L&D Manager Spotlight - Blanca Gamez

Blanca Gamez,
Director, Parking and Transportation Services

1. Describe your role for UT.  

As Director of Parking and Transportation Services, I oversee the management of 17,000 parking spaces, 14 parking garages, and our nationally recognized fleet program. In addition, as director, I manage several robust transportation programs including our partnership with Capital Metro, the Bike UT program, and two nighttime safety programs including Sure Walk and UT Night Rides.

2. What was the most important lesson you learned as a new manager?

One of the most important lessons I learned as a new manager is to always practice active listening with the community and staff.  This is especially important in such a forward-facing role within my department. I consider this to be one of the most important learning tools you can have. Listening is essential to building a strong departmental foundation and a positive rapport with teams. Listening is oftentimes the weakest link in the cycle of communication and as an active listener, you have the opportunity to show that you are engaged and open to understanding and recognizing diverse thoughts and perspectives which make our university a great place to work.

3. What advice do you have for managers to help develop their team?

Know your team. Know their strengths and play to those strengths. Know the areas that they would like to improve and provide them with opportunities to build their skill sets. As a manager, I find it to be critically important to continually invest in your team and recognize their successes along the way. One way I am constantly working towards building skill sets for my team is through understanding their goals and creating stretch assignments that help them meet their goals.

4. Why is learning in the workplace important?

I view learning in the workplace as a key driver to success for the employee and the department because it enhances perspectives and sparks new ideas and conversations. As a lifelong learner, I view learning in the workplace as critical because the environment we work in is constantly changing. As managers, we should be able to recognize those changes, be flexible, and adapt to the needs of the community. The ability to be successful requires that we are constantly in a state of learning to improve our services and meet those needs.

5. What have you recently learned, what are you currently learning about, or how are you developing yourself as a professional?

I am constantly developing myself as a professional by reading about new enhancements and trends in my field. Whether it’s reading articles from a trade magazine, online articles, scholarly journals from UT-recognized professors, or listening to podcasts. I also find myself constantly benchmarking with other universities, municipalities, and organizations to learn more about operational approaches, trends, and new technologies that have the potential to enhance the customer experience at UT.