A Message from Jeannie Lee, WTS-OC 2018-19 President
Jeannie Lee | Senior Project Manager, OCTA
Thank you for the opportunity to serve between 2018-2019 as your WTS Orange County chapter president and for the last decade as a board member. It has been my sincerest honor. We had another great year of success and it would not be possible without you, our members, and those who sponsor our chapter. In 2019, we celebrated the ‘Transportation of Tomorrow’ by paying tribute to some of our industry’s emerging and established leaders.
As my presidency comes to a close and we begin 2020 with new leadership, I would like to reflect on some of the ways WTS Orange County has achieved our mission of advancing women in transportation. I would like to start by thanking the outgoing board of directors, most especially Jenny Larios and May Low. Each of them has dedicated over 10 years of service to WTS Orange County, serving as chapter presidents and as chairs for numerous committees as well.
Our chapter’s success also would not be possible without the incredible guidance of our board advisors (past presidents), the financial support of our corporate partners, and active participation by our nearly 300 members. Your contributions in 2019 are why WTS-OC was able to invest approximately $90,000 in robust programs that touched the lives of nearly 500 individuals – from elementary school students to seasoned professionals. A few highlights include:
WTS-OC hosted our 31st Annual Awards and Scholarships Gala, during which we provided $50,000 in scholarship awards to 11 outstanding female students, as well as saluted incredible industry leaders such as Stephanie Wiggins, Metrolink (Woman of the Year), John Hakel, Southern California Partnership for Jobs (Ray LaHood Award), Anh Case, EXP (Member of the Year), OCTA (Employer of the Year; Innovative Project Solutions Award), City of Laguna Beach (Innovative Project Solutions Award), and ASCE OC Branch (Rosa Parks Diversity Award).
WTS-OC connected with 45 4th and 5th graders to get them thinking about transportation in the future through art, maybe even as a career choice. Their artwork was highlighted at our Annual Gala as part of each table’s centerpiece.
Girls Engineering Day
WTS-OC reached out to over 100 female junior high and high school students for a day of interactive lessons about the various related planning and engineering aspects of our business. Every year, these students are so excited to learn about our profession through the support of over 100 industry volunteers and sponsors.
WTS-OC introduced 19 college students to 13 public agencies and private sector firms over a two-week immersion, connecting these students to prospective future employers. Students have the opportunity to learn more about the inner workings of these organizations at the time when they need it most – applying for internships and/or their first jobs.
WTS-OC facilitated the ongoing advancement of young to mid-career professionals as 33 mentor/mentee pairs participated in career planning workshops and networking opportunities. In 2019, we also launched the Young Mentors Program for previous mentees who are now “paying it forward” by mentoring college students.
WTS-OC hosted members-only events such as ‘Understanding the Generations’ and ‘Women in Transportation’ – highlighting women in city leadership throughout Orange County. Combined, these events provided professional development and networking opportunities to more than 100 members.
WTS-OC provided an opportunity for nearly 30 small business owners in Orange County to learn more about the DBE certification process from public sector agencies as well as teaming expectations from prime consulting firms.
As someone who started my journey with WTS as a mentee and graduate scholarship recipient more than a decade ago, it has been my honor to serve WTS Orange County and I am confident our chapter will continue to see many new initiatives designed to provide greater access, enhanced professional development, and networking opportunities.
In closing, I have one simple ask – that every one of us continues to think about and proactively apply the WTS mission in our daily work. We have incredible opportunities to make a meaningful difference in the diversity of our workforce and leadership. Be reminded of the profound work of our industry leaders who have been recognized by WTS Orange County through the years. Think about the future of our 11 scholarship winners and how you might help them advance in their careers, which are just launching. Let each of us be good stewards of the mission to advance not only women, but each other, as our industry continues to take exemplary steps towards the ‘Transportation of Tomorrow.’