3/2022 / Insight

Celebrating the Women Making History at Cavnue

Type: Insight

Throughout history, women have made monumental contributions to the fields of transportation and technology. From Mary Anderson, who patented the first windshield wiper in 1903 and the “Rosie the Riveters” of World War II fame, to Elizabeth Dole, the first female Secretary of Transportation and Mary Barra, the first female CEO of an automaker—this industry has a long legacy of female-led innovation and leadership.

From Day 1, Cavnue has been working to build a diverse team across all aspects of our business. Today, women make up 40% of the growing Cavnue team—outpacing the female representation in automotive (26.1%)1, tech (25%)2, and transportation (15%)3 workforces.

As we pursue our mission to design and deploy the roads of the future, it is crucial that we continue this momentum and convene a Cavnue team that consists of differing points of view and varying backgrounds and experiences. Unique perspectives not only spark creativity and innovation, but also ensure we are designing transportation systems that are safer, more efficient, and more equitable for all. 

Join us as we celebrate some of the women making history here at Cavnue:

Jannette Choi, Product Manager of Software Applications

Jannette is responsible for driving the product definition, strategy, and long-term vision for the core of Cavnue’s software product.

Q: In your own words, what is the future of the roads?

JC: I believe in a future where our roads are safer, more efficient, more eco-friendly, and more equitable for all.

Q: What enticed you to join the Cavnue team?

JC: It seems almost intuitive to join a team of smart individuals with diverse backgrounds to improve and transform transportation, which touches a diverse set of individuals nearly every day.


Ayesha Khader, Data Engineer

Ayesha is responsible for sourcing and stewarding high-quality and reliable data assets used across the Cavnue enterprise.

Q: What is something you are most proud of in your career?

AK: I have always been very proud of being a woman in engineering. More specifically, one of my greatest accomplishments came while I was pursuing my undergraduate degree in computer engineering at Ryerson University where I was part of a team which competed in the annual Ontario Engineering Competition. My engineering partner and I won first place in the competition for a project focused on a more efficient and affordable solution for a specific healthcare procedure.

Q: What enticed you to join the Cavnue team?

AK: I have always been drawn to the world of technology and innovation. I believe that to make a technological idea come to life, all aspects of the ecosystem must work together to nurture it. To make self-driving cars a reality, I believe roads and transportation systems need to support that evolution. Cavnue’s vision is to create that symbiotic system for roads and vehicles and I joined to help materialize it. 


Kristen Duckett, Head of People and Talent

Kristen is responsible for attracting, retaining, and developing outstanding people to fuel Cavnue’s growth.

Q: What is something you are most proud of in your career? What is your biggest accomplishment?

KrD: After 10+ years in more traditional Human Resource roles, I transitioned to a space that was completely new to me and joined an emerging technology team in a new role that I had personally pitched to the group’s leader. Was it both scary and exhilarating to jump feet first into something I knew little about? Yes. But I learned more in those 18 months—both professionally and personally—than the prior few years combined. If you have an opportunity to try a new role, do it. And if you don’t see the opportunity in front of you, seek one out.

Q: What is the impact that you’re hoping to leave on society during your career?

KrD: I firmly believe people want to do good work and make a difference. Often, they need opportunity and someone to champion them, through both success and disappointment. I’ve had the good fortune to build and lead some incredible teams throughout my career and many of these employees have gone on to lead their own incredible teams. I would hope that the example I’ve set has a perpetual ripple effect as more great men and women leaders “pay it forward” for others.

Q: What advice would you give your 10 year old self?

KrD: Don’t take the easy path. Accomplishment is so much sweeter when it’s hard-fought. Integrity is everything. Listen to your parents—they know what they’re talking about. Find something to smile about every day.


Megan Brock, Manager of Strategy & Operations

Megan is responsible for developing strategic and operational insights to support Cavnue’s teams in delivering the roads of the future. 

Q: As a woman in this industry, what perspective are you aiming to bring to the table? 

MB: I think a lot about how my day and travel needs may look a lot different than others. As people that have a say in what the future of our transportations systems look like, I think that it is our responsibility to consider what we don’t know or experience for ourselves. This is the perspective I aim to bring to conversations about who and what we plan for on our roads.

Q: What advice would you give your 10 year old self?

MB: I would tell a younger me to trust myself. There will be enough people in life that will question you; you don’t need to be one of them!


Laila Mattos, Director of Technical Programs

Laila is responsible for leading Cavnue’s technical program management efforts.

Q: As a woman in this industry, what perspective are you aiming to bring to the table?

LM: This is an industry that can really benefit from taking an inclusive stance. Whether I bring a perspective as a woman, or a parent, or a scientist-turned-engineer-turned-leader, I feel that adding my voice to the mix helps shape solutions that can benefit more customers or stakeholders. 

Q: What is something you are most proud of in your career? What is your biggest accomplishment?

LM: A common theme in my career, starting with my PhD research work, has been to build something out of (almost) nothing. I am proud to have built a number of factories, laboratories, and instrumentation from scratch that helped others do their work and achieve their goals. Behind these accomplishments is the crown jewel: the amazing teams I’ve built or had the luck to be a part of.

Q: How do you approach challenges?

LM: Always with persistence. It takes a lot of dysfunction to make me give up on anything. Over the years, I’ve also learned to consider different points of view before deciding the best solution to a problem or challenge. Trusting a team to help us overcome challenges is always better than going at it alone.


