Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) Executive Associate Director Katie Turnbull participated in a Special Forum on Women in Transportation sponsored by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) on April 4, 2013. Turnbull was one of approximately 60 women leaders from industry, public agencies, professional organizations, universities and other groups gathering at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building with top-ranking personnel from the White House and the U.S. DOT to discuss increasing opportunities for women in transportation.
“It was a privilege to participate in the forum and to interact with the dynamic group of women,” notes Turnbull. “The combination of presentations and small-group discussions provided an excellent method for sharing information, experiences, ideas and follow-up activities.”
The opening session featured Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to the president and chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Susan Kurland, U.S. DOT assistant secretary for aviation and internal affairs. Speakers in the second session highlighted the diverse jobs women hold throughout the transportation industry, the business case for women in transportation and recent research on retaining women in the workforce and developing women leaders.
“We broke into small groups focusing on educating, recruiting, retaining and developing leadership among women throughout all facets of transportation,” states Turnbull. “We discussed issues and opportunities, and identified action steps to move the objectives forward. We also identified two individual action steps to pursue over the next six months.”
The forum results will assist with the U.S. DOT’s participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Women in Transportation initiative. “I look forward to assisting with the action steps,” says Turnbull. “We are going to develop a short video on women in TTI as part of the effort.”