Rep. Duckworth distinguishes herself as a U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter pilot. She suffered severe combat wounds, losing both her legs and damaging her right arm. Duckworth was the first female double amputee from the war and was awarded the Purple Heart for her combat injuries. She previously served as assistant secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs in the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs and as the director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Honorable Norman Y. Mineta, former U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary, is the honorary chairman for the CWWMN breakfast event that salutes ten women representing the full-range of transportation disciplines. He currently provides counsel and strategic advice to clients of Hill & Knowlton, a global communications consultancy.
"I appreciate this opportunity to be the honorary chairman for Celebrating Women Who Move the Nation during Women's History Month," says Secretary Mineta. "Women and minorities have always been underrepresented and underappreciated in the transportation field and so it is fitting that these outstanding women are being honored for their valuable contributions to the transportation profession."
Named one of the "Top 20 Preachers under 40 to Watch," Rev. Matthew L. Watley, executive minister at Reid Temple AME Church-North Campus in Silver Spring, MD, will deliver the keynote address at CWWMN. Rev. Watley's influence reaches beyond the metro Washington, DC area. He has authored several books and served on a special commission charged with evaluating Non-Governmental Organizations in the Republic of South Africa.
In addition to Congresswoman Duckworth, the other CWWMN honorees and the transportation modes they represent include: Gina Adams, corporate vice president - Government Affairs at FedEx for the Private Sector; Rosemarie Andolino, commissioner at the Chicago Department of Aviation for the Aviation Sector; Anne Canby, director of the OneRail Coalition for the Advocacy Sector; Gloria Jeff, former director for the Michigan Department of Transportation and former associate director of the Transportation Operations Administration at the Washington, DC Department of Transportation for the Highway Sector; Joan McDonald, commissioner for the State of New York Department of Transportation for the State Government Sector; Cheryl McKissack Daniel, president and CEO at McKissack & McKissack, and Deryl McKissack, president, CEO, and board chairwoman at McKissack & McKissack of DC, co-honorees for the Private Sector; and Therese McMillan, deputy administrator at the Federal Transit Administration at the U.S. Department of Transportation for the Federal Government Sector. Helen Dale, special assistant and strategic coordinator to the Director of Human Resources at the Maryland Transportation Authority, will receive the Shirley DeLibero Award, named for the first female board chair for COMTO.
COMTO was founded in 1971 on the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC, the Conference Of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) was created to provide a forum for senior-level minority professionals in the transportation industry. The organization encompasses individuals, organizations, transportation agencies, non-profits and Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs). From highways and roads to mass transit systems; from subways to rail systems; and from port authorities to airports, COMTO members represent every facet of the transportation industry. They are the presidents and chief executive officers who determine the direction of major transportation systems and the mechanics and operators who ensure the safe passage of millions of transportation riders every day.