The Board of Directors provides strategic guidance to the President and CEO and WTS International staff, based on the mission and vision of the organization.
Each member of WTS International's Board of Directors is dedicated to serve for two years in their position. It is with the volunteer efforts of these outstanding Directors, and Chapter Board members serving in leadership roles for 67 WTS Chapters worldwide, that women are finding opportunity and recognition in the transportation industry.
Senior Vice President & Principal Director - National Transit & Rail Business Line Leader, WSP USA
Jannet Walker-Ford is a nationally recognized transportation industry executive with WSP USA, a leading engineering and professional services consultancy. Walker-Ford has more than two decades of diverse experience in technology, mobility and transportation systems. In her role with WSP, she serves as the senior vice president & national transit and rail leader and is responsible for leading and growing the firm’s business in the national transit and rail markets and establishing strategies that will position WSP for major advisory, planning, design, program management and construction management assignments.
Prior to this appointment, Walker-Ford served as a senior vice president for the Americas transit market sector at an international engineering services firm where she was responsible for the leadership and strategic direction of the transit market in North and South America, and previously as a vice president of government relations for a technology firm where she provided transportation focused, executive-level bi-partisan collaboration with elected officials at all levels of government, as well as trade industry associations and non-profit organizations. She has served in an executive leadership capacity on programs and projects for large transit and transportation agencies across the U.S., including a public-private partnership for the Massachusetts Bay Area Transportation Agency and a multi-billion-dollar capacity enhancement program for the Philadelphia International Airport. During her tenure with the public sector, Walker-Ford served as the Deputy General Manager/Deputy CEO as well as the Chief Information Officer at the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, where she led the implementation of the regional smart card fare collection system, the first of its kind in north America.
Walker Ford is a graduate of the University of Memphis with a bachelor’s degree in management information systems, Central Michigan University with a master’s degree in business administration. She has completed significant coursework towards her doctorate in information systems from Nova Southeastern University.
She serves on numerous diverse boards including as board chair of the American Public Transportation Foundation, is a board member of the American Public Transportation Association, ENO Transportation Advisory Board, a member of the Jacksonville University Board of Trustees, and is chair of the Greater Jacksonville Cultural Council Board. Additionally, Walker-Ford serves as the Vice Chair of ITS America’s Sustainability & Resiliency Committee and is also a member of the IT Senior Management Forum and the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials and is an Alumnus of Leadership APTA and the ENO Executive Leadership program.
Walker-Ford has received numerous awards throughout her career, including the 2019 Women of Color STEM Technology All-Star Award, the 2019 Miami Women Who Rock’s National Business Achievement Award, the 2019 Transportation Diversity Council/Massachusetts Institute of Technology honoree for Services to the Transportation Industry, and a 2019 Conference of Minority Transportation Officials’ Women Who Move the Nation honoree.
Founder and CEO, Lumenor Consulting Group
Bridgette Beato is the founder and CEO of Lumenor Consulting Group. She started the business in 2007 and has been providing consulting services to the transportation industry for 15 years.
She has provided management consulting to public transit agencies around the country in technology, change management, asset management, and business process transformation.
She is active in various industry organizations including APTA, COMTO, WTS and others. She serves on the WTS International Board of Directors, is Co-Chair of the APTA Systems Engineering Committee, and is an Officer of the Research and Technology Committee.
Immediate Past Chair
Senior Vice President, National Transportation Market Leader, WSP USA
Paula Hammond is the National Transportation Market Leader for WSP USA, in Seattle, WA. Paula is responsible for representing the company as an industry leader in the emerging transportation practice areas of: funding and finance, organizational leadership, transportation resilience, performance management and asset management, pricing and managed lanes, and transportation system operations. Paula dedicated her 34-year public service career to improving transportation systems in Washington state, and served as WA Secretary of Transportation from 2007-2013. She has been a national figure on transportation issues, with leadership on numerous AASHTO committees, TRB Executive Board, ARTBA Board of Trustees and WTS International Board of Directors. Ms. Hammond is a graduate of Oregon State University (OSU) with a B.S. degree in civil engineering. She is a registered professional engineer in the State of Washington.
