View as Webpage

League of Railway Women | Q3 2023 Newsletter

President's Message

Dear LRW Members and Supporters,


I hope that this summer finds you well and that you are able to take some time to rest and recharge.


Our team continues to work to connect and cultivate women in rail. Here are some upcoming highlights:

  • LRW members can view this year’s previous webinars by logging onto and clicking on “webinar archives.” 
  • We are excited about our upcoming presence at Railway Interchange as an educational partner with RSI. I hope that many of you are able to join us in Indianapolis on Oct. 3-4.
  • We would love to have additional members serve on our committees. For more information, please contact [email protected].

As always, watch your email and our social media and website,, for additional opportunities to connect with LRW and our membership.


Sarah Yurasko

2022-2024 LRW President

[email protected]

The Track Ahead

October 1-4, 2023: Railway Interchange, Indianapolis

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

Welcome New Q2 2023 Corporate Partner!

New Mentorship Program Coming Soon

The Mentorship Committee is working hard to launch a new program this summer. We'll be using the MentorCity platform. Watch for more details mid-August. Questions? Contact Maggie Vuono at [email protected]

Scholarship Program Update

The Scholarship Committee has received great applications for the Connie Sumara and Future of Railroading Scholarships. If you want to join the scholarship committee and participate in the application review process, please email [email protected]. Winners will be announced in August, and their bios will be included in the next newsletter.


Railway Interchange

Oct. 3-4, 2023

Indiana Convention Center

Indianapolis, Indiana

The League of Railway Women is pleased to participate as an educational partner with the RSI Technical Conference at Railway Interchange, where railway professionals from around the globe will come together to exhibit, network and learn.


LRW sessions will include:

  • Growing the Next Generation of Leaders: Obstacles, Inclusion, Innovation 
  • Rail Security: External Threats and the Role You Play
  • Women Conductors: What is your Why?


LRW’s featured speaker will be Mary Carlson Bis. Mary is Amtrak’s senior director of Emergency Management. She has over 25 years of experience directing emergency management, business continuity and preparedness programs, including training and exercises, post-incident analysis and corrective action planning. Mary's presentation, How Amtrak Partners to Improve Incident Response, will focus on the importance of partnerships and collaboration in the emergency management context.


Register today at and select the "Education Partner Associated with RSI (LRW)” option.


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, La Shelle Pearson TSSP, WSO-CSS, Engineering Project Officer in Canadian National Railway’s Signals and Communications Department.


La Shelle Pearson serves as an Engineering Project Officer for Canadian National Railway’s Signals and Communications Department. La Shelle’s primary role is coordinating and delivering special capital signals and communications projects for U.S. and Canadian territories. Her daily responsibilities include creating and upholding project deadlines and budgets, ensuring the correct allocation of project resources and leading multidisciplinary teams. La Shelle ensures that projects are delivered on time and within budget while simultaneously adding value to CN’s vision. In addition to this role, she serves as Project Manager for proactive risk mitigation special projects, such as Wheel Impact Load, Hot Box and Acoustic Bearing Detection Systems for CN’s Mechanical Department.

La Shelle began her career in transportation in 2015 as an Infrastructure Manager for Memphis Area Transit Authority to restart Memphis' main trolley system that failed due to safety issues. La Shelle managed internal and external team members while overseeing the restoration of all related infrastructure: track, overhead contact system, facilities and substations. She also coordinated full-scale safety exercises using the Homeland Security Exercises and Evaluation Program (HSEEP). La Shelle and the team relaunched the Memphis Main Street Trolley system on April 30, 2018.

As a woman in the male-dominated field of transportation, she consistently goes above and beyond in her roles to stand out amongst her peers. Since beginning her career in transportation, she has completed over 40 certifications and courses in management, safety, security and infrastructure to make herself a vital and well-rounded asset to the transportation industry. One of her certifications is the Federal Transit Administration's Transit Safety and Security Program Certificate (TSSP) from the United States Department of Transportation. La Shelle is also a World Certified Safety and Security Specialist in transportation.

