Tag Archives: women

Female Mobility–Movin’ on Up

an adult woman shows strengthBy Carmen Donnell, CAPP

Did you know we recently celebrated National Grilled Cheese Day? And quickly after we celebrated National Take-Out Day? For the record, I coincidentally made a grilled cheese the day before it was recognized and did order take-out on the appropriate day! I digress–however it seems there is a day to recognize almost anything under the sun and, of course, we can all pick and choose which ones to honor based on what is important to each of us.

I imagine at this point you are asking yourself what this has to do with female mobility. Well, we recently celebrated International Woman’s Day, which is a globally recognized day to honor the women in our life, the women of the past who have given us the many freedoms and equalities we have come to expect, and gave us all an opportunity to check in with where we are at today–expose areas that we still need to improve upon as a society, remind ourselves to lift women around us up to fulfill their greatest potential, and check our own biases with regards to the gender gap.

This gap still exists, to a greater or lesser degree based on the part of the world one lives in, but no culture is immune. I am, however, so encouraged by what I have seen in our small ecosystem of parking, mobility, and transportation, and the growth we have realized in the 13 years I’ve been part of this industry. More and more women are taking and earning positions of leadership, finding their voices, and strengthening their own organizations and the organizations that rely on them. Our professional associations and our individual organizations are creating opportunities such a webinars and Q+A panels to address this important topic and uplift all of us–men and women alike.

Females, keep putting yourself out there, know your worth, and go for it! Our industry will continue to benefit from our unique perspectives and skills. So our movement, or mobility, is upwards!

Carmen Donnell, CAPP, is vice president, sales, West, with PayByPhone.

Parking Under the Store

By David Feehan

Yesterday, my wife and I stopped at a Safeway supermarket in Wheaton, Md. The supermarket is part of a mixed-use project with a high-rise apartment building on top, a Safeway on the ground floor, and a parking garage underneath. The apartment is within walking distance of the Metro station–a very good thing. Overall, we found the project quite appealing in terms of location, quality of construction, and amenities.

The idea of having a supermarket on the ground floor has real appeal. Although Wheaton is not a cold-weather city like Minneapolis or Des Moines, it does experience some occasional snow and cold and being able to shop indoors on a rainy day has real appeal.

But who designed the parking garage? The entrance is on the back of the building and signage directing customers to the garage could have been much better. Thankfully, there were large graphics indicating the entrance to the store once inside the garage. But the spaces were so narrowly marked that we watched several shoppers–all women–struggle to open car doors without banging against the adjoining vehicles.

I am particularly sensitive to this issue, because I have a classic 1984 Olds Toronado and I do not appreciate parking lot dings. There was no obvious place to return shopping carts either, so carts were floating around between cars. We witnessed several collisions between loose carts and parked cars.

I’ve written a book recently about designing downtowns for women. The chapter on parking, written by Barbara Chance,  PhD., president and CEO of CHANCE Management Advisors, Inc., raises many important questions. But the one that came to mind as I was parking in this facility was, “Did the designers ask women, particularly women with children, what they liked and disliked about parking garages?” We found in our research that parking garages were the most hated aspect of downtowns among the women we surveyed.

Lesson for parking professionals: Make sure you have a woman on your team when you design a parking facility. They will see things men won’t see. I guarantee it. If you don’t believe me, just ask Barbara at the 2020 IPMI Conference.

David Feehan is president of Civitas Consulting, LLC.

#BalanceForBetter: My Experience

By Alejandra “Alex” Argudin, CAPP

This year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) theme, #BalanceforBetter, couldn’t hit closer to home! As a professional in an unbalanced industry–parking–I have always strived to work hard and be confident about being able to perform at the same level, if not a higher one, than any of my counterparts.

I face everyday challenges feeling that I will come out as the champ. Sometimes I win and most times I learn, which is also winning. My most valuable lesson to date has been taking advantage of the opportunities that have been given to me. As a woman boss, it is my duty to mentor and encourage other women to pursue opportunities and to work hard for a seat at the table. For a woman, it is not different than for anyone else. We shouldn’t back down from something just because it’s out of the norm. On the contrary–that is the opportunity to demonstrate the difference that you can make.

As a mother of two very active baseball boys, the struggle can sometimes become too real. How can one be a professional and at the same time be a good mom, wife, friend, and well-rounded human being? There is no correct answer, but I do know that it takes a village and the magic word is SUPPORT. We need to support each other and let one another know that it is okay to strike a balance. Learning to balance professional and personal life while encouraging other women around me to do the same is very empowering, mostly because the results have always been better than expected.

You quickly realize the type of footprint you leave behind, whether at your workplace, at home, or on those around us. If you don’t find an opportunity, create one and own it. You will be surprised at the impact you can make.

Alejandra “Alex” Argudin, CAPP, is chief operations officer of the Miami Parking Authority.

Economic Development, Women, and Parking

By David Feehan

I have the opportunity to give an Ignite presentation at the annual conference of the International Economic Development Council in Atlanta. Ignite presentations are like mini-TED talks. IEDC is to economic developers what IPI is to parking professionals and what the International Downtown Association (which I used to lead) is to downtown professionals.

The subject of my presentation is based on a new book I co-authored, “Design Downtown for Women – Men Will Follow.” As I prepared my presentation, I thought about my audience, and how the world of parking and the world of economic development (and for that matter, downtown development) are closely interlinked.

I can’t count the number of times I was recruiting a business for a downtown location when the first question I was asked was, “Where will my employees or my customers park?” If I could not provide a satisfactory answer, I knew I could not close the deal.

So, in this age of ride sharing and autonomous vehicles, what are parking professionals supposed to do to support economic development?

First, parking professionals should educate themselves about how economic development professionals do what they do. Parking is not just a matter of supply and demand, building well-constructed and well-designed parking facilities, or managing enforcement programs. Parking professionals need to understand how business leaders think when they are looking for locations. What are the most important issues site selectors have to deal with? For most businesses, the most important issue is: can I attract the talent I need to grow and run my business? And that means providing safe, convenient access for current and potential employees.

In terms of customers and employees, when we were doing the research for our book, we surveyed more than 100 women business leaders. What they told us was that the most hated thing about coming downtown was parking. As parking professionals, we need to understand why this is so, and do everything that we can to correct it.

Women are the most important demographic for any successful business. Women make up 60 percent of college graduates and control more than 50 percent of the private wealth in the U.S. If you are concerned about running a successful parking operation that supports economic development, ignore women at your peril.

David Feehan is president of Civitas Consulting, LLC.