Paula has been a member of the WTS Puget Sound Chapter for over 20 years. While at WSDOT, she was instrumental in supporting the Chapter’s technical programs on state DOT services and projects, and participates in the mentorship of WTS members and students. She has been a member of the WTS International Board since 2014, and was inducted as Board Vice-Chair in May, 2018. As a Board member, Paula has led the Region Council Liaison committee, and served as the Northwest Region Council Board Liaison. She has actively supported the Board’s work to establish an updated strategic direction for the organization, and looks forward to successful efforts to grow WTS membership and partnerships within the industry to continue to advance women in transportation leadership.
Executive Director, Regional Transportation Authority
Leanne Redden is Executive Director of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). The agency manages an annual regional transit operating budget of approximately $3 billion with assets of approximately $160 billion and a more than $8.3 billion five-year capital program.
Under Redden’s leadership, the RTA created Invest in Transit, the regional transit strategic plan covering 2018-2023 that makes the case for the region’s capital funding needs. Redden was pivotal in regional advocacy efforts that culminated with the 2019 passage of Rebuild Illinois, the largest capital bill in Illinois history.
Before joining the RTA, Redden was Chief of Planning for the Illinois Tollway and Director of Transportation for the Village of Schaumburg. She was a key player in Illinois’ 2008 Transit Funding and Governance Reform Legislation. Redden was named 2015 “Woman of the Year” by the Chicago chapter of Women in Transportation and is a Conference of Minority Transportation Officials 2016 “Woman Who Moves the Nation.”
In 2021, she was appointed as one of two "U.S. Ambassadors" to the Policy Board that governs UITP (Union Internationale des Transports Publics, or the International Association of Public Transport), founded in 1885 to advocate for sustainable urban mobility.
Redden can be followed on Twitter @LReddenRTA.
Associate Vice President and Senior Project Manager, HNTB
Alexa Gangemi is Associate Vice President and Senior Project Manager at HNTB, where she works with different teams to deliver critical transportation infrastructure projects. Her expertise is focused on helping organizations identify, select, and implement technology to improve their operations and processes, with a particular focus on fare payment systems. Alexa has experience ranging from initial planning and strategy development through systems implementation, project management, and operations for transportation agencies around the country. Alexa has a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Cornell University and a master’s in Engineering from MIT.
Alexa has been an active member of WTS for more than 15 years, serving in various committee and board roles for the Greater New York Chapter, including President from 2018-2019. She has also served in roles supporting WTS national conferences. Alexa is looking forward to working with the WTS International Board as Treasurer to continue to forward the mission and vision of WTS.
Transportation Program Management Director, HDR
As HDR’s Transportation Program Management Director, Erin N. Slayton, Vice President, has extensive experience in alternative delivery, business development and cross-sector engagement. Her 21-year tenure in the industry has given her the opportunity to establish trust and respect that creates healthy professional environments among her client and project teams. Erin leverages HDR’s wide range of services, coordinating staffing and service excellence. Her experience working on complex, multi-billion-dollar programs across North America allows her to guide teams on the delivery of holistic, value-added services throughout the project lifecycle.
A licensed Professional Engineer in California, Washington, Arizona and South Carolina, Erin is also a Designated Design-Build Professional®, an Envision™ Sustainability Professional and Vice Chair of the Civil Engineering Advisory Board at The Citadel. Erin is often sought out by leaders across the industry for her insight, knowledge and participation in areas around inclusion, diversity and equity. She chairs HDR’s Transportation Inclusion Diversity and Equity Committee and recently held regional leadership positions in the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).
Erin is an active member of the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS), most recently serving as a Director-At-Large for the WTS-SC chapter, where she is a proud chartering member.
CEO, Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC)
As Chief Executive Officer of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC), M.J. Maynard leads the only agency nationwide that is responsible for a region’s public transit system, traffic management, roadway and construction funding, and transportation and overall planning efforts – all under one roof.
M.J. joined the RTC in February 2007 and served as Assistant General Manager of Administrative Services and later as Deputy Chief Executive Officer prior to leading the agency. During her 14-year history with agency, she has launched several groundbreaking initiatives including on-demand mobility options; the rideRTC smartphone app; and a massive transit safety expansion project encompassing the replacement of more than 3,000 bus shelters and amenities.
M.J. worked in Las Vegas’ hospitality industry for more than 25 years prior to joining the RTC, where she served as Vice President for Hard Rock Hotel and Casino for more than a decade. In this role, she oversaw a culturally diverse staff of more than 750 employees and was responsible for managing a multi-million-dollar annual budget that included capital expansion projects.
