Women In Parking: Turning 2014 Vision Into 2015 Reality
For the past three years, the Women In Parking (WIP) association has worked relentlessly to bring about – and shine a bright light on – the opportunities all organizations within the industry can access to take full advantage of improving and capitalizing on a gender-balanced workforce.
WIP’s presence has changed conversations from wondering why more women don’t stay in parking to ways of ensuring not just retention but attraction of female professionals to our industry.
Through networking events, the association has now connected hundreds of professionals with one another to learn more about respective organizations and create new business opportunities.
And the past year’s Inaugural WIP Conference, held after Parking Industry Exhibition 2014, was a milestone moment in parking history: For the first time ever, professionals from all spectrums came together to learn and discuss with peers the importance of workplace diversity at the individual and company levels.
This effort continues to yield amazing results: For example, WIP is in active discussions with parking associations in other countries that want to include gender balance as part of their long-term strategic planning.
With their active member volunteers, Laz Parking, Passport Parking and Parking Today magazine have proven to be trailblazers within this space, either through their financial support to WIP or by setting and executing key strategies that support all of the above.
As this article goes to publication, more and more organizations continue to join WIP and become involved as member volunteers, all focused on the same, overarching goal.
Whether through one of WIP’s networking events, quarterly “webinars” or casual conversations, countless times the discussions can center on acknowledging that, yes, we all can do a better job with improving the number of female parking professionals in our industry.
But the question remains: What’s the best tactical approach to meeting this objective, one that can be easily implemented and leveraged?
In answering this question, Women In Parking’s Leadership Board has narrowly focused on setting sights on providing ready-to-use solutions, available exclusively to our members, that support each of the three pillars toward continued gender diversity: attracting, retaining and promoting female parking professionals.
Attracting female candidates to an organization is largely driven through recruitment and sourcing practices. To that end, WIP members will be able to evaluate their current program against a best-practices model filled with practical tips, along with pitfalls to avoid, when it comes to recruiting females and males equally for any given organization.
WIP members can also analyze their companies’ “career opportunity web page” to ensure that it’s casting a wide enough net to attract talent and uses an employer branding approach that encourages the passive female candidate to apply.
Once through the company door, two key levers better guarantee female professionals’ retention, contribution and advancement within an organization: networking and mentoring. More than a few studies reveal that women don’t network as often as men simply because they both are more comfortable connecting with their own gender.
Given that networking is the most common gateway to creating business opportunities and personal promotion, women in the parking industry may need to be better equipped to connect with other professionals of both genders.
In 2015, Women In Parking will provide a comprehensive training solution designed to help women sharpen their networking skills and provide all professionals with key ways to identify how to connect easily and effectively. This program will provide the principles of networking to ensure all who participate in it have common definition, and gain a clear understanding of its purpose and value, while putting key learnings easily to practice.
With the continued success of the WIP Mentoring Program, more than a few corporate members have asked how they can adopt a smaller version internally. Members will be able to do exactly that with WIP’s Company Mentoring Program. Through easy-to-follow instructions, any organization will be able to establish an internal mentoring program to connect senior managers with emerging leaders.
The new program will offer guidance on what the mentoring sessions can look like in terms of content; tips for both mentor and mentee to ensure both gain the most value from their time together; and most important, ways for the mentor to provide access for the mentee to learn new aspects of her current or potential future position.
Specific to this WIP member benefit, all who have participated recognize the long-term intrinsic value that comes with a mentoring program: Mentees can learn and discuss their career objectives in a safe environment with seasoned professionals, and, in turn, those mentors have enjoyed contributing to the continued success of their mentees.
Members can look for these solutions to be available starting this quarter, with new programs added every other quarter this year.
WIP’s plans to provide these programs serve two distinct objectives. Members will have access to practical solutions to support their efforts in promoting women in the workplace. And, overarching, parking as whole will continue to take steps in changing the face of the industry to be more inclusive, collaborative, and, most important, sustainable.
To learn more about becoming a WIP member, go to
Colleen Niese, a Principal of The Marlyn Group, is Chairperson of Women In Parking. Contact her at email@example.com.