Christine Simon, Director of State & Local Government Affairs

Christine is responsible for leading Cavnue’s public policy initiatives and maintaining strategic relationships with state and local public sector partners

Q: What enticed you to join the Cavnue team?

CS: What excites me about being on the Cavnue team is the chance to disrupt the conversation around conventional transportation infrastructure.

Q: In your own words, what is the future of the roads?

CS: Roads are a fundamental component to keeping our communities moving. The future of roads supports all types of mobility to operate efficiently and safely.


Katelyn Davis, Communications Lead

Katelyn is responsible for leading Cavnue’s internal and external communications efforts.

Q: What enticed you to join the Cavnue team?

KaD: I’ve always been very mission driven in my career so when the opportunity arose at the intersection of automotive and technology that will significantly improve the safety, efficiency, and accessibility of our roads, I knew I had found my match. 

Q; What is your biggest accomplishment?

KaD: To date, my biggest accomplishment has been in writing a book on this very topic—female-led mobility and projects from around the U.S. This book is a collection of testimonials and case studies which illustrate the the vital importance of women’s involvement and representation across automotive and transportation.  


Shelby Winkler, Vice President of Program Management

Shelby is responsible for leading the execution of Cavnue’s product development lifecycle, from defining its requirements to evaluating the finished product. She provides corporate leadership on how to design, integrate, and manage complex systems.

Q: As a woman in this industry, what perspective are you aiming to bring to the table?

SW: My goal is to demonstrate on a daily basis that leaders can be empathic and trustworthy while delivering on quality and timely results that have a monumental, positive impact on the planet and the people.

Q: What is something you are most proud of in your career? What is your biggest accomplishment?

SW: In 2006, it was reported that the airbag caused death toll was finally nearing zero among adults and a year later the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported zero child fatalities due to airbag deployment. Seven years of my work was spent calibrating and testing airbags to make vehicular travel safer, and to see this hard work paying off with lives saved is one of my biggest accomplishments. 

Q: How do you approach challenges?

Solving problems is the core of engineering. We approach challenges using knowledge, data, communication, and team work to discover, invent, and deliver solutions that work.


Sharene Badiola, Chief of Staff of Technology & Product

Sharene is responsible for keeping the operational drum beat for the Product and Tech org, focusing on communication flow and culture throughout the organization.

Q: What advice would you give your 10 year old self?

SB: I would tell my younger self to enjoy where you are and savor the moment. It’s important not to grow up too quickly. As an adult, it is too easy to lose sight of those moments of pure joy and wonder. I’d also tell myself to explore your curiosity and fearlessness–they are great gifts that are uniquely yours. Lastly, I’d encourage myself to participate in school, sports, and other activities because the skills you develop in these spaces, such as teamwork and collaboration, are invaluable as you journey through life. 


Christina Durand, Senior Roadway Engineer

Christina is responsible for Cavnue’s right-of-way design and innovation and traffic operations across multiple operating environments.

Q: As a woman in this industry, what perspective are you aiming to bring to the table?

CD: I want people to see that women are creative and innovative and the skills we bring to the industry are invaluable. 

Q: What enticed you to join the Cavnue team?

CD: Technology in the transportation industry is constantly evolving. I’m excited to be a part of that and work with a team leveraging these new technologies to create safer and more efficient roads. 

Q: What advice would you give your 10-year-old self?

CD: You are strong enough to move mountains. Never be afraid to go after the things you want in life.


Rebecca Shen, Senior Technical Program Manager

Rebecca is responsible for supporting technical programs at Cavnue including software and machine learning. 

Q: How do you approach challenges?

RS: When facing a new challenge I first start with taking a deep breath, assess what tools and resources I have at my disposal, list any knowns and unknowns, define what success looks like, and I like to seek out a mentor for guidance whenever I can. From there, I proceed with small, incremental steps where I can assess my progress along the way. 

Q: As a woman in this industry, what perspective are you aiming to bring to the table?

RS: We are engineering and improving the world we live in where women comprise roughly half of the population. I aim to bring myself and my perspective as a member of that population to make it better for a world for all of us. Throughout my career, I have been the only woman in the room far too many times and—while my contributions and my voice are not necessarily based on my being a woman but, perhaps, informed by it—I’m acutely aware of the pressure and the responsibility to be the sole representative of my gender. At the same time, I believe my presence in the room often amplifies the atmosphere of reflection and an affirmation for diversity of perspectives.  


Join Us at Cavnue

As Cavnue continues to grow, it remains our mission to build an incredible team of employees throughout the United States. We believe that great ideas and great work come from bringing together people with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. It is at that intersection that truly revolutionary work can be accomplished. Learn more about how we can work together to design the roads of the future at www.cavnue.com/careers


1 US Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2021). Table 18: Employed persons by detailed industry, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity [numbers in thousands]. [Data set]. Current Population Survey.

2 Kawamoto, Dawn. “2021 Women In Tech Trends.” Built In, 29 November 2021, https://builtin.com/women-in-tech/game-changing-developments-2021. Accessed 25 February 2022.

3 Philbrick, Karen. “Women Marching to the Top of the Transportation Industry.” Mineta Transportation Institute, 30 March 2021, https://transweb.sjsu.edu/press/Women-Marching-Top-Transportation-Industry. Accessed 25 February 2022.