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League of Railway Women | Q4 2023 Newsletter

President's Message

Dear LRW Members and Supporters,

From our new Mentorship Program launch to LRW’s stellar lineup of educational sessions at Railway Interchange, it’s been a nonstop quarter of activity connecting and cultivating women in rail.

I’m excited to welcome two new members to the Executive Committee: Katie Kachel as secretary and Nicole McKinstry as treasurer. Both will also continue to serve on our board of directors. 

The LRW Hall of Fame is a special award that honors a woman who has been a dedicated contributor and advocate for LRW and has made a lasting impression on the rail industry through her tenure and leadership. At Railway Interchange, LRW had the privilege of inducting some of our outgoing Executive Committee members into the LRW Hall of Fame, including Amanda Patrick (2019-22 LRW president, 2013-23 board member), Emilia Marceta (2016-23 board member), Urszula Soucie (2016-23 board member) and Susan Robertson (2011-15 LRW president, 2015-19 board member).

If you or your company are not LRW members and would like to learn more, please email us at [email protected] or visit Our work is made possible only by the support of our members and corporate partners. For additional engagement and feedback, starting in 2024, we will host bi-annual Platinum Partner Roundtables, which will involve an open discussion with our highest level of corporate partnerships (our platinum partners) and LRW’s executive committee. This will be a wonderful opportunity for LRW leadership to gain valuable feedback from our members and for our members to get to know each other more as well. We will announce the date and time of our first call in the first quarter of 2024.


Sarah Yurasko

2022-24 LRW President

[email protected]

The Track Ahead

Nov. 15-16, 2023: Rail Symposium: Safety & Climate Resiliency on Our Rails, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Dec. 6, 2023: LRW Annual Membership Meeting, Online via Zoom

Jan. 3-6, 2024: NRC Annual Conference & NRC-REMSA Exhibition, Scottsdale, Arizona

For questions or information about events, please email [email protected].

Welcome, New Committee Chairs

LRW welcomes our newest committee chairs:

  • Events Committee Co-Chairs: Andrea Niethold and Daniela Fietta
  • Communications Chair: Emily Rosenquist

Mentorship Program Update

LRW is thrilled to have 45 individuals participating in our Mentorship Program since its relaunch using the MentorCity app. Visit our website for information about how to sign up for this member-exclusive benefit.

Board of Director Vote Coming Soon

LRW members will soon receive an email requesting your vote on a slate of board candidates. Thank you in advance for promptly submitting your vote.


Congratulations to Urszula Soucie, Emilia Marceta, Amanda Patrick and Susan Robertson for their induction into the League of Railway Women Hall of Fame. This prestigious honor is a reflection of their dedication, passion, tireless commitment and outstanding contributions to LRW. 

Urszula Soucie

2016-23 board member

Emilia Marceta

2016-23 board member

Amanda Patrick

2019-22 LRW President

2013-23 Board member

Susan Robertson

2011-15 LRW president

2015-19 board member


Corporate partners provide an extra level of support to LRW and the advancement of women in rail.

The League of Railway Women is happy to announce our featured quarterly Corporate Partner, Dani Cook Barrows, vice president of operations & support services at Trinity Industries Inc.


Dani Cook Barrows has worked at Trinity Industries for more than 27 years. Trinity owns market-leading businesses that provide railcar products and services in North America under the trade name TrinityRail. Trinity is a leading manufacturer of railcars and provides maintenance, leasing and railcar products and services. Throughout her career at Trinity, Dani has held several roles within the organization and had an opportunity to lead some of the most significant projects the company has ever undertaken. The first 25 years of her career were in leading Corporate functions such as Administrative Services, Security, National Accounts, Information Governance, Business Continuity and Legal Operations. Two years ago, Dani was brought into Trinity’s Operations & Support organization.

Dani is also currently the chairman of the board for Design Connect Create. This is a local nonprofit in Dallas that focuses on helping girls realize their potential in STEM and in themselves. Design Connect Create believes girls can design solutions that help them persevere, connect with the world, see the possibilities and create their futures. They offer mentoring, after-school programs and multiple summer camps in coding in Java and Python, physics, engineering and the arts, as well as a biotech camp at Rice University.

How were you introduced to the rail industry?

I joined Trinity in 1995 because I wanted to move into a larger company with outstanding growth opportunities. I spent 25 years supporting the organization in various corporate roles and got the chance to join the Operations & Support Services organization in 2021. In this role, I oversee Trinity’s world headquarters location and support staff, work closely with all our facilities management teams and intersect with every area within Production & Support. I am currently responsible for Business Continuity for all Trinity locations and function as the chief of staff for our EVP, Operations and Support Services. Working so closely with our factories and supporting our manufacturing and maintenance operations in the U.S. and Mexico has been the highlight of my career.

