OC Transpo celebrates International Women’s Day
This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #EmbraceEquity.
At OC Transpo, we recognize that each person brings different experiences to the table. The more we can do as an organization and as individuals to break down barriers, the more inclusive, welcoming and healthy our workplaces will be.
Let’s get to know some of the women on the front lines and behind the scenes of Ottawa’s transit system!
Chief Special Constable
With 20 years of policing experience, Chief McRae became Chief Special Constable this past November. After spending 18 years serving with the Ottawa Police Service, Chief McRae was the National Security Advisor and Police Liaison for Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA). Chief McRae is no stranger to transportation, “I have spent a lot of time at more than 80 airports across Canada.”
Since starting with OC Transpo, Chief McRae has been focused on building relationships internally and externally. “I have such an amazing team” she said, reflecting on OC Transpo’s 34 Special Constables, 11 Dispatchers, 5 Sergeants, 3 Superintendents and 1 Deputy Chief. The Special Constables Unit is making positive changes while working to improve the safety of our customers and employees across Ottawa’s transit system.
Chief McRae’s advice for women is, “You decide your final destination, not other people. Believe in yourself and don’t stop.” When looking back on her career, Tracey said, “You are going to come across roadblocks. You are going to come across people who don’t want you there. Take your time and be confident in what you are doing. You will get to where you want to be. There will be challenges, but they will pass. Keep moving forward.”
Manager, Strategic Projects
Katie first started her transit career with OC Transpo in 2016 as a Strategist supporting the General Manager’s office of Transit Services. Her project management skills and keen eye for details allowed her to grow into her current role of Manager, Strategic Projects for the Rail Construction Program. When describing her role, Katie said, “Through my amazing team, I am responsible for all project management, project controls and contract management functions for the Stage 2 Light Rail Transit project.”
Katie leads the behind-the-scenes functions that keep the project rolling. “Every project needs its experts and specialists, but it also requires its generalists,” said Katie. “The generalists are those that can see the big picture, keep the team focused, stay the course, and help deal with issues as they arise so that the project can maintain its trajectory or momentum. That’s what I offer,” she said.
Prior to working in transit, Katie managed the opening of several large establishments in the hospitality industry. She also has significant experience in the non-profit sector where she managed numerous successful charitable campaigns. When reflecting on lessons learned, Katie said, “the most important part of a successful project or program is the people who help you get there. Your team.”
When asked for advice, Katie said, “Be adaptable and open to change. Take on new challenges. By taking risks, I have been provided with new opportunities that I would have never thought I would be a part of.” She continued, “Be a sponge. Watch, learn and model behaviour that is impactful. I’m fortunate to have been supported and led by a number of phenomenal female leaders in the past. They have set a vision for me of the type of leader I want to be.”
Superintendent, Transit Operations Control Centre
Yasmin has been part of the OC Transpo team for 16 years. While she has worked in numerous roles, Yasmin is currently a Superintendent at the Transit Operations Control Centre (TOCC). She plays a key role in ensuring OC Transpo delivers safe, reliable and efficient service.
Yasmin started with OC Transpo as a Bus Operator. “I was very shy when I started this job but overcame it” she said. “I saw firsthand what an important service we provide. I absolutely loved being a bus operator” she said. “I love when I see women driving buses. It takes courage and confidence to be in such a position.”
After being a Bus Operator, Transit Supervisor, a Mobile Transit Superintendent, and a Superintendent at the TOCC, Yasmin has a strong understanding of what it takes to run a transit system. She enjoys helping customers and operators overcome many challenges. Yasmin said, “Regardless of the position, I have been blessed to love each role and take great pride in what I do”.
When asked what advice she has for women, Yasmin said “Don’t shy away from leaving your comfort zone. Take every situation as an opportunity to learn. Don’t underestimate your ability to do more and take on more challenges.” She continued, “Don’t be scared by the job titles and responsibilities. If you love what you do and want to grow, reach out to your colleagues. Ask for guidance, mentorship and support to help you achieve your goals.”
Korinna has been a Transit Supervisor for 10 years with OC Transpo. She first began her transit career in 2002 as a Bus Operator. A friend challenged her to take training courses offered by the City. Her section head was very supportive and encouraged her to apply for a Transit Supervisor position.
As a Transit Supervisor, Korinna can be mobile, stationed in the field, or in the control room. “I very much enjoy the high stress, fast-paced, task switching environment. I spend my time monitoring service and prioritizing calls. I really enjoy assisting and advocating for Operators and their passengers. I need to make decisions quickly and work with other Supervisors as a team to get the job done. Every day brings a new challenge.”
Korinna’s advice for women is “if you are interested in a specific job, reach out to find out more. Contact the supervisor and ask to shadow someone.” She also said “take advantage of training opportunities. The City of Ottawa has so many internal opportunities that are taught by competent trainers. These also serve as great networking opportunities.”
Electric Rail Operator
Karen started her career in transit eight years ago. She spent her first four years as a Bus Operator. When O-Train Line 1 launched, she embraced a new challenge and became an Electric Rail Operator (ERO). As an ERO, Karen is responsible for safely operating trains on Line 1.
She has since become a mentor for new EROs, providing guidance to new recruits as they transition from training to operations. Karen says, “As a woman in transportation, I hope to inspire other women to know that through successes and even failures we must work to reshape the transportation industry. We must pave a path for future generations of women to become leaders in transportation.”
Quoting Michelle Obama, Karen said “There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish”. When asked what advice she has for women interested in working transit, Karen said, “Get involved in any way possible. I have had many opportunities to grow at OC Transpo. You can learn how to drive a bus or train, be a mentor, instructor, mechanic, or work on the administrative team.”
Are you interested in joining the OC Transpo team?
To find out more about all our exciting transit employment opportunities, visit Jobs page.