Southwest Airlines is a proud sponsor of WTS (Women's Transportation Seminar) International. Kyla D’Sa shares her story about attending the Transportation YOU DC Summit and how it inspired her to achieve her career dreams. Although the WTS Transportation YOU DC Summit only lasted five busy days in June, the memories and connections will last a lifetime. Each day presented a unique opportunity to explore the evolving field of transportation. The Summit, a program of WTS Foundation, opened my mind to the variety of careers associated with transportation. One of my most valuable takeaways was just how complex and diverse the transportation field and community is. Every speaker inspired me to think about the world through a slightly different lens. Having the ability to view the world with a more open mind has allowed me to think of more creative solutions to some transportation challenges, such as varied trip chains, and understand how the transportation system must work for every citizen, including those with disabilities.
On the first day I listened to women speak about their specialty mode or role within the Department of Transportation, their journey to get there, and advice they had for young women like me. There were a few common themes among the advice that the speakers offered: ‘put yourself out there,’ ‘take healthy risks,’ and ‘be passionate about learning.’ Throughout the next few days, these themes were echoed by other women in at Amtrak, Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, and the National Transportation Safety Board.
While sitting at the beautiful Washington, D.C., monuments the second night of the summit, I realized there are millions of people walking and biking around me, driving on the roads next to me, taking the subway underneath me and flying over me. Relative to all of the motion and people, I felt still and small, though, I quickly noted that I am one woman with great aspirations. I realized that I was not alone and had the support of my family and friends, the amazing women who played a role in the Summit, community members, WTS Foundation, and the companies that support it, such as Southwest Airlines, without whom I could not have participated.
With all of this support, I feel more empowered than ever—a feeling that continues to affect me as I work to confidently pursue my passion to work with, and for, a safe and efficient community and transportation system for all of its citizens.