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Diane Woodend Jones Address to Membership

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Diane Woodend Jones, Chair of the 2016-2018 WTS International Board, Address to Membership at the 2016 Annual Conference Business Meeting

This morning I have the honor of thanking our outgoing WTS International Chair for her outstanding service over the past two years, introducing our New International Board and highlighting some of our exciting, progressive, and inclusive future initiatives.

First, many thanks to Beverley Swaim-Staley for her dedication in leading our Board for the past two years.  Beverley’s unwavering focus on optimizing WTS programs, operations, and providing excellent service to the chapters has set a firm foundation for advancing the WTS mission and bringing us together as one WTS. The WTS International Board and staff will continue to build on these positive enhancements and will promote unity in our great organization so we are well-positioned to open doors for women to achieve their career aspirations in the Transportation Industry. Please join me in thanking Beverley for her service as she transitions to her role on the International Board as Past Chair.

Now, I would like to introduce you to our 2016-2018 WTSI Board. I believe I speak for all of us that we are thrilled to assume our roles in service to our chapters and membership with a focus on optimizing our effectiveness in improving the professional lives of women in transportation.  Please join me in welcoming our new board.

Vice Chair – Maggie Walsh

Secretary – Jannet Walker Ford

Treasurer – Stephanie Dawson

Immediate Past Chair – Beverley Swaim-Staley

Director – Michelle Caldwell

Director – Flora Castillo

Director - Paula Hammond

Director – Susan Martinovich

Director – Mike Schneider

Director – Lisa Thompson

As incoming chair, I am here this morning standing on the shoulders of giants. I am humbled by the visionaries who founded our organization based on their passion for creating a better future for women in our industry. I am also grateful to all the past and present International, regional, and chapter leaders, our CEO, and all the dedicated staff at International, and all of the members, public agencies, and corporate partners that support our organization and work tirelessly to advance our mission. 

Please indulge me as I take a few minutes to introduce myself by starting with WHY I am committed to promoting equity and equal access to opportunity for women. I have always been drawn to the synergy that is created when people from diverse cultures, gender, backgrounds, education, and interests are empowered to solve complex issues together. My passion is focused on making connections that span boundaries and add value. 

My core values are aligned with the mission of WTS, our humanitarian spirit and focus on helping each other, giving back to our community and paying it forward through the development of future leaders for our industry. I am drawn to service with you as part of WTS International because I recognize that women are clearly underrepresented and undervalued in our industry especially in leadership.  According to US census data, women represented about 30% of STEM professionals at the entry level in 1990 and that declined slightly to about 27% in 2011. The retention data has shown improvement since 1990. Then women represented approximately15% of the STEM workforce at age 50. In 2011, that percentage had risen to about 25%.   Progress is encouraging, but insufficient, when women are 50% of the population.  There is a lot of work to be done to be able to say we have achieved success. I am committed to promoting a positive culture for women in our industry and removing barriers to advancement. The WTS mission that we all serve to advance is paramount to the future of the industry in terms of providing equity and access to sustainable opportunities for women that will result in satisfying careers and appropriate representation at all levels.

I initially was inspired to pursue a leadership role with WTS International, to give back.  What I have found, is that you have all inspired me with your energy and dedication to this important cause and the culture of support for each other.   This Annual Conference is a perfect example of the celebration of our culture and ongoing success. A very special thanks to our WTS International office staff, our President and the Austin WTS Chapter for your excellent work in providing us with a tremendously rewarding conference. I thank all of you, and look forward to advancing our mission together.

The WTSI Board is focused on establishing the long-term vision and strategy for the association, establishing annual goals to support the strategy, and oversight of operations to ensure activities align with vision and strategies.  Our CEO and all of the International staff work closely with the Board to meet the annual goals.

An exciting and rewarding part of the new Board’s service will include working together in leading the development of the 2017-2021 WTS International Strategic Plan. Our commitment is that it will be an inclusive process engaging all of our stakeholders. I am hoping that many of you were able to participate in the outreach program that was launched at the conference. If not, there will be other opportunities.

Our goal is for this collaborative approach to help inform our planning as a board and enhance the relevancy of the Strategic Plan to the organization, and therefore, further unify us around a common vision.

Let’s get to know each other…Please reach out to me or the other Board members and keep the conversation going after the conference.  Let us know how to serve you better. We want to know your thoughts… What future we can create together? How can we connect better internally and externally to leverage our knowledge and make a difference? How can our strategy target and broaden the programs that are most beneficial to our members? What are the services and programs that are most important to you?

My commitment and focus as chair is to continue to connect us as an organization, to strengthen the many positive attributes of the organization and expand our influence to enhance our ability to accomplish our mission on a larger scale.  This means:

·  Building connections through collaboration, networking, mutual support, outreach, cross mentoring and cooperation;

·  Strengthen our effectiveness through enhancing and prioritizing benefits and programs, promoting operational efficiency, growing chapters and membership, fundraising, benchmarking and research, philanthropy through scholarships, and knowledge transfer and education.

·  Expand our influence through building partnerships with other industry associations, agencies, corporations, and universities.

We will endeavor to engage you through continued outreach to help define these and more possibilities together.

WTS is a catalyst to advance positive change for women in the transportation industry.  

-        There is power in our unified voices;

-        There is strength in our continued dedication, passion, and perseverance to accomplish our mission; and

-        Our collective vision will shape the future for women in the transportation industry.

 

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