Considered a national leader in public transit management, M.J. was recently appointed to serve on the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) 25-member executive committee; has served on its Board of Directors since 2018; and is a member of its CEO Coordinating Council. APTA leads efforts to ensure public transportation is available and accessible in communities around the country. M.J. is also a board member of the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus Council, an organization that works to protect the HFC bus market via legislation and regulation.
Active in the community, M.J. serves on a number of nonprofit boards, including Three Square, a community food bank serving four counties in Southern Nevada; FirstMed Health and Wellness Center, one of only two federally qualified public health centers in the region; and the Advisory Council of the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, also known as the Mob Museum.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
President and CEO, IndyGo
Inez Evans is the first Black woman to ever serve as President and CEO of IndyGo, making her one of only nine black women in the country to serve as the CEO of a transit agency. She was hired in 2019 and has more than 30 years’ experience in the transit industry. At IndyGo, Inez leads nearly 800 employees, oversees a fleet of more than 200 vehicles and manages a total budget of more than $210 million.
In addition to Inez ushering in the agency’s first all-electric bus rapid transit (BRT) line, the Red Line, she is currently championing the launch of IndyGo’s second BRT route, the Purple Line. Her efforts with the Purple Line project will bring increased transit service and infrastructure that symbolizes the beginning of new opportunity and growth for an entire community. During Evans’ time at IndyGo, she has also recruited emerging leaders to the executive team, maintained and innovated service during a pandemic, developed and executed the purchase of a new headquarters location to meet the agency’s growing needs, put new, environmentally friendly vehicles into service, enforced vendor accountability, enhanced paratransit service and championed diversity and workforce development within the agency.
Inez came from humble beginnings, starting her career as a customer service representative in a transit agency call center. She climbed her way up the corporate ladder, working in every facet of the business while also earning a bachelors, masters and doctorate degree in business management and leadership.
Evans serves on the Indianapolis Arts Council Board of Directors and on its diversity and inclusion committee. She is also chair for the American Heart Association’s Circle for Red Committee and was appointed by Mayor Hogsett to the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee Board of Directors in 2019. She is a board member of the Keep Indianapolis Beautiful and Arts Council of Indianapolis board. Additionally, she serves as a board member for American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and committee member for Leadership APTA, a program that grooms transit professionals aspiring to become leaders within their organizations.
Inez is dedicated to the IndyGo mission to connect our community to critical opportunities through safe, reliable and accessible mobility experiences and is a true trailblazer here in Indianapolis.
Executive Director, 128 Business Council
CEO, Port Authority of Allegheny County
Senior Vice President and National Transit Director, Rohadfox Construction Control Services Corporation
Helen Tift McSwain is Senior Vice President and National Transit Director at Rohadfox Construction Control Services Corporation where she directs the national strategy and transit operations for the 45-year-old minority and woman-owned firm.
Ms. McSwain’s transit career spans across public and private sectors. Prior to joining Rohadfox, she served as Vice President and Regional Director at Atkins North America for over a decade. Her public agency career includes executive leadership at the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (Atlanta) and METRA Commuter Railroad (Chicago). Her commitment to mentoring is exemplified through her legacy of volunteer leadership to WTS International Transportation You Program, National Chair; COMTO City Internship and Youth Symposium; APTA Emerging Leaders Program, Georgia Supplier Diversity Corporate Mentor Protégé Program, FIRST Robotics; Dr. Lonnie Johnson STEM Activity Center; and Atkins Global STEM Outreach. She is a recipient of the ATKINS Global Achievement Award for her efforts promoting STEM awareness for girls in underserved communities.
Ms. McSwain civic leadership engagement includes the Board of Trustees for Clayton State University (Atlanta, Ga), Clayton Economic Development Board of Directors; Atlanta Regional Commission LINK Delegate, Atlanta Executive Women’s Build Habitat for Humanity, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Throughout her career she has served in local and national leadership roles supporting the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS), Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO), American Public Transit Association (APTA), and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).
Executive Director, Mineta Transportation Institute
Karen Philbrick is the executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) at San José State University, a position she has held since 2014. MTI leads two competitively selected multi-university consortia: the California State University Transportation Consortium (CSUTC) which unifies the surface transportation research and workforce development efforts of the 23-campus California State University system and the Mineta Consortium for Transportation Mobility (MCTM). MCTM includes four outstanding institutions that represent and support the geographical, cultural, racial, and socioeconomic diversity that makes our nation strong: Howard University; Navajo Technical University; San José State University; and the University of North Carolina Charlotte.
