Women’s Transportation Seminar International (WTS I) hosted their annual conference in Boston, Massachusetts this year. The conference was appropriately called “The Hub of Ingenuity” as it attracted professionals at all levels from the public, private and non-profit sectors.
Cerasela Cristei, P.E., T3’s Operations Manager, attended the event. She is the Professional Development Committee Chair and the Scholarship and Fundraising Committee Co-Chair of WTS DC Chapter.
The Open Plenary Session on Thursday, May 16, was titled “A View from the top: Female DOT CEO’s take the Stage”.
On the panel were:
Shannon Valentine, Secretary, Virginia DOT
Jennifer Cohan, Delaware DOT
Stephanie Pollack, Secretary, Massachusetts DOT
Melinda McGrath, Director, Mississippi DOT
Victoria Sheehan, Commissioner, New Hampshire DOT
Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, Commissioner, New Jersey DOT
Leslie Richards, Secretary, Pennsylvania DOT
The panelists shared personal stories that transpired how each of them weaved their personal lives with work and that having children was why they achieved more. They shared how they managed their schedules and delegated tasks, even asked for flexibility in work schedule and place and made sure that what they promised to deliver was delivered.
Madam Secretary, Shannon Valentine shared that one of her three children once said: mom, if you don’t do it, who will? And that simple statement empowered her to be the best that she can be, both as a professional and as a mother.
The advice they gave included: let people that work with you know that they are part of something much bigger, that their voices are heard, and never discount anyone based on their looks.
Leslie Richards said that she always evaluates the opportunities that come her way and makes sure that she selects the ones that have the most impact for the greater good.
Melinda McGrath advised that we should know our own values, stand our own ground and know that who we are is important.
As T3’s representative, Cerasela strengthened old relationships and created new ones. Allie Kelly, the Executive Director of The Ray C. Anderson Memorial Highway, or "The Ray" for short, is one of the new acquaintances Cerasela made at the conference. Allie shared information about the Public-Private-Nonprofit Partnership (P4): formed in Georgia to bring to life and maintain an 18-mile segment of I-85 as an open, public, live laboratory for innovations in transportation.