February_2022 - 6

EDITOR'S NOTEBOOK
Showing Support for
our Transit Leaders
Promoting mental wellness should be a priority
for leaders, as well as their organizations.
S
aturday, Jan. 15, was a heartbreaking day.
News spread that morning of Metropolitan
Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority General
Manager and CEO Jeffrey A. Parker's death
by suicide the evening prior. The shock
and collective sadness felt by the industry
at his loss was for a good man, an industry leader
and someone who brought passion and vision to
Atlanta's mobility network.
Parker's family could have left this as a private matter,
but they took a courageous step by openly sharing Parker's
manner of death. In doing so, they not only chipped away
at the stigma surrounding suicide, but also helped jump
start a conversation about mental wellness among the
transit industry's leaders.
Occupying the top spot at a transit agency, while gratifying,
an honor and a great responsibility, can come with a
certain level of loneliness
and isolation.
New York State Sen.
If you or someone
you love is in crisis
or experiencing
suicidal thoughts,
please call the
National Suicide
Prevention Lifeline
at 1-800-273-TALK
(8255) or contact
the Crisis Text Line
by texting TALK
to 741741.
Liz Krueger succinctly
summed up the pressures
of leaders in transit
during a speech from the
New York State Senate
floor on Jan. 20 ahead of
a vote to confirm Janno
Lieber as CEO and chairman
of the Metropolitan
Transportation Authority.
" You sometimes
wonder why there are
people...who want these
jobs, " Sen. Krueger said.
" These are 24/7 jobs with
enormous responsibilities,
and guess what, pretty much everyone is always angry
at them because everybody always thinks [the transit
agency] isn't working for them and must be working for
someone else. "
6 | Mass Transit | MassTransitmag.com | FEBRUARY 2022
Mischa Wanek-Libman,
Executive Editor
 mwanek@masstransitmag.com
 224-324-8532
 linkedin.com/in/mischawaneklibman
Transit leaders from 20 years ago had to contend with
angry community members at public meetings, comments
through the mail, emails and phone calls. The pressure
modern transit leaders are placed under can be exacerbated
by the various social media platforms where trolls can
quickly spread or amplify antagonistic messages.
Normal leadership challenges have also intensified
under the umbrella of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have
written about the industry's ability to stay flexible and
nimble, which is no small feat and a testament to the
quality of leadership within this industry. Jobs have been
preserved, networks reimagined and new services delivered
to communities who rely on transit most. However,
it also means transit leaders have been in a sort of hyper
problem-solving mode for months and years on end.
Taking care of your mental health runs along a spectrum
of needs. These can include what we think of as
self-care, such as doing activities you enjoy, to professional
and medical intervention.
Peer support can be a critical component to fighting
against the isolating elements of a leadership position.
There are, literally, thousands of research papers and articles
within the U.S. National Library of Medicine National
Institutes of Health database on measurable impacts peerto-peer
support can have on wellness. Check on each other,
utilize the groups provided by industry associations and
know that if you are struggling, you have value and there is
help in whatever form is needed and required.
The industry will continue to mourn the loss of Jeffrey
Parker. Parker's wife, Erin, and two daughters, Gabrielle
and Isabella, have set up the Jeffrey Parker Memorial Fund
through the American Foundation
for Suicide Prevention to
honor his life.
http://www.linkedin.com/in/mischawaneklibman http://www.MassTransitmag.com

February_2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of February_2022

Editor’s Notebook
People & Places
SkyTrain
Bolstering the Mobility Toolbox
2022 Mobility Outlook
Outfitting Networks with Improved Connectivity to Create a Better Rider Experience
Products
February_2022 - 1
February_2022 - 2
February_2022 - 3
February_2022 - 4
February_2022 - 5
February_2022 - Editor’s Notebook
February_2022 - 7
February_2022 - People & Places
February_2022 - 9
February_2022 - 10
February_2022 - 11
February_2022 - SkyTrain
February_2022 - 13
February_2022 - 14
February_2022 - 15
February_2022 - 16
February_2022 - 17
February_2022 - 18
February_2022 - 19
February_2022 - Bolstering the Mobility Toolbox
February_2022 - 21
February_2022 - 22
February_2022 - 23
February_2022 - 24
February_2022 - 25
February_2022 - 2022 Mobility Outlook
February_2022 - 27
February_2022 - 28
February_2022 - 29
February_2022 - Outfitting Networks with Improved Connectivity to Create a Better Rider Experience
February_2022 - 31
February_2022 - 32
February_2022 - Products
February_2022 - 34
February_2022 - 35
February_2022 - 36
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