March 15, 2023 Baltimore County
D'Andrea Walker was sworn in in February as the first African American woman to serve as the director of the Baltimore County Department of Public Works and Transportation.
Walker has more than two decades of experience in state and local government and spent two years in the role of acting director.
For Women’s History Month, we spoke with Walker about her role and hopes for the future.
What are your current responsibilities and how did you get there?
Current responsibilities cover managing the infrastructure in Baltimore County. More than 8,700 roads, 2,200 miles of watermain and sewer. Engineering and construction as well as solid waste and transportation. Just to name a few…
As a woman, what are the most significant barriers you had to overcome to thrive in your role, in the industry or in the workplace?
Most significant barrier to overcome is being seen as not competent or as not having the ability to lead because I am a women and African American.
What motivated you to keep going and achieve your goals regardless of gender bias?
I have role models that reminded me daily that my education, training and God’s grace got me in the room but my dedication, Abilities and God’s covering will guide me and keep me going.
What women in history do you find especially inspiring?
Oprah Winfrey and Coretta Scott King
What is your favorite lesson or memory from your career journey thus far?
My favorite lesson is people will forget what you say but remember how you made them feel. I try to treat every person regardless of the background, color or job with the same level of respect.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I want the residents to see that we have been intentional about improving County services and we are making decisions thru an equitable and transparent way that improves the residents livelihood.
What should leaders do to empower the next generation of women leaders and what advice would you give to women looking to follow in your footsteps?
Reach back and mentor. Mentoring allows you to share your experiences with the next generation as well as advise them how to overcome barriers.
For allies, how can they better support women?
By treating us as equals and advocating on our behalf. Continuing to bring awareness to the inequalities.