Ask Juanda Daniel about the work culture at SBCTA – particularly as it relates to women – and she’ll tell you it starts at the top.
“The executive director (Dr. Raymond Wolfe) has been very intentional in appointing women to executive positions. They play a visible and vital part of the important work we do,” says Daniel, Assistant General Counsel for the authority.
Daniel joined SBCTA three years ago, and is among 47 female employees at the agency – out of a staff of 75 altogether. The authority’s commitment to recruiting, retaining and advancing women in the traditionally male-dominated field of transportation is something we proudly highlight on this International Women’s Day.
Among women in top leadership positions are Julianna Tillquist, SBCTA General Counsel, Marleana Roman, Clerk of the Board, Hilda Flores who is Chief Financial Officer, Carrie Schindler, SBCTA’s Director of Transit and Rail, and Andrea Zureick, Director of Fund Administration. Paula Beauchamp, Director of Project Delivery and Toll Operations, retired March 1 after 13 years with the agency.
“We’ve got a core group of very smart and dedicated women,” says Daniel, who assists the general counsel in ensuring that the transportation plans that have been approved by SBCTA’s governing board can be carried out, from a legal perspective.
Ginger Koblasz started with SBCTA as an intern in 1998, moving up the organization in a variety of roles. For the past three years, she has served as a senior planner, and, like Daniel, plays a critical role in making sure that transportation plans can be implemented.
Among her roles is managing grant funding, assisting with SBCTA’s expansive GIS work, and coordinating outreach around San Bernardino County’s role in Southern California’s Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy.
“A lot of what we do here is navigating red tape as efficiently as possible – to make sure projects can get done and that we’re doing our due diligence for taxpayers,” Koblasz says.
The agency’s culture has been instrumental in her professional growth and being able to do her best work.
“It’s nice … there are so many hard-working, smart people here,” she says. “It’s very team oriented. We help each other, and a lot of us are friends outside the office.”
Rebekah Soto, SBCTA’s Mobility Programs Administrator, also cites a positive culture as something that distinguishes SBCTA as an agency that promotes advancement opportunities for women.
“It starts at the top,” she says, noting that Dr. Wolfe has a way of “gently pushing me out of my comfort zone to make me better at what I do.”
Once deathly afraid of public speaking, Soto now represents SBCTA as the agency’s liaison to Metrolink, has participated in panel discussions at Mobility 21 and frequently makes presentations to the authority’s board and committees.
“I have a seat at the table, which is really unique. Anytime there is an opportunity for us to get out there, we are strongly encouraged to do so,” Soto says.
For more on International Women’s Day, click here.