information. It is a document chapter members can both use and be proud of.
“We wanted to provide WTS-LA members with a comprehensive overview of their accomplishments for the year," says Markwardt. "And we wanted to give it to them in a form that they would be proud of, a document that they can enthusiastically show their boss, their spouse, or someone they think might be interested in joining the chapter. We went to great lengths and took great care to make sure that this would be an engaging document that looks beautiful and conveys effectively exactly what WTS-LA is about. And I think we achieved that.” To read our annual report, click here.
Photography in this section © John Livzey.