Women of the Walking Movement: Veronica O. Davis
Veronica O. Davis, P.E., is a self-described transportation nerd who believes all people should have access to safe, reliable, and affordable transportation. She has over 16 years of experience in civil engineering and planning and is the Partner and Principal Planning Manager at Nspiregreen LLC, which she co-owns with Chanceé Lundy. Veronica is also one of the co-founders of Black Women Bike (BWB), an organization and movement that encourages African American women to use biking for health and wellness as well as an alternative form of transportation for commuting. Veronica is also an America Walks board member.
Veronica believes all people provide unique perspectives. For women and people who identify as women, she says there is a unique vulnerability.
“We are concerned about safety as it relates to interactions with vehicles, but we are also concerned about our personal safety such as street harassment. Sometimes walking advocacy can become myopic on physical infrastructure, that personal safety can get lost.”
Veronica says the largest barrier is having a seat at the table and still being unheard, where her contribution is often either overlooked or she is relegated to “outreach” –– despite her credentials and experience.
“Since my time as an undergrad in civil engineering, I’m often the only woman and person of color in the room. Even in the most progressive rooms, my blackness and womanhood, causes my ideas to be scrutinized and questioned.”
In terms of leaders, Veronica holds Harriet Tregoning and Karina Ricks in high esteem because they are dynamic women who are not only busting glass ceilings, but they are both grabbing women to uplift as they rise.
Her biggest piece of advice for women working to make waves in the walking movement? Find a champion. Veronica says mentors are great, but champions are the people who go the extra mile to open doors for you. She also underscores the importance of not allowing anyone to tokenize you. She says once people are comfortable with you, you become their go to person. Use that opportunity to uplift others, especially people who don’t even know there’s a table to sit at.