More Choices, More Ways to Belong: Membership with WTS International
For 46 years, WTS International has provided a community of transportation thought leaders and industry professionals to connect and advance in their careers. Founded in 1977, our membership spans the entire breadth of the transportation sector: engineers, planners, technology experts, architects, policy makers, government leaders, communications and marketing professionals, construction professionals, and those working in all modes – transit, highway, marine, aviation, logistics, and more – in both the public and private sector. WTS also supports the next generation of professionals through our student members and our Foundation partner scholarships and activities.
In 2023, we’ve started laying the foundation that will allow us to future proof our organization and continue to provide current and new benefits to our community for another 46 years and beyond.
The Value of WTS Membership – Now More Than Ever
Over the past ten years, the world has changed in extraordinary ways. We have navigated the good (an explosion of innovation in the transportation industry, more diverse leadership in all modes, and historical funding initiatives through IIJA) and the not-so-good (public leaders adopting anti-DEI platforms, a continuing workforce shortage, and dare I even mention the continuing long-tail effects of the COVID-19 pandemic?). One constant has been the remarkable community of WTS members across North America, and its continued dedication to advancing women and advancing transportation.
WTS International is growing – at over 8,700 active members as of this writing – and we applaud the work of our Chapters in providing programming, networking, and a sense of community in their cities and regions. We are excited to see our Annual Conference grow with each year, from 495 in 2014, to over 1,200 registrants in Atlanta this past spring.
In order to maintain this growth mindset, last month, the WTS International Board of Directors voted to move forward with a multi-year plan to realign our dues model to more accurately reflect our mission and vision. We began this strategic planning process in 2021, and have been connecting with members and chapter leaders to determine our #OneWTS path forward, with an ambitious, but reachable goal of 10,000 members by our 50th anniversary in 2027.
Member Benefits in 2024
WTS International remains committed to providing extensive and thoughtful membership benefits that align with our vision of equity and access in transportation through the global advancement of women. Our membership benefits support the full professional; from their own personal and professional development to the growth of the industry as a whole, through our technical and best-practice knowledge sharing. Over the last decade, WTS International has expanded our offerings and instituted new platforms to serve our members, no matter their local chapter. We will continue to provide a variety of choices to serve a variety of needs, including additional topical workshops, webinars on both technical skills and leadership development, more complementary and discounted networking events, member-only content and trainings, continued Chapter engagement and programming at the local level, legislative and advocacy representation, regional support and events, new member-exclusive content in our revamped MyWTS, system upgrades for a “one member” experience for our chapters, new and easier to use financial systems, and more.
A More Equitable and Accessible Dues Model
What changes are happening?
Approved by the WTS International Board of Directors in August of 2023, the new year will bring in a new membership model for the organization, a model that is focused on benefit delivery and prioritizes equitability and accessibility to membership.
Our new model will highlight four membership levels: student, professional, executive, and a new level, titled lifetime membership, which is intended for retired individuals.
- Within our professional membership we will offer four price points, one for an emerging leader, for the public sector, for those employed by DBEs or small businesses, and for those in the private sector.
- Our executive membership level will offer three price points, one for the public sector, for those employed by DBEs or small businesses, and for those in the private sector.
Under this new model, there is a place for everyone; with benefits that align with the needs of each individual.
In addition to a change in our membership model, the new year will also bring a new price structure to our WTS membership.
January 2024 will bring the first change of model or dues increase for our organization in over a decade. We are a different industry and a different organization today, and we need a membership model that is reflective of our future and allows the organization to fulfill its aggressive and aspirational goals.
In full transparency, this organization has considered changes to the model in the past decade; some even being approved but never implemented. Our delay in adjusting to the increased benefits and opportunities being provided and to the rising costs of doing business have placed the organization in a need to right-size our membership dues with the growing needs of our membership.
In order to offer the same services and continually increase our benefits and access, we will be implementing a multi-year plan that allows members to step into incremental dues increases over a span of five years, which will allow for more accurate annual budgeting.
This revised dues model also makes it easier for young and emerging professionals to enter the organization, giving them the resources to grow in their profession and lengthen their engagement with WTS – from the first days at a job through their entire career journey, into leadership positions both on the job and in WTS.
This change will also allow WTS International to embrace being fully “International” – accommodating conversion rates for our chapters in Canada, and capping our Canadian membership rate below the exchange rate value to accommodate typical market fluctuations.
We also heard your feedback and will begin offering a “Lifetime Membership” level for professionals who have reached their retirement years, but still have much to offer and wish to continue their valued engagement with WTS.
Who will this effect?
We believe this new direction will make WTS International a stronger organization with more involved and satisfied members. Together, we will continue to advance the entire transportation industry and expand into more modes and sectors of the industry.
In January of 2024, the levels of membership will adjust, with each member of WTS seeing a change in their membership category. Your current membership will be mapped to the correct new category, with an opportunity for adjustment by you. Membership dues will increase starting in January of 2024, with your 2024 renewals being impacted.
In the coming weeks, we will be publishing our new membership model along with a five-year dues schedule so that our members can be prepared for changes. As noted, our membership levels will change, so we will no longer require personal salary information to process our membership.
What if my WTS membership expires this year?
Feel free to renew now! All 2023 membership will be processed as planned, and membership renewals can also be renewed early. No time on your membership will be lost – please reach out at any time to remain an active WTS member.
I have questions.
Of course! Please reach out to [email protected]
The Future is Bright
If you are not an active member in WTS, I strongly encourage you to join now, and continue the mission of the organization long into the future. I look forward to our many programs happening before the end of 2023, including our Signature Leadership Training this month, our Chapter Leader Development this November, as well as our numerous virtual programs. I also look forward to seeing many of our members and transportation stakeholders in person as we represent WTS at industry events. Registration will also open soon for our 2024 WTS International Annual Conference, to be hosted in the vibrant city of New Orleans. Please take time to review our Fall calendar of events, which include opportunities to develop your mentoring skills, hearing from our corporate partners on a variety of technical topics, and virtual workshops on topics such as mentorship and allyship.
Thank you for your continued commitment and dedication to the transportation industry, and to WTS.
President and CEO