What attracted you to the transportation industry?
To be honest, I wasn’t attracted to the industry. I was on contract for ACVB (now Visit Albuquerque) to do the marketing for the Visitors Guide, and two years in, they decided to go in house, so I needed to find another job. I have sold every advertising medium except billboards until the opportunity came up to create a new advertising program with the New Mexico Rail Runner Express to generate revenue.
What has been your greatest professional achievement?
I would say creating the advertising sales program here. It’s not very often in media where you have the opportunity to build a program from scratch - the advertising formats, printed materials, rates - everything. Advertising on the Rail Runner was a new concept in the market; there was no competition or guidelines to follow.
How have women made a difference in the transportation industry?
By being present. By having a voice. Because this is still a male-dominated industry, women have to work harder to be included in the decision-making process. At the same time, women are good listeners and we reach out to rural communities that are impacted by the limitations available for public transportation.
What was the biggest influence in your selection of a career in transportation?
The challenge. Back then, I never thought of transportation in respect to advertising, but now it seems obvious there’s a need. As daunting as the task was, I knew I was up for it because I tend to push myself especially when there’s no roadmap to follow. The creative comes out in me.
What is the favorite aspect of your job?
It’s rewarding to see my team take ownership of the areas in marketing that showcase their individual talent.
What lessons have you been taught from the important women in your life that you have applied to your own life?
Work hard. The fruits of your labor may not be realized for some time, but stay the course and you’ll reap the benefits. Be honest and understand your audience. What you say can impact them differently. Be ethical. “Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do”. That was one of my mother’s sayings. In fact, she had a myriad number of sayings that have stuck with me my whole life and have helped me through challenging times.
How have these lessons helped you succeed as a woman in transportation?
When I started the advertising program, there were no clients and I had to be upfront about that because I had no examples of what I was trying to sell. So it was about building relationships, being credible, working hard and trusting the process.
What natural talents do you possess that help in your chosen career?
I have conviction in any task or project I take on. I think long term and can see the big picture. I love passing on my knowledge to help others. I lead by example- I don’t ask anything of my team that I wouldn’t do myself.
What part of your career story would you like to share with the world?
I like to challenge myself and when the opportunity isn’t there, I’ve created one. In fact, I’ve done that a few times in my working career.
How long have you been working for the company/organization? And what positions have to you held prior to your current one?
I have been with Rio Metro eleven years. In fact, December 1st was my anniversary. I started as the Advertising Sales Manager and five years ago was promoted to Marketing Manager. Prior to joining Rio Metro, I had over 25 years’ experience in advertising sales and management in radio, television, cable and print.
How does what you do/what the organization does make a positive impact in the community?
In terms of the marketing department, we interact with the public everyday – whether it’s through community engagement and/or events, social media, advertising opportunities- we are present. In terms of the organization, Rio Metro offers public transportation that serves rural communities and brings people together on the only commuter rail system in the state. Think about that.
What do you think is needed to further attract women to the transportation workforce?
Exposure. Education. Elevation. There is a plethora of positions available in the transportation industry that often go unnoticed because there’s not enough education about what they are. The other is to think of public transportation not just as a necessary evil, but to elevate it to the point where people are proud to have a career that serves so many.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to enter this industry?
Be curious. Ask questions. Shadow someone in public transportation in the area you’re interested in, and I promise you, it’ll be eye-opening.
As told to Augusta Meyers, Communications Manager, Rio Metro Regional Transit District