Momentum Issue #93

March 11, 2022

The Women of ITS America’s Board of Directors 

 To honor Women’s History Month and women in transportation, here are thoughts from some of our female board members: 

“Women today have full and busy lives, balancing work, family, school, and social obligations. Their perspective, knowledge and leadership in transportation planning is critical to ensuring there are safe, affordable, and flexible transportation options that meet their specific needs.” 
Kathleen Bower, Senior Vice President, AAA 

“Women leaders continue to make an impact across our industry contributing in every aspect of transportation policy, investment and delivery. However, after decades of achievements, we only comprise 15% of the overall workforce, with even fewer women in management roles. We must grow our ranks in decision-making and open up the field to the full diversity of our communities to close access gaps and ensure that our investments benefit everyone.” 
Tilly Chang, Executive Director, San Francisco County Transportation Authority 

“I appreciate the opportunity Women’s History Month provides us to celebrate the full history in transportation. Reflecting on my engineering school days, I recall taking classes like calculus or advanced differential equation theory and professors describing how it gets applied in many of our modern systems. And I have terrific memories of celebrating our patriotism and honoring American heroes, such as the astronauts who orbited our earth in outer space. But back then, conversations didn’t include people like one of my heroes, Katherine Johnson, the NASA ‘computer’ (read that as engineer!) who put those heroes in space with her manual computing. It is exciting to me that we now take moments – and months – to have fully inclusive conversations about our history.” 
Joanna Pinkerton, President & CEO, COTA 

“Transportation and women are often the backbones of strong, healthy communities. To offer the most accessible and equitable transportation options for all people, we need women’s ideas, perspectives, and leadership. I’m honored to work alongside my female colleagues and am committed to recruiting and elevating more women to the industry to create a more diverse and equitable future for all of us.” 
Leslie Richards, CEO & GM, SEPTA 

“We often hold back as women and women of color to fit into traditional spaces. What I have realized is the unique perspectives we each bring are exactly what is needed to move our industry forward to a more inclusive system that serves everyone. When I think about that responsibility, it empowers me to be bolder in bringing forth my perspectives and bringing more of my whole self to work.” 
Monali Shah, Global Head of Industry Solutions, Google 

“To provide mobility for all we need to ensure greater diversity and gender balance in the transportation industry. Women bring different perspectives and concerns about how the current systems are meeting their needs, only with their input can we provide transportation solutions that will further improve quality of life and provide access to economic opportunity for all. While disparities such as the gender pay gap exist, it is essential that we work to provide mobility solutions that can assist in addressing these inequities.” 
Victoria Sheehan, Commissioner, New Hampshire Department of Transportation 

“Women’s contributions have already enhanced the safety, design, and efficiency of all modes of transportation. If we are to accomplish the transformative goals needed for our diverse and rapidly changing world, it will be even more critical that women contribute their innovations, research, creativity, and leadership.” 
Laurel Straub, Assistant Vice President, State Farm Insurance 

“Mobility, technology, progress, accessibility for people, especially for women and minorities, is a personal passion of mine. As you navigate your life, you think about what you can do to make the world better…what can I do to contribute to the broader purpose and help others.” 
Desi Ujkashevic, Ford Motor Company & Vice Chair, ITS America Board of Directors