A Leader Not Parked in Convention


A Leader Not Parked in Convention

My trajectory into the parking industry was not a deliberate choice but rather an unanticipated journey I’ve come to embrace wholeheartedly. 


From my humble beginnings 17 years ago as a frontline parking officer to eventually becoming the youngest president of the British Parking Association, my path has been unconventional yet rewarding. This journey has instilled in me a unique perspective, prompting me to pose questions often overlooked in our sector.


One such question concerns the impact of gender equality on the parking industry. How does diversity within our ranks influence our performance, relationships with the public, and client interactions? 


This curiosity has fueled my dedication to championing topics such as frontline team support, diversity promotion, amplifying underrepresented voices, and bolstering the safety of women in transportation networks.


To feel safe in the freedom to share views and opinions without fear of reprisal, to feel safe when walking from your vehicle to your next destination, or to feel safe when carrying out your daily duties is a basic need. 


Think of it as a foundation for a more creative and productive world, such as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Safety is a basic need at the bottom of the pyramid; without it, we would be unable to grow and thrive.


Amidst the backdrop of the pandemic, I collaborated with a respected industry counterpart  to revive and relaunch a women-in-parking community within the UK. The outcomes were indeed profound. 


Our initial open dialogue sessions served as a platform for members to candidly share their experiences and perspectives, fostering discussions on concerns, past encounters, and queries that might otherwise have remained unaddressed. 


Since its inception, LinkedIn’s Women in Parking community has witnessed an impressive surge, now comprising 443 members. These deliberations have precipitated tangible outcomes, including the formulation of policies promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion, the integration of women’s safety considerations into car park design and safety audits, and a marked increase in female representation within the governance roles of our trade association.


For frontline teams, the extent of violence and abuse suffered by frontline parking management staff is shameful. Abuse is an everyday reality, and a basic search on the internet returns distressing incidents where parking enforcement officers are routinely threatened with physical violence, attacked with weapons, and even purposely struck by moving vehicles.


We bear a responsibility to reshape the narrative and drive substantive change. Whether we operate in frontline roles, management positions, policy development, or advocacy, each of us holds the power to effect positive transformation. For me, this power lies in fostering dialogue.


This belief in the transformative potential of conversation inspired the inception of Parking Live—a platform dedicated to facilitating discussions among industry professionals. 


Parking Live serves as a conduit for individuals to share their experiences, expertise, and insights on topics they are passionate about, fostering collaboration and catalysing positive change within our sector.


Since its establishment, Parking Live has united professionals from around the globe to delve into a wide array of subjects, including the social equity impact of parking, shifts in transportation behavior, bolstering safety measures, and supporting veteran communities. 


My journey in the parking industry has taught me that our work transcends mere regulations and parking spaces. It is about cultivating inclusive, safe, and accessible environments that empower individuals to flourish. By embracing dialogue and collective action, we can forge a future where parking helps to enhance the quality of life for all.


To find out more about Parking Live, visit www.parking-live.com or join the conversation by finding us on LinkedIn to follow our page. Alternatively, you can reach us at info@parkinglive.co.uk.


Jade Neville is the Market Engagement Strategist at Trellint. She can be reached at jade.neville@trellint.com.

Article contributed by:
Jade Neville, Trellint
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