La Shelle has a vast knowledge of safety and security principles, which apply to transit system safety, operations and management. She received her Infrastructure Protection Certificate from Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (A&M), which provided her with critical infrastructure security and homeland security skills through an in-depth examination of key concepts based on community-focused planning, integrated risk management, private-public partnerships and whole community resilience strategies.

In 2023, La Shelle became chair of CN’s Women’s Employee (WE) Resource Group (ERG), upholding the WE mission to support, attract and promote female employees at CN. As chair, La Shelle leads a steering committee of five members and a membership base of more than 400 CN employees. She creates programming and opportunities for professional development, retention, support and leadership potential. La Shelle was a founding member of CN’s WE ERG in 2020 and served as the Mentorship Subcommittee Lead from 2020 until early 2023. Under her leadership as mentorship chair, several programs were created to provide mentorship for the women of CN by cultivating professional relationships and support in an environment where women feel safe to collaborate towards promoting career growth and tolerance of diverse backgrounds. La Shelle creates a space that allows the voices of all employees to be heard and brings awareness to CN’s leadership team to influence positive change. 

La Shelle is a volunteer member of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) and a member of the World Safety Organization (WSO). She has served as a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) regionals competition judge for the SMASH Illinois chapter, an education program committed to eliminating the barriers faced by underrepresented people of color in science, technology, engineering and math. She also is a CN representative for Black Women in Science and Engineering (BWise), where she advances BWise’s vision of significantly impacting the diversity of the STEM pipeline, both corporate and academic, from beginning to end. La Shelle serves as a chair for Kennedy Cares, an organization that serves the homeless community in her hometown of Jackson, Tennessee. 

In La Shelle’s free time, she enjoys spending quality time with family, finding new learning opportunities for self-improvement, traveling, running 5k's and spoiling her Mini Golden Doodle grandpup.


“La Shelle embodies resiliency, curiosity and the drive for continuous improvement. La Shelle’s commitment to CN runs deep, and her dedication to the company and to the support and development of her fellow railroaders is nothing less than inspirational.”

– Janet Drysdale, Senior Vice President and Chief Officer Stakeholder Relations President and CEO

“La Shelle is an exceptional colleague and a true pleasure to work with on the Women's Employee Resource Group (WE ERG). Her unwavering passion for the cause, coupled with her intelligence and trailblazing spirit, make her an invaluable asset to our WE ERG and our CN family.” – Laura Raimondo, Senior Manager of Financial Planning


“La Shelle is a trailblazer in her field and at CN, helping to break the bias for future generations of women in STEM professions.” – Andrea Niethold, Director, U.S. Government 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

LRW joined Amtrak for a conversation with leaders from Amtrak’s ERG, Notch 8.

LRW and Amtrak split into teams and presented on their “family crests” which represented each team’s railroad experience and interests.

LRW and Amtrak enjoyed learning about the past, present and future of Union Station in Washington, D.C.

All Aboard! Next Stop: Gender Diversity & Safety Culture on the Track, April 26, 2023

Online Webinar

Julia Leone, Ph.D., manager of research and organizational development at the Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI), and Samantha Lacey, research/data consultant at SLSI and the University of Connecticut, presented research on gender diversity in the rail industry and its implications for safety and growing representation across the industry. LRW members can access the session from our past webinars page.

The Rail Industry in Mexico, May 9, 2023

Online Webinar

Moderator Linda Hernandez Carrillo, director, industrial development sales & marketing at CPKC was joined by fellow LRW members Luisa Fernandez-Willey, assistant vice president in the Policy & Economics Department at the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and Dr. Iker de Luisa, general manager of the Mexican Railway Association, to talk about Mexico’s exciting period of growth for the industry, as well as the roles women play in leading that growth. LRW members can access the session from our past webinars page.

