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The Leadership NACTO 2019 Cohort Convenes in Cambridge

Jul 16, 2019

At NACTO, a common refrain is that people power cities. The emerging transportation leaders who participate in Leadership NACTO make this clear. This inspiring cohort, selected for an eight-month fellowship to learn from and with professional peers, exemplify the focus and commitment of city staff who work build their communities as places for people.

As a leader in city transportation, it’s not enough to have a command of technical concepts, a knack for interpersonal inspiration, or the ability to articulate visions to a skeptical agency or public. Effective leaders in city transportation need to master all of these skills while continuing to expand their knowledge of self, community, and process. While it may sound like a heavy lift, the 2019 Leadership NACTO cohort is up to the task.

Fellows discuss management techniques over breakfast.

Over this year, the Leadership NACTO fellows are going in-depth to hone the skill sets needed to power their cities back home. Fellows met in Cambridge, MA in late spring for three days of moderated exercises designed to facilitate critical conversations and insights. Sessions focused on the concept of clarity and how it relates to defining visions, communicating with staff, and understanding the role of identity in professional environments and relationships. Since effective management boils down to people, having a clear perspective on peoples’ identities is critical for building strong teams–particularly when someone’s identity may diverge from what’s most visible in transportation planning.

Leadership NACTO also toured Cambridge’s groundbreaking bike infrastructure, experiencing the city together and seeing tangible results of the type of work they do. Experiential learning like this is a hallmark of NACTO’s peer learning approach: Implementing well-designed, impactful projects–with and by the community they serve–is a major part of what city transportation professionals work towards. Getting to experience this type of project first-hand is a powerful way for city staff to see what works, speak with the people that helped implement the work, and build a stronger toolkit of designs and processes to apply to their own city’s streets.

Leadership NACTO fellows tour Cambridge’s high-quality bike infrastructure together.

As an organization dedicated to lifting up city staff, Leadership NACTO is a cornerstone of NACTO’s mission. By providing targeted professional and personal development opportunities, as well as the settings to build connections with other emerging leaders, this program helps to incubate the talent and perspectives of the next generation of strong, critical leaders in city transportation. NACTO is thrilled to offer this program; stay tuned for more updates about this and future years’ leaders!