Point of View


Point of View

 If you’ve ever planned a convention or conference of any sort, you learn every time the true definition of “the devil lives in the details.” No matter how hard one tries to be as organized as ever, there’s typically a realization during the actual event that a small, but significant detail is missed. 
I had that moment happen during the second annual Women In Parking (WIP) Conference April 2 in suburban Chicago, scrambling to catch up when an attendee approached me to have a chat. While I was tempted to be quick with her, what she had to say was worth my time and attention.
She was a first-time attendee of both the Parking Industry Exhibition and WIP conference. 
She shared with me all the institutional knowledge she had gained by attending the educational tracks provided by Parking Today and had never realized the value she could gain by walking its trade show floor. Then she had sat through the WIP morning sessions and was truly excited to think about her career differently and to use the tactics she had gained back in the workplace.
As with all of WIP’s networking events, the feedback received in terms of value and opportunities to learn and connect with new colleagues had again rung true. 
The conference’s Keynote Speaker Tonya Tiggett, CEO of Speak Our Language, gave an energetic talk regarding how to advance your career with both insightful strategies and practical tips that can easily be applied in anyone’s workplace and when building professional relationships. 
Steve Burton, President of Ace Parking, followed by participating in a C-Level Interview that highlighted the past, present and future of the female parking professional and cited several examples of the company’s continued efforts in improving its own gender-based workforce balance. 
The conference’s afternoon was rounded out by Andi Campbell, Vice President of Laz Parking, providing a presentation on how to make networking a part of anyone’s work style, and Vicki Pero, a Principal of The Marlyn Group, sharing the top three competencies to support professionals at all levels in being successful leaders. 
Marjorie Maginn, a former board member of Women In Government, brought the event to a close by imparting her knowledge on ways to improve overall professional female association value. 
As someone said toward the end of the day, “This isn’t your mother’s parking show.” And I tended to agree. 
While continuously learning about the parking industry through events such as the annual PIE show is vital if one wishes to remain competitive at both the individual and company level, what WIP’s conference brings to the table is an opportunity to improve as professionals – a vital complement to learning about the industry itself.
On the flight home from the conference, I reflected on our exchange and realized that the mission of Women In Parking, much like the conference theme this year – “Today’s Vision, Tomorrow’s Reality” – actually is well in motion on a number of fronts. Along with Laz Parking and Brookfield Properties, Parking Today continues to be a Platinum Sponsor of the organization, and John Van Horn, the magazine’s Publisher and Editor, has graciously dedicated this entire issue to Women In Parking for a second year in a row. 
You’ll see that either a WIP Board Leader or one of our members has written the articles; a large number of advertisers have submitted ads specifically dedicated to WIP; and JVH has once again handed the Point of View reins over to yours truly.
You’ll read in this May 2015 issue both the nuts and bolts of current parking trends regarding equipment, technology and audit, along with the intrinsic values related to improving the customer experience, growing your business and, of course, being a member of Women In Parking, regardless of position, industry tenure and, yes, gender.
With gratitude for the endless support placed upon WIP by these amazing patrons comes the responsibility to leverage their generosity. Now well into our fourth year of existence, the WIP Leadership Board recognizes that it is time to take the association to the next level. 
As a first step in that direction, we’ve elected Leadership Board Member Laura Longsworth, Vice President of Parking Operations at Brookfield Properties, to be Chairperson of WIP, as I transition into the Associate Director’s role. 
And we have added Nicolle Judge, President of SkyPark, and Kirsten Dolan, President and COO of One Parking, to the Leadership Board. Both are tenured executives within the industry and bring so much knowledge and experience to the association that will lend well as we look to improve the overall value of membership. 
Longsworth is an accomplished professional, having spent more than 20-plus years in the parking industry. She has earned a reputation for high standards of excellence and deep commitment, given her place in the work world and volunteerism, being a current board member of the Green Parking Council.
The WIP Leadership Board is collectively thrilled and confident that Longsworth will lead the association to an elevated place we may not have seen otherwise. 
Now close to 200 members strong, Women In Parking remains focused on attracting and retaining the female parking professional through continued education, networking and mentorship. 
If you want to gain the practical knowledge and benefits unique to supporting gender diversity in the workplace, become a member and get involved with Women In Parking. You’ll make connections not otherwise possible, learn from different perspectives and, ultimately, enrich your own career and organizational success.
(For more information on WIP, please go to womeninparking.com.)
Colleen Niese, a Principal of The Marlyn Group and outgoing Chairperson of Women In Parking, can be reached at
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Colleen Niese
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