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Secretary Richards receives awards for efforts on diversity, human trafficking

June 29, 2018
By: Ellerie Krot

Secretary Richards receives awards for efforts on diversity, human trafficking

PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards has continually been an advocate for women and diversity in transportation and government. Recently, she received several awards recognized her efforts in promoting diversity and ending human trafficking. 

“As the first woman secretary of transportation in Pennsylvania, I strive to consistently promote the important role of women in transportation,” Richards said. “The department embraces the opportunity to combat the horrors of human trafficking through employee education. We serve millions through our driver incensing centers and are happy to lend ourselves to the undertaking of this important cause.”

glass comto award

Richards was this year’s winner of the WTS International Woman of the Year award, which honors a woman who is an outstanding role model in transportation. Richards also won the award at the regional level from both WTS Central PA and WTS Pittsburgh, making her eligible for the international award.

She also received the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) 2018 Celebrating Women Who Move the Nation Award in recognition of her professional achievements and exemplary leadership in the transportation industry. 

secretary richards on a city rooftop with glass city and state award

To mark Women’s History Month in February, City and State PA, a multimedia news firm dedicated to coverage of Pennsylvania’s state and local government, honored Pennsylvania women doing remarkable work in politics, health care, education, and nonprofits. The City and State PA’s 2018 Above and Beyond Distinguished Service Award marked Richards’ “significant improvements in projects and community relationships at PennDOT.”

Richards also received the Villanova CSE Justice Done Award, which names her as an ally in the fight to end sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation in Pennsylvania. Richards was instrumental in creating training for all PennDOT employees, and launching a campaign to ensure that everyone who works in the most critical areas of transportation have the tools they need to recognize such behavior. 

secretary richards with large group of women celebrating justice done award

As part of her advocacy for women and diversity, Secretary Richards has initiated the Moving Women Forward tour, with stops at colleges across the state to spark discussion on the topic of women and minorities pursuing careers and leadership positions in transportation and public service. Future events have been planned for Erie and in the Lehigh Valley areas in the fall.

Follow Secretary Richards on social media — Facebook and Twitter.


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