Seeing Yourself in a Shared Micromobility Role

To complement NABSA’s Building a Better Shared Micromobility Industry: Best Practices for More Diverse and Inclusive Workplaces toolkit and strategy to increase diversity in the shared micromobility workforce at all levels we launched “Workforce Diversity Wednesdays”. This blog and social media series spotlights jobs in shared micromobility throughout the year. We post interviews with individuals in the shared micromobility industry highlighting their work and role with the hopes of encouraging more diversity and representation in the field.

Meet Elese Daniel! Elese is the Engagement Manager for Red Bike serving Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, with classic and electric bikes. Read more and learn about her journey to shared micromobility below:

How did you come to arrive at working in shared micromobility and your current role?

At the time, I was probably one of the most visible black women riding a bike and commuting in downtown Cincinnati. I also happened to work in the Vice Mayor’s Office, which is where I first met former Red Bike Executive Director Jason Barron. I asked to sit in on a meeting between the Vice Mayor and Jason, while they discussed bike infrastructure, the latest bike plan, and bikeshare. The system had been operating for two years or so; I didn’t know much about it and had never used it. 

A year or so later, 2017, when I left the City, Red Bike was hiring and reflecting on who their riders were, who was missing, who might benefit the most from bike access, and who felt like bikeshare was for them. I joined the team in this time of reckoning and transition. I got to help shape how Red Bike would address bikeshare equity and access.

I’ve since used the same approach with other outreach and engagement efforts: Learn by looking across to peer cities and listening to people locally.

Nowadays, I’m no longer the most visible black woman on a bike downtown. Among the ever-growing number of bicyclists in the city center, there are many more black women, more black people riding, more people of color, a variety of ages, genders, etc. And I know that my programmatic and engagement work, with community partners, has contributed to that growth and visibility.

What is your favorite thing about your job?

Honestly, my team. The people you work with can often make or break the work. I feel very fortunate to have worked with folks who have faith in me and my ideas, folks who build me up and give me a runway to try things out, folks who offer feedback and guidance, folks willing to abandon assumption, to bend and reevaluate, creative and resourceful people, curious and caring people. 

The success I’ve had within the industry comes compliment to the people beside me. We’ve accomplished such cool and empowering and challenging work with such a small crew, by first being good people to each other, our riders, and partners.

Red Bike riders and team members at event

What has surprised you most about your job? 

Bikeshare is so many things to so many people. I love the abundant versatility of the bike, especially as a shared fleet. No storage or maintenance expectations of the rider, just riding!

It’s recreation and a good time – a great date or an afternoon with mom when she’s in town visiting. It’s health and wellness and exercise. Prescribed or not. It’s transportation and how you get groceries, make appointments, take meetings, how you get home after school or after a night out. It’s a solo activity or shared as a group bike ride – communal, educational, confidence building. It’s workforce development and employment. It’s combating climate change. It’s joy and freedom – a renewed autonomy of your time, schedule, and body.

I love that access to a bike can do and be and mean so many things. I’ll never let that stop surprising me.

Stay tuned for our next installment of Workforce Diversity Wednesday and engage with the series on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook with hashtag #WorkforceDiversityWednesday.