How did you become involved with LRW?

Trinity has had a long-standing relationship with LRW, and we have an extensive and active women’s group that meets regularly. The Women of Trinity (WoT) team promotes LRW as an excellent tool to connect, network and learn from each other. I joined LRW as part of the WoT recruiting initiative and believe the LRW is an outstanding way for women to become more active in the rail industry.

What projects are you currently working on?

TrinityRail prides itself in being an industry leader in safety, quality and on-time delivery. My teams are highly focused on keeping our factories safe, staffed with highly trained and skilled personnel, and operating efficiently. To support these efforts, we are working on several critical projects. One example is our Facilities Engineering team, which is completing a 360◦ Facility Condition Assessment in partnership with our IT, HR, EH&S and Security teams to ensure our factories are in peak performing condition capable of supporting our operational goals. Our Technical Training organization is working cross-functionally with these groups to standardize the delivery of technical training to our workforce, ensuring we maintain highly skilled and proficient personnel building and maintaining the highest quality freight railcars on the market. Lastly, our Business Continuity team works across the enterprise to review existing plans and deploy a new tool to support the company during a business interruption.


What is one project that you are proud of?

I have had the opportunity to manage several significant projects and the pleasure of influencing how we do things at Trinity over the years. I am most proud of several projects, such as developing Trinity’s Business Continuity Program, creating the company’s Records Retention Program, the initial rollout of indirect procurement programs, participating in several acquisitions, the spin-off of our infrastructure businesses in 2018, and the organizational redesign after that spin-off was complete.

A more recent project that I am most proud of is our 360◦ Facility Condition Assessment. This project is highly focused on ensuring our factories operate safely and efficiently and provide a great employee experience for our teams working hard to build and maintain the highest quality railcars in the industry.


What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I have three daughters and seven grandchildren. My husband and I love to travel to visit family as they all live out of state. You could say we stay busy! I am an avid learner, so I enjoy reading anything where I can learn new things, and I am secretly addicted to any kind of puzzle you can put in front of me: jigsaw, crossword, Soduko, anything that makes me think. My husband and I also have a 1956 Chevy Bel Aire that we love to drive and take to car shows, and we have an Airstream and love to get out and camp, bike and hike.

Do you have advice for women in rail?

Historically, the rail industry has been a male-dominated business, but we are seeing a welcome shift. More women are now playing key roles in leading organizations, not only in rail supply but in railroads as well. Trinity is fortunate to have our first female president and CEO, Jean Savage, who has brought a wealth of experience and discipline into our organization. That being said, I have three pieces of advice for women wanting to excel in the rail industry.

  1. I recently spoke to our Women of Trinity teams in Mexico and shared with them my journey throughout my tenure at Trinity. I told them that opportunity abounds if you use your knowledge, skills, courage, relationships and grit. Go after the roles you want. A colleague recently said that “women wait until they think they have 100% of the right skills for a job before they take a shot. Men will just think they can do it and go for it." We need to find our confidence, be brave, use our voices, step out and take on our desired roles.
  2. Remember the importance of valuing yourself and your family. Work-life balance is critical. You can't pour from an empty cup. Take time to refuel yourself, whether it's taking some vacation, spending time with friends or family, or even taking a professional development class. Pour into yourself so you have something to pour into others.
  3. Keep learning. Every day, there is something new to learn, and make sure you read. It is a great stress reliever, and you will learn something in the process. My two book recommendations for any woman would be “Lead Like A Woman” by Deborah Smith Pegues and “Multipliers” by Liz Wiseman (my all-time favorite book for leaders).


“Dani Cook Barrows is a true example of leadership and professionalism; her more than 27-year commitment to Trinity speaks for itself. Dani is an institution within the company, and she has left a deep and lasting positive mark on Trinity’s culture, people, and processes. Dani’s impact on the organization stretches beyond measure, and she has helped make Trinity the successful company we are today.” – Jean Savage, President and CEO of Trinity


“Dani Cook Barrows is unique and an absolutely invaluable member of our team. Since my time at Trinity, having Dani on my team has proven to be priceless. She can always be trusted to face every challenge head-on and always produces outstanding results. When she is given any task, big or small, she will carry it out, and I know it will be accomplished in a stellar fashion.” – Kevin Poet, EVP, Operations and Support


“I have worked with Dani Cook Barrows for more than 17 years, and if there is one thing I learned at Trinity, it is that if you hit any speedbumps and need help, she is the one to call. Dani has made a name for herself in a male-dominated world by never backing down from a challenge and making the impossible possible. Dani has worked her way up throughout 27 years at the company and is now one of Trinity’s senior female leaders. Dani is a true definition of a leader and is a consummate professional, and I would put her up against anyone in this industry. " – Jack Todd, Vice President of Public Affairs

Do you know an exceptional Woman or Team in the rail industry?

