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(L-R)Top: Lopez, Whiteside, Thomas and Albano; Bottom: Patterson, Redden and Hickey

The Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) held a fruitful discussion yesterday for Chicago Public School students about women and minorities in the transportation industry. During a panel discussion for COMTO’s Women’s History Month Celebration, female students from Team Englewood Academy and North Grand High School heard firsthand about the many opportunities available in transportation from a panel of leading distinguished women who serve in prominent roles in a male dominated industry. The students listened as each woman described their personal and professional journey to their current role. Most of the panelists encouraged the women to begin forging relationships during their high school years and seek out a mentor, while other panelists suggested getting involved in school activities and applying for internships in areas that were of interest to them. Mostly, the panelists stressed the importance of continuing their education and to always maintain professionalism as they never know who they will meet on their journey. Lastly, the panelists inspired the young ladies to pursue careers in the transportation industry and join their COMTO chapter to get a head start on their career.

Moderated by the RTA’s Executive Director Leanne Redden, the panelists included: RTA’s Bea Reyna-Hickey, CFO and Julia Patterson, Director of Human Resources; Cruz Bernal-Albano, founder of Bernal-Albano, Inc.; Mae Cheri Whiteside, Principal at CKL Engineers, LLC, Tiya T. Thomas, Metra Director of Labor Relations and Emily Tapia-Lopez, HNTB Director of Strategic Initiatives.


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