Women in TransitTech: Nichole Jordan.• 3 min read
In honor of International Women’s Day and throughout the month of March, Via is proud to profile a number of changemakers driving real innovation in their communities. Enjoy the story below, and then check out the rest of the series.
Challenging the status quo takes diligence, determination, and vision — especially when it comes to an industry that hasn’t seen a seismic shift since the automobile was invented. And, as it turns out, it’s often women who choose to challenge these norms. In honor of International Women’s Day and throughout the month of March, Via is proud to profile a number of changemakers driving real innovation in their communities and inspiring their peers. Enjoy the story below, and then check out the rest of the series here.
Nichole Jordan is the SVP, Global Customer Success at Via. She has a BS in Civil Engineering from UC Davis and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Nichole is an active volunteer and leader for several non-profit entities. She currently serves as the International Technology Chairman for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.®.
What did 10-year-old Nichole want to be when she grew up? How did you evolve from there to your current position in transportation?
Ten-year-old me wanted to be a doctor — until I cut my finger and almost fainted at the sight of blood. I grew up as a military brat, the daughter of a US Navy submariner, and attended seven elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools. I always had my nose in a book and loved math, so I studied civil engineering in college.
What do you think are the most important qualities in a leader? Are there any leaders in particular you look up to?
The most important quality a leader possesses is the ability to create an environment where one can show up and contribute as their full self. We all have different values, communication styles and skill sets. We also have life experiences that influence our decision making. My job as a leader is to know my teammates and support them in a way where they can show up authentically and add value. I look up to Ava DuVernay as a leader. She is a talented director and storyteller, and has used her success to provide opportunities for other women and people of color.
What are the big transit challenges in your community that your team is solving with innovative mobility projects?
I’m excited about the solutions we are providing to improve equity in transportation. Not only are we able to assist cities with increasing access to transportation for those who need it most, but we provide collaboration tools to facilitate community engagement and feedback. It’s important to me that marginalized voices are heard and our software does that with data and public commenting.
In your view, what’s the biggest challenge the transportation industry as a whole will have to tackle in the next 2-5 years?
I’d like to see the industry address environmental impacts more directly. Removing cars from the road and increasing electrification of high-occupancy vehicle fleets is critical to reducing greenhouse gases and environmental sustainability.
Tell us about a defining moment in your professional life that has helped guide you on your path.
A defining moment in my career was when I built a business case for PG&E to sponsor my executive MBA degree. I designed a fellowship program and spent a year getting approvals from the executive leadership team. The program is still in place today and has sponsored several others after me. The lesson learned was to not be afraid to ask for what you want, and don’t give up after hearing “no.”
And finally, what drives you? (Pun intended!)
What drives me is opening doors or creating opportunities for others like me. I had to figure a lot out in life on my own, but I also had strong mentors along the way that helped me become who I am. I want to serve as that person for others.