Mentor Program Overview

The mentor program is the hallmark of APTA’s Emerging Leaders Program. Program participants will benefit from the knowledge and insights of both national and local mentors. The national mentors provide their expertise and speak to a broad range of transit issues at a national level. Local mentors are integral in helping participants better understand their organizations and address local work and career development issues.

National Mentors

Program participants are matched with experienced professionals outside of their organizations, who can help them 1) learn the “bigger picture” of the public transportation industry, 2) learn about practices and experiences at other transit agencies and organizations, and 3) create a career development plan including short- and long-term career goals, next steps, and strategies to advance their careers in transit.

National mentors and mentees will work in small groups, where three mentors are matched with 4-5 mentees. National mentors and mentees are matched based on geographies/time zones and the mentees’ areas of interest where possible. The mentor groups hold monthly discussions on various transit and career development topics from July through April of the program year. Most meetings are held via videoconference, with in-person meetings encouraged when feasible.

The National Mentors for the Class of 2022 are shown below.

Local Mentors

At the start of the program year, participants are tasked to identify a local mentor from within their organization; participants from small organizations may elect to work with a local mentor at another organization in their local community. The local mentors play an invaluable role to help participants gain a deeper understanding of their organization’s business culture, policies, and practices and identify skills and experiences they need to earn promotional opportunities. Local mentors also serve as a sounding board for mentees to discuss ongoing projects or issues that need problem solving.

The local mentor and mentee will meet monthly to navigate internal work and career development issues. In-person meetings are encouraged whenever possible. Rather than have the participant’s direct supervisor serve as the local mentor, they are encouraged to identify a local mentor who can provide knowledge from other departments or share expertise in areas of interest to the participant. The participant is encouraged to work with their local mentor to develop an action plan, which may be based on a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis and defines short-term SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based) career goals.

National Mentors for the Class of 2022

Holly Arnold
Holly Arnold
Administrator and CEO, Maryland Transit Administration
Christina Arthur
Christina Arthur
Senior Transportation Planner, City of Seattle Department of Transportation
Christina Belmont
Christina Belmont
Global Head of Marketing, Vix Technology
David Boaté
David Boaté
Vice President, Regional Transit & Rail Global Business Line Leader, Northeast,
Gannett Fleming, Inc.
James Bradford
James Bradford
Chief Operating Officer, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority
Alva Carrasco
Alva Carrasco
Vice President, Transit & Rail National Business Line – West Region Market Lead, WSP USA
Lynnette H. Ciavarella
Lynnette H. Ciavarella
Senior Division Director, Strategic Capital Planning, Metra
Shelley Devine
Shelley Devine
General Counsel, Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet)
Julie A. Espy
Julie A. Espy
Manager, Learning & Development, Orange County Transportation Authority
Justin Garrod
Justin Garrod
Vice President/Sr. Project Manager, HDR
Laura Grams
Laura Grams
Associate Vice President/South Central Transit Market Sector Lead, HDR
Imelda Hernandez
Imelda Hernandez
Manager, Transportation Planning, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Pierre Holloman
Pierre Holloman
Assistant Transit Bureau Chief, Arlington County, Virginia
Alicia Leite
Alicia Leite
Supervising Transportation Planner, Customer Experience Unit, Connecticut Department of Transportation
Rachel Maloney
Rachel Maloney
Manager, Bus and Special Service Operations, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority
Erika Mazza
Erika Mazza
Vice President of Government Affairs, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Carissa Nichols
Carissa Nichols
Manager, Rail Transportation, Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet)
Louwana S. Oliva
Louwana S. Oliva
Executive Director and CEO, Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA)
Inessa M. Vitko
Inessa M. Vitko
Chief Operations Officer, C-TRAN – Clark County PTBA
Thomas R. Waldron
Thomas R. Waldron
Senior Vice President & Global Transit Director, HDR
Lisa Womack
Lisa Womack
Director of Mobility Services, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority
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