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VTA Women on Success in the Workplace


In celebration of Women’s History Month, we asked women leaders across VTA to share their career advice for women entering the workforce.

Nuria Fernandez, General Manager and CEO of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, recently addressed the power of role models and mentorship in Passenger Transport. Fernandez said, “Pass forward those well-learned lessons, tips or traditions on to the next person. The unknowing protégé of today is the leader of tomorrow.”

“Those of us who are comfortable demanding equality in the workplace need to stand up and do so,” says Heidi Samuels, VTA’s Deputy Director of Transit Operations - Bus. Samuels adds that individually finding ways to “get by” or “put up with” inequality in the workplace won’t improve the culture or provide the change women deserve, have earned and want for our sisters and daughters. Samuels encourages women to do what they can when they can, even if it’s just your job well done and supporting a sister. If we all do our own little part, she says, our collective millions of little parts can move us ahead together.
Brandi Childress, Media and Public Affairs Manager and Lauren Ledbetter, Senior Transportation Planner (Bicycle and Pedestrian Program), both active in women’s leadership organizations in transportation, believe in the power of seeking out a community of like-minded women who have similar values, aspirations and work ethic. Their advice is to use this network to share ideas or challenges because, chances are, someone else has been through similar experiences.  

Childress adds that regardless of career path, be brave, stretch, and don’t be afraid to fail.

When it comes to compensation, Angelique Gaeta, Chief of System Safety and Security, offers “Know your worth. Never be afraid to ask for what you think you deserve – promotion, raise, new job title.”

Marcella Rensi, Deputy Director of Programming and Grants, agrees. She also encourages women to figure out what’s easy for you to do and hard for everyone else.

Now it’s your turn to pass along those well-learned lessons, tips or traditions. Share the best piece of career advice you’ve received or given below.

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