Women of Excellence: Jaime Kazlo

Jaime Kazlo is an expert communicator, leader and driving force behind the corporate initiatives of the Capital District Transportation Authority, a regional provider of mobility services from buses, shuttles, bicycles and electric cars.

Kazlo entered a new chapter when she started at CDTA in 2014, having previously worked in television news and public relations. While these transitions proved to be a somewhat linear career path, it was the twists, turns, and opportunities along the way that made Kazlo the dynamic emerging professional she is today.

Q: What attracted you to CDTA when you took your first job in 2014?

A: I was working for another local company in public relations, and my former news director, Mary Rozak, contacted me to say that CDTA was looking for a new spokesperson. She thought I would be a perfect fit for the job, so I applied. Looking back, I could never have imagined the opportunity that would have been given to me over the past eight years. It’s a great feeling to know that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be at this point in my life.

Q: After joining CDTA, you quickly evolved and became more involved in specific committees in addition to your day-to-day work. How do you think you could have done that?

A: For me, it was determination and patience. The more tasks I was given, the more I had to show that I could take on increased responsibilities and deliver for my team and colleagues. I always wanted to do more; to be more. As opportunities arose at CDTA, I took advantage of them and looked for ways to grow and learn the business.

Q: One of your nominations noted that you have since gained the confidence to stand up for yourself and excel through your leadership in a male-dominated transportation industry. How would you describe the challenges you have encountered so far and how have you overcome them?

A: In my previous career path, I worked as a journalist, TV presenter and reporter. Then the transition to PR came with its own set of challenges, but starting my career with CDTA was all about learning about the business, the dynamics of the industry, and how my position fit. factored into the organizational equation.

I overcame these challenges and fears by staying committed to my position and taking advantage of the opportunities I was given to learn and become more comfortable speaking up and getting involved in the decision-making process. A big part of that has been developing relationships within my organization and networking nationally, which has helped build my confidence.

Q: What is your leadership style?

A: When I lead a team, I strive to be inclusive and empowering. I want people to feel like they’re part of the team and part of the decision-making process, no matter what department they work in. It takes a lot of people to carry out the initiatives we have at CDTA and I cannot do it alone. Ultimately, I want people to be appreciated and want to go the extra mile to achieve our company goals. I make sure people know how much their contributions mean to me and to the organization, and saying “thank you” is very helpful.

Q: You have been selected as a Woman of Excellence as an Emerging Professional. What does it mean to you to receive this award?

A: I am honored to receive this prestigious award and to be surrounded by so many outstanding women leaders. When you work in business, you expect to get certain awards. The Women of Excellence award is not just an accomplishment as a professional, but an accomplishment as a mother. As a mother of a daughter, you are always striving to be the best role model you can be, and this award shows my daughter that hard work and determination pays off.

Q: You are a role model for working mothers who excel professionally while raising children at home. What advice would you give to someone who hopes to balance work and family one day?

A: Know when to ask for help. As women, it is very difficult for us to recognize when we need help and then ask for it. For some reason, we feel like asking for help makes us feel worse, and it doesn’t. When we know when to ask for help, it makes us stronger and is a strong leadership quality. No one can do everything alone. So buy a bottle of Prosecco and listen to a Jay Shetty podcast. None of them will deceive you!

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