Prior to joining MTI, Dr. Philbrick shaped the field of transportation in a variety of roles, including as assistant director of the National Center for Intermodal Transportation at the University of Denver. She has been appointed three times by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation (Secretaries LaHood, Foxx, and Chao, respectively) to sit on the USDOT Transit Advisory Committee for Safety (TRACS) where she chaired the FTA Administrator’s Tasking 14-02 which identified key elements of a safety management system approach to fatigue management.
Long committed to the USDOT University Transportation Center program, she was elected to serve the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) in several roles, including President in 2018-19. Dr. Philbrick also has the privilege of serving as the President of the Research and Education Division (RED) of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), where she also sits on the ARTBA Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Dr. Phillbrick is part of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee on “Transit Safety and Security” (AP080) and “Passenger Rail Transportation” (AR010), where she also serves as the research task force lead. She currently co-chairs the TCRP F-29 panel “Mental Health, Wellness, and Resilience for Transit System Workers”.
With an eye toward seamless and equitable transportation for all, Karen also serves the industry through the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Elected to the APTA board in November 2021, she also serves as a Director for the APTA High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Committee and recently served as an appointed research advisor to the APTA Mobility Recovery and Restoration Task Force.
Committed to recruiting, retaining, and advancing women in the transportation industry, Dr. Philbrick also serves on the Women in Transportation Seminar (WTS) Foundation Board as Secretary after having served two terms as a Director. She contributes to her community through the Rotary Club of San José, where she has served as a board member, and where she will be elevated to President July 1, 2023.
A frequently invited keynote speaker, Dr. Philbrick has also delivered federal congressional briefings and invited testimony to the California Senate Transportation Committee and the Assembly Transportation Committee. Her other intellectual contributions include a bimonthly column on transportation in the San Jose Spotlight, the recipient of the national Publisher of the Year award for independent online news, invited articles for the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and peer-reviewed journal articles focused on models of accident risk and fatigue in railroad operations, psychological trauma and transportation accidents —including grade crossing and trespasser incidents —and cross cultural differences in helping behavior.
Dr. Philbrick has received many prestigious awards for her leadership excellence and outstanding contributions to her field. She received the CUTC Administrative Leadership award, the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) named Dr. Philbrick a “Woman Who Moves the Nation,” the Silicon Valley Business Journal named Dr. Philbrick 1 of the 100 Women of Influence in Silicon Valley, and most recently, she was recognized by the YWCA Silicon Valley with a Tribute to Women Award for her contributions to the field of transportation.
Dr. Philbrick holds a PhD from the University of Denver and an MA and EdM from Columbia University. She earned her undergraduate degree from California State University, Fresno.
General Manager and CEO, Denver Regional Transportation District
Debra A. Johnson is a person in the people business, a transit executive focused on making lives better through connections. Johnson was selected as General Manager and CEO of Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) by the agency’s Board of Directors on Aug. 25, 2020. She is the first woman to lead the agency in its more than half-century history.
Johnson joined RTD from Long Beach Transit, where she served as Deputy CEO of the Southern California agency from May 2014 to October 2020. Prior to that, Johnson held executive positions at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro), the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).
Johnson serves on the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Board of Directors, as well as APTA’s Commuter Rail CEO’s Committee and Emerging Leaders Committee. She is a board member of the American Public Transportation Foundation and is deeply involved with the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO). In 2014, Johnson’s vast transportation experience led to her appointment by former U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx as a member of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Program Advisory Committee. She also serves as a member of the Visit Denver Community Board and the Metropolitan State University of Denver Community Cabinet.
Johnson’s leadership and work have been recognized with several recent honors. In 2019, she received a Women in Action Award from the Los Angeles African American Women’s Public Policy Institute and a Women Who Move the Nation award from the COMTO. The Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce honored Johnson with a community service award in 2017. In 2016, she was given a Women Leading the Way Leadership Award from Upgrade LA and an Outstanding Transportation Executive Leadership Award from COMTO’s Southern California chapter.
Johnson holds master’s degree in public administration from California State University Hayward (now CSU East Bay), and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations from the University of California Davis and is an alumna of the Eno Transit Senior Executive program.