Professional Development

By Ms. Alyssa Rodriguez P.E., PTOE posted 24 days ago

When I worked in the Traffic Engineering Division at the City of Henderson, my new administrative assistant gave me a copy of a Shel Silverstein poem:

When the light is green you go.
When the light is red you stop.
But what do you do
When the light turns blue
With orange and lavender spots?

I keep it pinned on the wall at my desk even now that I work in an entirely different department. It is a great reminder that work (and other parts of life) rarely fit neatly into the categories or situations we learned about in school. When hiring staff, we consider the question of experience: does 20 years of experience mean repeating the same thing 20 times, or does it mean 20 years of new situations and growth? That is what professional development offers: a fresh look at how the work can be completed, especially when the situation isn’t quite what you expect. A recent Harvard Business Review article offered the following: “Future performance of the individual is just as much a function of high-caliber, systematic, intentional skills development as it is of past achievements and qualifications…” (“Identify — and Hire — Lifelong Learners” by Marc Zao-Sanders, May 13, 2021).

Several years ago, an interviewer asked me what was more important—technical knowledge or management skills. While I don’t remember how I answered the question, I think about that question frequently as I progress through different stages of my daily work and volunteer life. Depending on the moment, the answer differs. Thankfully, ITE offers a wide range of options to suit a professional’s learning needs and style, ranging from traditional coursework, webinars, and articles, to podcasts and Virtual Drop-Ins, to full-blown leadership development programs. Much of the content is available locally at the Section-level, adding to the convenience and accessibility.

Make sure to check out the article in this issue of ITE Journal for more information on ITE’s Professional Development program, starting on page 26. The article covers the wide range of career development opportunities available to ITE members, including a robust webinar program, the Learning Hub, partnerships with leading organizations, and more.  The article also explores how ITE has adapted to the pandemic to meet member needs, and will continue to remain flexible as we emerge from COVID-19 to a more virtual world.  ITE offers other  professional development opportunities for volunteers as well, such as running meetings, large and small-scale event planning, maintaining deliverables, managing a volunteer workforce, public speaking, and self-evaluation—all without tangible compensation. Accordingly, the lessons learned are about intrinsic rewards and making the work worthwhile. 

Transportation professionals have a passion for the industry and a curiosity that drives the need for new information. The ITE community supports that growth mindset and facilitates information sharing, collaboration, innovation, and feedback. That way we know where to start when the lights aren’t necessarily red, amber, or green.

This is taken from the President's Message in the July 2021 issue of ITE Journal.