Diversity Committee Spotlight

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WTS Baltimore has formed a Diversity Committee this year chaired by Pauline Tiako. The committee is charged with promoting diversity within the Chapter through hosting events, identifying opportunities during events for diversity presentations, and contributing articles to the Chapter Newsletter to highlight diversity in the transportation field.

Our first diversity feature is an interview with Veronica Cool, Founder and Managing Director of Cool & Associates, LLC.

After 20 years in corporate banking, and simultaneously serving as the Hispanic Liaison, Veronica saw a huge gap in connecting two worlds- She launched Cool & Associates, a management consulting firm to bridge the mainstream world to the Hispanic Market in the United States.  Specializing in an integrated model which results in Client Acquisition, Diverse Talent and Engaging Professional Development.

What does Diversity mean to you and what inspired you to make Diversity your passion?

Veronica: Diversity is so much more than race (black or white), gender (men or women), age (old or young), culture (growing up in the city or the farm), and social standing (growing up with everything or with nothing).  Diversity is the differences that make us who we are!

For many years, I had served as the unofficial Hispanic Liaison to the region responding to questions like “should I translate this into Spanish” or “where do I hire bilingual folks?”  There was a trend of missed economic opportunities and relationships.

Additionally, people were intentionally separated by having different perspectives; there was lack of interaction as everyone lives in his or her own bubble.  This is why I launched my firm: Cool & Associates, LLC to serve as a bridge that connects our various worlds-  So people will gain the richness of one another’s journeys and experiences.

What is Diverse Segment Outreach?

Veronica: Different people consume information (language, media, etc.) differently.

For example, Hispanics are very tech savvy, with approximately 65% of all Latinos having an active FaceBook accounts.  Therefore, it is important to ensure that effective strategies are utilized to reach the different population segments.  If the intended target market is the female baby boomers, then connecting through the church would be a good strategy.  Cool & Associates, LLC specializes in diverse segment outreach: “We get very deep, to understand our clients’ targeted audience and then customized the approach, based on language, culture, socioeconomics, media, etc.”  Everyone responds differently and understanding what resonates is key in effectively engaging people.

Why is Community Outreach an important aspect in any industry?

Veronica: Community Outreach serves to integrate segments of the population that are not actively involved in policymaking, or even basic decision-making. From politics to economics, it is important to all voices are heard.  Attending a Greek, an Ethiopian, or a Nepalese festival fosters interaction and awareness among our communities.

In addition, through Community Outreach we can uncover, develop and motivate the next generation of leaders to follow in the footsteps of the great pioneers who have paved the way for all of us.

Simply, Community and Diverse segment Outreach are bridge-building tactics that emphasize the diversity and richness of our communities.

For additional information on Veronica and Cool & Associates, LLC please contact Veronica Cool at Veronica@CoolAssociatesLLC.com.

For additional information about the Diversity Commitee, please contact Diversity Chair Pauline Tiako at ptiako1@mdta.state.md.us.

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