Are you or is someone you know interested in participating in an LRW Member Spotlight? Please reach out and send suggestions to [email protected].



Catch up on our recent events

Southwest Association of Rail Shippers Semi-Annual Meeting, Sept. 27-28, 2023

Coronado, California

LRW would like to thank Lisa Jolly, Folu Adepitan, Gail Molek, Lory Whitley, Bruce Mann and the entire SWARS Leadership Team and Board for supporting LRW and introducing us to the SWARS attendees. We look forward to our continued partnership.

Meeting and networking among League of Railway Women (LRW) members at the Luxury California Wine Tasting benefiting the George J. Elking Jr. Scholarship Fund at the SWARS Semi-Annual Meeting in September 2023 in Coronado, California. LRW Director at Large Michele Malski and LRW Membership Chair Shundrekia Stewart provided warm greetings at the entrance.

LRW Annual Conference/Railway Interchange, Oct. 1-4, 2023

Indianapolis, Indiana

Reception at Indiana Rail Road

The Railroad of the Future: Trends and Transformation session

Katie Kachel, Daniela Fietta, Claire Levesque, Davida Flowers, Vanessa Knapton

Tom Murta, Katie Kachel, Sarah Yurasko

Sarah Yurasko, Miranda Cross, Tiffany Wenrich, Christine Kalil, Lisa Tackach, Kathryn Keeler

Nicole McKinstry, Trish Haver, Kathy Gainey, Andrea Niethold, Katie Kachel


The 2023 LRW Member of the Year Award was recently presented to Shundrekia Stewart of TrinityRail. Shundrekia’s impressive 31-year career in the rail industry includes 27 years in various roles with BNSF and the last four years with TrinityRail, currently as the director of sales – energy. She has been an active member of the LRW since 2019 and has served as the Membership Committee chair since 2022. In the role as Membership Committee chair, Shundrekia’s dedication to the LRW mission has contributed greatly to the growth and sustainability of the organization with our members and business partners.

Within Trinity, Shundrekia is the co-leader of the “Women of Trinity” ERG and is a strong advocate for the rail industry and is dedicated to the success of those around her. 

She serves on the Advisory Committee for the Girls Scouts of America and recently hosted several Girl Scouts and staff for an event at the TrinityHQ, showcasing careers within TrinityRail, manufacturing and STEM. Her leader, Michael Frey, SVP – energy, construction & metals, submitted Shundrekia’s nomination and summed it up by saying, “Shundrekia truly deserves this recognition, as she lives the values and mission of the LRW every day.” We could not agree more! Congratulations, Shundrekia, and thank you for working so tirelessly to advance women in rail.


Search jobs online, like the curated opportunities below, to find the next step

in your career.

Lead/Project Controls Specialist Cost - Philadelphia


The Project Controls Specialist (Cost Engineering & Control) is responsible for using and improving existing enterprise tools, systems and work processes to assist Project Managers in effective development, management control and reporting on budget estimates and progress measurement for a moderately complex project. Individuals in this role may develop project dashboards, schedules, cost performance reports and risk registers in close collaboration with the assigned Project Manager and other team members. Learn more.

Director of Rail Planning and Operations

Front Range Passenger Rail District

The District is hiring a Director of Rail Planning and Operations to guide the technical vision and implementation of Front Range Passenger Rail (FRPR). The Director of Rail Planning and Operations is a senior-level position responsible for bringing rail expertise to the District. The Director will provide the leadership, management, and oversight necessary to ensure the District has clear goals and appropriate strategies to advance rail policy. Learn more.

Commuter Rail Operations Manager


TriMet is looking for a Commuter Rail Operations Manager to manage commuter rail vehicle maintenance operations; assist the Director of Commuter Rail in the management of contracted railroad services for commuter rail transportation and maintenance of way operations; manage the coordination of TriMet support services for commuter rail operations; and assist in managing compliance of commuter rail operations with all applicable regulations. Learn more.

Explore these jobs and more at LRW's Career Board,

Are you seeking more diverse candidates for your job openings?

Post your position on the LRW Career Board and boost your exposure. 

We Encourage Your Input
Please contact us at [email protected], if you have suggestions for newsletter content or if you would like to contribute.
About the League of Railway Women

Founded in 1997, the League of Railway Women (LRW) is committed to improving the railroad industry by connecting and cultivating women in rail. Our mission is to advance the representation, recognition and opportunities for women, thereby promoting diversity and improving the business results of the railroad industry. Learn more at

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