HomeManagementTransportation Leaders Take ‘Journey of Self Discovery’ at STN EXPO Indy

Transportation Leaders Take ‘Journey of Self Discovery’ at STN EXPO Indy

INDIANAPOLIS – International leadership expert Sylvie di Giusto helped Transportation Director Summit attendees identify what makes them one of a kind, for more authentic and confident communication in their operations and career.

“The good news is that everything that helps you stand out from the sea of sameness is already in you,” she explained. She calls this phenomenon the “fair advantage,” which also became the title of her book published in 2023.

She told the transportation leaders gathered at Topgolf Fishers on Saturday that they have 15 different selling points that make them unique and give them an advantage in the workplace. She provided commentary on each point and encouraged attendees to share their answers.

  1. Values & Beliefs – These are core non-negotiables you personally require in the workplace.
  2. Origin & Story – You are where you are because of your past. Tell your story in a positive way to emotionally connect with others.
  3. Natural Talents & Gifts – These are things that were always easy for you, even in childhood.
  4. Skills & Competencies – Identify your specific expertise in a hard or soft skill, similar to a cardiovascular specialist versus a general practitioner.
  5. Expertise & Thought Leadership – Are you an expert to the experts? This is typically something you create a body of work around or teach on.
  6. Experience & Lessons Learned – Bring lessons learned from your past experiences into present relevancy.
  7. Accomplishments & Achievements – The school transportation industry puts up impressive numbers. Quantify your achievements and operations.
  8. Audience & Buyer – Students and families are the audience, while bosses, school officials or the community at large are the buyer, or the source of funding. Both must be considered.
  9. Clients & Praise – Share relevant information, don’t just tout your biggest brand name collaborations or accolades.
  10. Problems & Solutions – Consider the pain points and underlying issues you solve, such as providing parents peace of mind by safely transporting their children.
  11. Competition & Dominance – Competitors for district fleets can be transportation companies, parents who drive their own children, or other districts that attract drivers. Rather than trying to do things better than others, find something you do that they don’t.
  12. Location & Reach – Districts can provide fast, accurate information to the parents in their area since they know them so well.
  13. Passions & Obsessions – Whether inside of work or outside, these can help show a side of you.
  14. Advocacy & Volunteerism – These are typically related to your values and beliefs and, if political, should be shared generally so as not to alienate people. It’s not bragging if it’s unifying.
  15. Fun Facts & Personality – Unique quirks can be conversation starters and display facets of your character.

This all culminates in a Promise, she said, a tagline that says something about you and your work or a highlight of your story.


Related: Transportation Directors Trained on Leadership in Uncertain Times
Related: (STN Podcast E161) Questions We Should Be Asking: Leadership, Bus Stop Safety & Electrification
Related: The Road to Becoming Director
Related: Why Blend In When You Can Stand Out?
Related: WATCH: Day in the Life of a Transportation Director


Di Giusto reminded attendees that these points should be correctly framed so they can remain relevant and useful to the team members or business partners one is working with.

She advised those in attendance to do this exercise with their teams, which may indicate needed changes in their roles or reveal aspects that can boost their productivity at work.

“There is no other transportation leader like you,” di Giusto underscored. She encouraged attendees to develop self-awareness and develop a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) to share with others.

She closed the day with a look at the leadership angle of her Sunday morning keynote on first impressions and how supervisors should address employees who may be reflecting badly on the organization. She presented several uncomfortable conversation topics and had attendees reenact and discuss appropriate responses.

Photos by Taylor Ekbatani.

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