March is Women’s History Month, a time to highlight women who have made a difference in history as well as share insight into the countless women making an impact on San Antonio. Vision Zero SA interviewed two women who are creating a world of possibilities in the Alamo City as valued partners in our transportation planning efforts.
Christina Castaño / VIA Metropolitan Transit Strategic Planner III
Castaño has been working at VIA for more than 30 years, managing large capital projects and planning studies, determining feasibility and potential implementation of projects.
What challenges have you encountered as a woman advancing through the transportation field?
Throughout my career I’ve had various mentors, both internal and external, who encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and push myself. When I decided it was time to start a family, it was an art and a science. VIA had a childcare center that allowed me to pursue my career and also take care of and love my children closely. I built bonds with other parents who were also in the struggle of caring and working.
How do you incorporate your identity as a woman in your approach to your career and leadership?
VIA encourages me to develop my identity as a Latina, a woman, and a leader. I grew up on the east and southeast side of town, and I am a proud product of Denver Heights and Highland Hills neighborhoods. Both of these areas are near and dear to my heart, and I appreciate how these communities work. I believe I can connect in a unique way with the Hispanic community and with women who use transit. Planning is a holistic field that considers where we live, what we do, and how our community can be an asset to those who live in it. My career gives me a venue to apply my philosophy, and it feels very natural to me.
How do you see the transportation field changing as more women achieve leadership positions?
As I’ve held positions in American Planning Association, Leadership San Antonio, and Women in Transportation Seminar, I’ve seen female leaders who are moving all women in the field forward. Women should be proud of our ability to be compassionate and sincere, and above all to be good listeners. We add a dimension of being in tune with the needs of a community, which will ultimately benefit everyone. We as women, should stand strong together, lift one another up, and always apply our knowledge to our work, plans and projects around us, because the built environment shapes our community.
Amy Avery / Kimberly Horn Transportation Team Leader