Clockwise from top left: Rail Supervisor Carri Sampson-Spande, LRT Helper Aida Mohamed, and Jennifer Schultz, on assignment as a Rail Supervisor as part of a career development program, Train Operator Beth DeSalguero, Public Facilities Worker Deb Hamilton and Bus Operator Tamica Washington.
While transportation remains a largely male-dominated field, hundreds of women, including bus and train operators, police officers and maintenance staff, are building their careers at Metro Transit.
To celebrate International Women’s Day (March 8), several women shared their thoughts about their career paths and what it means to work at Metro Transit.
Ayantu Gemeda, Assistant Manager-Street Operations
Representation matters at all levels of an organization. I’ve benefitted from the hard work of the women and men in transit who came before me, and I’m grateful for their efforts to break down barriers. My parents raised my siblings and I with the understanding that our actions reflect everything we represent; the weight of that responsibility shaped who I am today. Through my work, I aspire to remove barriers and set a good example for the next generation, especially for my two daughters.
Panhia Lor, Police Officer
I celebrate hard work, strong work ethics and overcoming the unexpected. I’ve worked hard to get to where I’m at, and I’m very thankful to those who have helped lend a hand. If I could speak to my younger self, I would tell her never to give up on herself. I've experienced poverty and hopelessness, but I realize now that had I given up on myself, I would have never known what I was capable of achieving. My hope for all the women is to be fearless, see your self-worth and become the woman you are proud of.
Sonja Burseth, Planner
I love having a job that makes an impact in the community and helps people travel in a convenient, accessible and sustainable way. I also love the energy and expertise of the people I work with! There are many living examples of great women leaders at Metro Transit for me to look up to and learn from.
Charlotte Andres, Body Shop Supervisor
When I was in high school I took auto mechanic classes so I could fix my car. I continued into technical college where my instructor told me that women had no place in this industry. Years later, I continue to work in the industry leading crews of over 30 technicians. I’ve always felt I needed to work harder because I stood out in a male-dominated workplace. I didn’t set out to change this industry – I just wanted to do good work. Today, I’m glad that people are judged by their work, not their gender.
Amina Wolf, Assistant Transportation Manager, South Garage
I was not planning to have my career so engrained in transportation, but I have found it to be very rewarding working in so many different transportation roles. Women are unrepresented in the transit workforce, but essential to its growth. I encourage women to step out of their comfort zone, and go for whatever position you are interested in. I am grateful for the women who paved the way for me and the men & women who have support and encouraged me. Metro Transit is a family that is continuing to grow and innovate. I am excited to be part of that growth.
Amanda Walker, Assistant Transportation Manager, Nicollet Garage
Building a personal relationship and bond with our drivers, being someone that they can talk to, that's why I love what I do. It was my personal choice to grow professionally at Metro Transit, but I was also encouraged to do so by my peers.
Read more stories on the Rider's Almanac blog