Michelle Althoff, Enterprise Rideshare, Maryland, was paired as a mentor in the fall of 2016 to Pamela Blackwolf, Vanpool Project Administrator, Parsons Brinckerhoff in California. Pamela has grown so enthusiastic about their relationship that she reached out to tell her side of the story to Connections.
Michelle, a longtime member of ACT, had decided to participate in the PALS program because she wanted to pay it forward to new people in the industry for all that she had received from people in TDM and from ACT connections. Pairing her with Pamela would have been an easy choice as both are involved with Vanpool Council and with Public Policy. Pamela was then new to TDM and hoping to learn about TDM and Vanpool.
The relationship got off to a good start with an online Welcome Webinar. Since then, Michelle and Pamela have attended additional webinars and worked on the vanpool and public policy councils together. They speak frequently on the phone or email each other. Pamela said, “Michelle is endlessly cheerful and is a tremendous resource to me.” She noted especially the assistance she has received from Michelle and from other Vanpool council colleagues relating to her work on a consultant team to design and implement a Vanpool program in San Bernardino County, CA.
For her part, Michelle said she was looking for “new friendships and learning new ideas.” Not only has she found a great friend in Pamela, but she said they have learned from each other: “It’s great to learn best practices from other successful agencies.” The PALS Mentoring Program has made a big difference to this pair. Designed to “encourage members who are either new to ACT or new to the TDM industry and help them develop the skills and knowledge to become leaders in their own jobs, in the TDM industry, and within ACT,” the program seems to have accomplished all of this as well as fostered the development of a close personal and working relationship. Pamela and Michelle are currently looking forward to the ACT International Conference in New Orleans and the chance it will give them to meet again in person.