The EPA Congress: Broadening Thinking and Inspiring for Industry Shifts
By Alejandra “Alex” Argudin, CAPP
Last month, I was honored to speak at the 20th European Parking Association (EPA) Congress and Exhibition in Brussels, Belgium. It was an enormous privilege to represent my country and the International Parking and Mobility Institute (IPMI) at such a prestigious event.
Moreover, I was profoundly proud to be in the company of my counterparts from the European delegation. I was excited about meeting and networking with them and exchanging best practices and experiences about a wide range of cutting-edge topics that impact the parking and mobility business.
International collaboration can advance technology, foster economic vitality, and increase global prosperity. Therefore, learning from each other’s experiences and best practices only make sense if we collectively want to move the parking and mobility agenda forward.
The topics of this year’s Congress ranged from smart parking and mobility to new business models and curb space and urban planning. The latter topic is of utmost importance to me as vice chair of the IPMI because I am genuinely interested in pursuing policies and procedures that will guide the use of the curb and other high-demand urban spaces.
While women are still underrepresented in specific spaces of power, attending the EPA Congress made me realize how far women in parking and mobility have advanced and excelled over time in the U.S. This progress is a source of inspiration punctuated by their hard work, tenacity, and thirst for learning the complexities of this business. They command respect, authenticity, and authority and I support women’s remarkable strides while they are subtly taking a foothold in the industry.
The passage of time has borne multiple fruits for women as the business has changed dramatically over the last decade. I came to the parking business about 15 years ago, when men mainly dominated the industry and the pivotal mission was to generate revenues. I was fortunate to learn the ropes from several men who mentored and encouraged me to grow in the business, expand my vision, and aim higher. As a result, I seized every opportunity for professional development and volunteered for IPMI activities. In addition, I networked with and through mentors, colleagues, and other women who helped me extend my relationships within and outside the parking business.
The knowledge and skills that I acquired throughout this journey culminated with my appointment to chief executive officer of Miami Parking Authority (MPA). I am privileged to lead this amazing organization and the team of top-notch professionals who work harmoniously to transition MPA from a revenue-generating parking organization to a multidisciplinary entity. A leader in the parking and mobility business, MPA integrates technology, fosters economic development, and enhances mobility while building a socially responsible work culture.
Furthermore, I see with great satisfaction that the experience women have earned from working in nontraditional industries is paying high dividends. Women’s career paths are now preparing them to pursue leadership positions in parking and mobility businesses and other industries where their skills are marketable and transferrable. Those choices are expanding women’s thinking processes and broadening their future career options while getting the chance to earn higher salaries.
More importantly, women in nontraditional positions are steadfastly shaking cultural norms and breaking down barriers that challenge traditional expectations, paving the way for other generations of professional women to grow and prosper.
Alejandra “Alex” Argudin, CAPP, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Miami Parking Authority, and Vice-Chair of the IPMI Board of Directors. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.