Business Center

Reflections of a CDOT Intern

By Danielle Edwards, Office of Process Improvement Intern
Posted: July 7, 2017

Danielle Edwards

Danielle Edwards
Process Improvement Intern

When I started working at CDOT, I had no idea what to expect. My past internships had all been in the private sector, and I did not realize how different working for a government agency would be.

I was originally attracted to the job within the Office of Process Improvement (OPI) because it aligned well with my overall career goals while also giving me the opportunity to develop a solid foundation in Lean methodology and change management. Although the OPI has many functions—like running CDOT's Lean Everyday Ideas initiative and Change Agent Network—I functioned as a mini-consultant. I had two main projects:

[email protected]

One of my greatest passions in life is to increase diversity within organizations, specifically gender diversity, to help organizations become more effective and efficient. I believe that diversity in thought, background, and identities can provide organizations with invaluable insights into different cultures in our society.

In my first week, I began wondering what diversity looked like at CDOT. What was the ratio of women to men? I dove into our workforce and affirmative action reports to learn more. To my surprise, only 18 percent of CDOT employees were women. In labor, trades, and crafts, only 3 percent of employees were women.

I knew I wanted to make some positive change while I was at CDOT. Gender parity is something I am very passionate about, as I have experienced the challenges of being a woman in the workplace. This passion led me to develop [email protected], a women's networking initiative dedicated to mitigating inequality within the workplace. I chartered the effort and was thankful to have CDOT Human Resources Director Susan Rafferty as my primary sponsor.

My first step in launching this group was to perform as much research as I could. I started by searching through articles on women in the workplace and then launched into researching other departments of transportation (DOT) across the country. What I found was that CDOT was behind.

I collected data from 46 out of 50 states and looked at the total male-to-female ratio and male-to-female ratio in maintenance. The national average of total women working in other DOT across the nation was 22.5 percent—4.5 percent higher than our 18 percent. I talked to CDOT employees and the executive management team about this issue.

While I was unable to see the launch of the statewide group before my internship ended, I was able to set the foundation of what will (hopefully) be a meaningful program to CDOT's workforce of the future.

Danielle speaking

Information Technology Management Team Rebranding

When Gregg Miller, director of the Information Technology Management Team (ITMT), requested a rebranding effort, it quickly became evident this change would require more than a change management plan.

After surveying CDOT employees who had used the process, my team and I learned many employees were frustrated by the lack of communication that they received, as well as lengthy project timelines. Further analysis helped us realize users needed to be trained to use the ITMT to ensure project success.

I began developing a user training program with HR consultant Jason Prince and presented the idea with Miller at an executive meeting. The training for the newly rebranded Providing Information Technology Concepts Help (PITCH) team is now being finalized for launch.

I have gained invaluable experience during my time at CDOT. This fall, when I start my master's program in organizational and social psychology at the London School of Economics, I know I will frequently reference my time here in class discussions and papers. I also hope to conduct my dissertation on gender parity within organizations, and I have started that foundational research during my time here.