By Christina O’Claire, Director of King County Metro’s Mobility Division

As we near the end of Women’s History Month, I would like to take a moment to extend my appreciation for all women at Metro. The work we do as a mobility agency is vital to our community, and I am honored to work alongside incredibly talented individuals who are committed to our mission. I recognize that the fight for women’s rights and gender justice is still ongoing. The transit industry has historically been male-dominated and many of our divisions continue to see that disparity, as reflected in the data from the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Program Report shared earlier this month.

Looking forward, as we continue our work towards building a workplace where employees can thrive, we asked members of the Women of Metro Empowerment Network (WOMEN) ERG to share their ideal qualities of workplace culture, what it would look like as equitable and inclusive, and any advice they would share with other women. Here’s what they shared.

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What are the qualities you look for in workplace culture?

“Place for respectful exchange of ideas, even if there are disagreements. Place of encouragement for growth and development, support when people need support (collaborative environment). Work/Life balance.” – Brenda Archdale, Mobility

“Inclusiveness and equity with respect including but not limited to age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual preference, or a physical, intellectual or developmental disability.  Looking for the true meaning of a team and not leaders who talk a lot but don’t walk the talk as they say.” – Mary Schumacher, Transit Facilities

“Respect, flexibility, equity, recognition.” – Mika Kaplan, Capital

“Positivity and diversity in the workplace. Everyone is treated with kindness and respect.” – Veronica Busby, Rail Vehicle Maintenance

What would an inclusive and equitable workplace look like for you?

“An inclusive and equitable workplace would be somewhere that any employee feels empowered and comfortable to step into a new role or strives to learn even more in their role. [A place] where employees feel supported and treated fairly next to their peers, [where] the opportunities are boundless.” – Maria Roberts, Rail

“People of all races, backgrounds, gender identities, and sexual orientations are found at every position on the org chart and salary scale. People don’t try to blend in, they acknowledge and celebrate real differences (racial, religious, gender, LGBTQIA+ identity, neurodivergence, and veteran status and other life experience). There’s more than one way of succeeding or advancing in the organization – not a singular career path or network or leadership or learning style. Leadership is not afraid to rock the boat when it comes to its values: it’s willing to spend money, time, and risk on what they believe in.” – Jen Mayer, Capital

What is the best career advice you’ve received and/or what advice would you want to share with other women?

“Never apologize for taking care of your children.” – Brenda Archdale, Mobility

“Please be nice to your women coworkers—support and encourage them, especially in job growth.” – Mary Schumacher, Transit Facilities

“Trust your own professional expertise. If you feel like people are talking down to you or dismissing your input, it’s not in your head, it’s likely really happening. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.” – Mika Kaplan, Capital

“Do not forget to focus on what you can control and to let go of what you cannot control. Self-balance your time and workload to keep yourself healthy. Be aware of when a situation is taking advantage of you.” – Maria Roberts, Rail

Beyond Women’s History Month, I encourage all of us to take the time to consider how the work we do can impact and empower women in our communities. To all the women of Metrowe appreciate, celebrate, and recognize all of you.