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Keolis’ Journey to “Connect” at the WTS International Conference in New Orleans

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Recently, Keolis attended the WTS International Conference in the vibrant city of New Orleans, LA. Set against the backdrop of this culturally rich city, the conference theme, "Connecting Cultures, Connecting Communities," aligns seamlessly with Keolis' values and mission. Renowned for its vibrant culture, music, cuisine, and intricate transportation networks, New Orleans was the perfect setting to explore the theme of ‘connectivity’ amongst an extraordinary group of women. 


The definition of “connect” is to “bring together or into contact so that a real or notional link is established”. Furthermore, to connect is to join together to provide access and communication. This is the very foundation of transit and its purpose. The conference started with tours that demonstrated the connection between different modes of transportation. This included visiting the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) ready reserve fleet ships and the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, the world's largest bridge over water. While there were many water tours, there were also biking tours through historic New Orleans, streetcar tours, a tour of the Public Belt Railroad facility as well as the Louis Armstrong Airport.


All these tours demonstrated the intricacies of how the great city of New Orleans connects cultures and connects the communities served with various modes of transportation. But the tours were just the beginning as the conference connected women from various industries – women who have been instrumental in developing and maintaining these transportation networks by working together, intertwining to keep our communities moving.


From the women that lead the design and engineering firms that create our roads and waterways to the women who maintain and operate our vehicles daily, the WTS conference is a testimony of women’s contributions to providing access and connectivity to the world. After peaking at the behind-the-scenes complexities of these operations, attending the sessions and panels, and listening to these exceptional women speak of their challenges, the ability to overcome them and make impactful changes to an industry that touches every one of us in some way, was nothing short of amazing. We were all reminded on more than one occasion that we all possess a ‘superpower’ and the importance of tapping into that power and using it.


The ability to engage with a such diverse and powerful peer group, ranging from small business owners to CEOs of private firms, in such a welcoming and conducive environment is priceless. Women from all walks of life coming together, connecting to share their personal experiences and insights, left conference attendees feeling empowered, motivated, inspired and excited to bring their WTS Conference experiences back to their companies. From learning about innovative ways to create efficiencies and recruit a more diverse workforce to improving accessibility and awareness, attendees, like me, can share what they have learned and incorporate some of these initiatives into their company goals.


WTS is just one example of an organization that creates a space that encourages and fosters personal and professional growth for women, while promoting inclusivity and building meaningful connections. As an advocate partner with WTS, Keolis is committed to the continuous advancement of women in the transportation industry and driving positive change. Here’s to a continued connection to WTS and all the members working to make sure we are providing the services needed to keep our cultures and communities connected.