Coffee Conversation with Amtrak, Union Station Tour

and Reception, May 18, 2023

Washington, D.C.

In conjunction with the 2023 Short Line Railroad Day on Capitol Hill Advocacy Day, the LRW brought members and Amtrak together to tour Union Station in Washington, D.C. LRW then hosted a reception on Capitol Hill, featuring professional staff from the congressional committees with jurisdiction over rail policy, plus a visit from U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur (Ohio), who spoke on the importance of connecting women and encouraging them to bring their unique perspectives to problem-solving.

TRACCS Rail Day, June 20-21, 2023

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

LRW exhibited at the TRACCS Rail Day event, which brought together more than 1,600 participants for 26 conference sessions, two national standards workshops and an action-packed expo. Directors-At-Large Erika Bruhnke and Michele Malski represented LRW, answering attendee questions. Learn more about the event.

Tiffany Wenrich, Sarah Yurasko, Michele Malski, LRW Deputy Events Chair/Board (SPRING), Rep. Kaptur, Andrea Niethold, Katie Kachel, Lisa Tackach, Luisa Fernandez Willey, Kathryn Gainey (CN).

TRACCS Rail Day 2023.

Michele Malski and Erika Bruhnke represented LRW at Rail Day.


Get ready to roll into the excitement of the upcoming LRW awards season. We're thrilled to announce two remarkable accolades celebrating the exceptional individuals who keep the industry on track: Railway Woman of the Year and LRW Member of the Year awards.

The LRW Member of the Year award recognizes the incredible dedication and outstanding contributions of an LRW member. We're looking for members who have gone above and beyond, tirelessly working to improve the league and the rail industry, driving progress and building strong connections. We want to honor the commitment and recognize the impact on the railroading landscape of individuals who have laid the groundwork for success and fueled collaboration.

The nomination period for the Member of the Year award will run from Aug. 1–31, and the award will be presented during the annual membership meeting at the 2023 LRW Annual Conference in early October.

The Railway Woman of the Year award will honor an extraordinary woman who has steamed ahead in the rail industry, leading a trail of innovation, leadership and remarkable contributions. We're searching to identify women who have powered through challenges, brought transformative changes to the railroad industry and elevated the grade for the future of women in railroading.

Get your engines revved up and start thinking about deserving candidates. The nomination period for the Railway Woman of the Year award will run from Aug. 1 through mid-October. This year's award recipient will be notified in November, and the award will be presented at the National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association (NRC) 2024 Conference & NRC-REMSA Exhibition, Jan. 3-6, 2024, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

We can't wait to see the railroading community come together to celebrate these exceptional women in rail.


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

in your career.

Chief Administrative Officer


The Virginia Railway Express seeks a dynamic, experienced, strategic business leader to serve as Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). As an executive and strategic partner to the Chief Executive Officer, the CAO will direct and oversee key internal business and people operations, including procurement and contract administration, human resources, and general administrative services. More information: Chief Administrative Officer

Environmental and Land Specialist I or II

Arizona G&T Cooperatives

Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. (AEPCO) is searching for an Environmental and Land Specialist to assist in obtaining required local, state and federal environmental and land use approvals for new/existing transmission line, substation, generation and telecommunications projects. This position provides the cooperative's environmental compliance and land rights services, including leases, easements, renewals, permits and licenses. More information: Environmental and Land Specialist I or II

Director, LRT – Maintenance Delivery


Metrolinx is looking for a Director, LRT – Maintenance Delivery to oversee the maintenance programs on all LRT and Subway programs built and owned by Metrolinx, including the Eglinton – Crosstown, Finch West and Hazel McCallion light rail lines and the maintenance, availability, functionality and performance of the Light Rail Train (LRT) assets. More information: Director, LRT - Maintenance Delivery

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
Facebook  Twitter  Linkedin  Instagram  

Subscribe to our mailing list to stay in touch and get notified about our news and upcoming events.