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‘Women in Rail’: Ramirez, Moreno, Schrampfer to Address ERGs

Written by Railway Age Staff
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The 2023 Railway Age / RT&S Women in Rail event, to be held Nov. 2 in Chicago, will feature a panel of corporate diversity leaders discussing the importance of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) within the industry.

Co-moderated by Sarah Yurasko, President, League of Railway Women (LRW), the panel will delve into what ERGs are and how these groups provide community and support to their members. Panelists will delve into how these ERGs help advance DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) initiatives. In addition, for those who want to initiate their own ERG, our experts will offer advice on what to include.

Speakers for this informative session are: Laura Ramirez of Trinity Industries, Inc.; Sebastian Moreno of New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit); and Deb Schrampfer of Union Pacific (UP).

Meet Laura Ramirez

Laura Ramirez, Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, is responsible for building out the DEI strategic roadmap at Trinity. She is deeply committed to serving people and is a passionate advocate for DEI. Ramirez’s commitment drives innovation and enhances the overall employee experience. She is a leader with proven transformational results for driving change in corporate culture. Ramirez leads enterprise-wide DEI initiatives and training. Her efforts around DEI help to elevate employee engagement, company reputation, attracting talent, fostering an inclusive culture, and retaining talent. Ramirez partners closely with all internal stakeholders to drive meaningful and impactful results. She currently leads all nine ERGs and two Employee Networks (ENs) at Trinity.

Meet Sebastian Moreno

Sebastian Moreno joined NJ Transit in 2021 as the company’s first Director of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I). In this role, he supports NJ Transit’s company-wide efforts to ensure that every employee, customer and community member has the experience of being seen, welcomed and included in the company’s services and programs. At NJ Transit, Moreno has established five ERGs, expanded workforce recruitment and business outreach efforts, integrated D&I to the talent management cycle, and earned grants to study the access barriers of underrepresented/marginalized communities to public transportation. Prior to joining the transit agency, Moreno completed an international assignment in Mexico City, leading Citigroup’s Talent Acquisition and People Analytics Strategy for Latin America. He returned to the U.S. to manage the company’s Global D&I Strategy focused on hiring, retention and promotions. His prior experience managing D&I, business strategy, and public policy implementation includes roles with IBM, Colgate-Palmolive, the New York State Department of Labor, the New York State Senate, and AmeriCorps. 

Meet Deb Schrampfer

Deb Schrampfer is Chief Diversity Officer and Assistant Vice President, Workforce Resources at UP. She leads a team focused on developing and implementing diversity and inclusion strategies and promoting an inclusive workplace. Her work is instrumental in UP earning a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2022 “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality,” the nation’s leading benchmarking tool on corporate policies, practices and benefits pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees. Schrampfer’s 21-year UP career includes leading employee communications and brand management in the railroad’s Corporate Relations Department. She helped found UP’s LGBT ERG, BRIDGES, and served as its first President, influencing company-wide change through adding transgender health care benefits, extending domestic partner health insurance options, and driving policy on anti-discrimination requirements in UP’s supplier and corporate giving programs.

Meet Sarah Yurasko

In addition to her role as President of LRW, Sarah Yurasko is Senior Vice President Law and General Counsel with the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA). In this position, she advises on all legal matters for ASLRRA and represents the short line industry nationally on policy matters. Prior to ASLRRA, she worked at the Association of American Railroads (AAR) as Assistant General Counsel, focusing on safety law issues. Yurasko also worked at Amtrak on high-speed rail planning and policy development. She started her career as a trial attorney in the Office of Chief Counsel at the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). While at the FRA, Yurasko completed the Executive Potential Program through the Graduate School USA, a leadership development program that provides training and developmental experiences for high potential employees.

About Railway Age / RT&S Women in Rail 2023

The Railway Age / RT&S Women in Rail 2023 conference, presented at the Union League Club of Chicago on Nov. 2, will not only provide an opportunity to network with a diverse group of women and their allies, but also allow for attendees to participate in discussions on how railroaders can maintain the momentum of inclusion, build strong support networks, and take advantage of ever-broadening career opportunities.

Additional Speakers

In addition to ERGs, session topics will also include mentorship, recruitment and retention, as well as advice on advancing current skillsets to match evolving technologies. View the full program.

Speakers will engage in informal “fireside chat” style conversations, offering their candid thoughts on each subject.

Women in Rail Awards

Railway Age and Railway Track & Structures have recognized the growth in leadership and engineering roles for women railroaders since 2017 and 2021, respectively, with Railway Age’s Women in Rail and RT&S’ Women in Railroad Engineering awards. In fact, past honorees Cherita Hunter Jones, Group Manager Performance Excellence, Norfolk Southern; Staci Moody-Gilbert, Vice President, BMWED-International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Jacqueline Patterson, Vice President and Co-Founder, Zephyr UAS, Inc.; and CleLeatha Shaw, Manager–Crew Dispatching, Metra will participate in a panel covering those programs, offering industry insights and discussing their career journeys. 

Supporting Organizations

In addition to its speakers, the Railway Age / RT&S Women in Rail 2023 conference is supported by the following sponsors: Industrial Search Partners (gold)CN (luncheon)Edna A. Rice Executive Recruiters (case study), Amsted Digital Solutions (bronze), Anacostia Rail Holdings (bronze)BNSF (bronze)TrinityRail (bronze)Watco (morning coffee break)RailWorks (afternoon coffee break), the League of Railway Women, and the National Association of Railway Business Women.

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