From the Leadership | Women's History Month
This year’s theme for Women’s History Month is “Celebrating the Women Who Tell Our Stories.” According to the National Women’s History Alliance, in 2023 we “recognize women, past and present, who have been active in all forms of media and storytelling including print, radio, TV, stage, screen, blogs, podcasts, news, and social media."
These words are a wonderful reminder to recognize occasionally overlooked, yet crucial, roles in our transportation industry – WTS members who work in the communications or marketing departments of their organizations. The journalists who write stories on transportation and infrastructure for news and trade outlets worldwide. The professionals who strive for excellence in storytelling and persuasion as they manage community engagement and input on proposed local projects. The people who handle media requests and staffing for our public sector and Administration officials. The leaders who spearhead our sister associations and WTS industry partner organizations – all these roles helping to tell the story of transportation; why our industry is a vital piece of a safer, more accessible, more equitable, and more vibrant world.
WTS is taking our own spin on this year’s theme: “Celebrating Our Talents, Celebrating Our Stories.” This concept recognizes the specific roles mentioned above, but also celebrates the entire span of our membership, in all our diversity.
Part of our mission is to support the next generation of professionals. I am excited to share this month’s *original* artwork celebrating Women’s History Month was created for us by the very talented Sarah Castillo, a 2022 WTS International intern. When we asked Sarah to think about what WTS looked like, her creativity was inspiring – she provided a piece that proudly and vibrantly reflects the breadth of our membership.
Amplifying our Collective Voice; Advocating for Ourselves and Others
The collective voice of WTS is a powerful force with great potential. We’re proud to partner with the Eno Center for Transportation this month to bring you a very special “Women Take Over” edition of the Eno Transportation Weekly featuring guest editor Jannet Walker-Ford, WTS International Board of Directors chair. This issue will feature all women authors, many names you will recognize as our own WTS members.
As I listened to last month’s State of the Union address, I noted with great interest many of the points President Biden made on IIJA implementation, workforce development and employment rates; transportation, infrastructure, and climate; higher education; and other issues for working families and especially women. Some of these same topics will be thoroughly examined at our upcoming WTS Policy Symposium on March 15th and 16th in Washington, D.C. We are committed to elevating our influence in the Administration and advocating for issues vital to our members.
Celebrating our Talents
Looking back at February, I am impressed by the fantastic programming and celebration undertaken by our WTS Chapters as many celebrated awards, scholarships, and recognition of our Black leaders and professionals in celebration of Black History month. Looking forward, I see amazing opportunities being provided to members and stakeholders in March as well as we celebrate Women’s History Month, telling our stories, breaking down barriers, and making history.
Our March Membership Campaign is also in full swing; a perfect time to grow and expand our membership and promote the excellent networking and programming provided across North America by our Chapters. By sharing our stories with others and inviting them in, we are able to expand our networks and broaden the breadth of our knowledge. If you’re considering membership with WTS, this month, join us for 15 months for the price of 12.
Sharing our Stories and Sharing New Voices
This month, we continue our new Distinguished Speaker Series; launched last month with an excellent presentation from Dr. Mia Bay on her book Traveling Black. On International Women’s Day, March 8th, we welcome Dr. Missy Cummings: professor, autonomous technology expert, and former Naval fighter pilot.
We are also eagerly counting down to the first weeks of May, where we will gather in person in Atlanta, Georgia to celebrate the 2023 WTS International Annual Conference. Speaker acceptances were emailed to our applicants last week, and I am always impressed by the quality of submissions – each year, the numbers (and quality) are. I am excited to hear the voices and perspective of over 150 of our members during this week, through our panels, WTS Talks, and plenary sessions as we share the story of our work, innovations, challenges, and solutions.
Celebrating National Days of Importance
I encourage our stakeholders to recognize both International Women’s Day on March 8th, and Equal Pay Day on March 14th, although we also recognize that equal pay days for Black, Latina, and Indigenous populations still occur much later in the year.
Thank you, as always, for using your talents in our organization and in your Chapters. Your communities benefit from your dedication, and so do we. Happy Women’s History Month!
President and CEO,