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2013 COMTO Celebrating Women Who Move The Nation Award Ceremony


Thank you Julie, and the entire COMTO national organization for this recognition—I am truly honored.

I have been a proud public servant the entirety of my professional career. And I have to say, serving this nation as the Deputy Federal Transit Administrator with President Obama's Administration was not in my master plan, but is a gift that I am grateful for every day. 

I work with an amazing team at FTA, led by Administrator Peter Rogoff; and am grateful for the support of DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, Deputy Secretary John Porcari, and their team.  I thank all of my DOT friends here this morning.  I am particularly proud, however, that our FTA leadership team includes an extraordinary number of talented women.  FTA’s workforce is made up of 58% women.  Of our Senior Executive staff, 50% of the positions are held by women, as is many of our most critical senior level deputy and office director positions.  Yet, in our day to day activities, their presence is almost taken for granted.  Let me give you an example.

In August of 2012, after 2 1/2 years of dedicated effort, FTA published two ground breaking guidance documents for the transit industry—a completely revised circular on Title VI, and brand new guidance on Environmental Justice.  I initiated and oversaw the comprehensive review of FTA civil rights responsibilities that laid the ground work for these documents, and a cadre of individuals brought them to fruition-- Linda Ford, Bonnie Graves, Cecelia Comito, Amber Ontiveros, and Joanne Waszczak.  My dear friend and colleague Dorval Carter brought some gender diversity to the effort.

The extraordinary thing was not that this ground-breaking initiative was conceived, led, and delivered by the best women for the job.  What is extraordinary is that I never cast it in those terms. Rather, the effort was implemented by the best professionals for the job, PERIOD. Not an EEO objective, not a political statement—just a fact of the team’s excellence.

In my view, that is what we strive for—parity of talent, parity of opportunity, parity of financial and rank recognition, parity of achievement.  Unfortunately, in too many instances, we as an industry—and a nation—fall short of that goal. 

So until then, I take on the responsibility to make a difference—that through my experience, my example, and my results, I can help show fellow women colleagues, our bright young students, our own daughters, that the future in indeed ours to hold.

Thank you for this award.

Updated: Thursday, March 17, 2016
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