An open letter to women considering a career in Transport design

Emerging or established, if you are a designer with an appetite for working on brilliantly complex, large-scale projects with space for technicality and a flair for intuitive spaces, then there is more than enough space to be made for you, and by you, in the Transport sector.

Wynyard Walk

A career in Transport design might not be the obvious choice, but there is a world of reasons it should be.

Transport spaces are epic and for everyone.
They are public spaces used by a wonderfully diverse range of people and brim with life, often for 24 hours a day. Visible and accessible, your designs are knitted into people’s every-day existences – setting the scene for reunions, adventures, first encounters, and the rhythms and patterns of everyday work and life.

The idea that Transport projects are dry is a myth. Far beyond designing for the coming and going of planes, trains and automobiles, the design of Transport projects calls for people-centric, problem solving, and emotionally intelligent designers that understand functionality down to the final detail. If you have experience in another sector – hospitality, retail, residential and beyond – you will find yourself drawing on it.

Transport projects are profound. Transport design is about creating a city’s first and last impression, so it will fall to you to think like a local (and with the civic pride of one) wherever you go. Your designs will not be hidden away behind walls, or made accessible only to the privileged, but will honour your talent by requiring you to consider the diverse backgrounds, needs and behaviors of the thousands of people that engage with your design daily.

A career in Transport design has astonishing opportunity and reach. Built and used by communities for lifetimes, Transport is both at once, a headline and understated sector – you will have big budgets and even bigger expectations to meet. Our buildings are democratic, and their outcomes are the borne of the efforts of many different specialists collaborating to create a bigger picture – there are no heroes swooping in, we create the results ourselves.

We will not lie to you and say that there aren’t challenges for women in this industry. But believe us when we say it needs you. The future of Transport design requires practitioners that reflect the demographic balance of its users. Did you know that women use public transport more frequently than men? And that it is not only on average, but more times a day? Yet, as it stands today, men still dominate the sector.

You are allowed to feel some trepidation. Sometimes you will be the only woman in the room. Those occasions are like plunging into deep water – there’s some natural apprehension, but ultimately thrilling and worthwhile. Remember that this is an opportunity to change the culture, and that we will be there working alongside you. Decisions must be made by women, who need to be represented at all levels – most importantly at senior and at the executive.

As our visibility grows, the industry’s policies are changing to allow for flexibility, diversity, and to provide a range of mental health support. The door has been cracked open for diversity to flood in.

See you in the room,


Collectively authored across our 17 Studios in 6 regions, read about the signatories below.

Katy Mercer

Katy Mercer, Principal.

Katy led the new design of San Francisco international Airport’s Harvey Milk Terminal 1, Boarding Area B and the Terminal 2 Observation Deck which is one of the the first land side observation decks in the US. She sits on SFO’s Design Review Committee and more recently she is leading interior design on Los Angeles International Airport’s Middlefield South Concourse and Seattle Tacoma International Airport C1 project.

John Prentice

John Prentice, Principal and Regional (Aus and NZ) Transportation Leader.

John is a key member of Male Champions of Change, and organization that encourages men to step up beside women on gender equality. He has led multiple Transport projects alongside women – including Wynyard Walk, Central Station Metro and Crows Nest Metro.

Sandra Ventura

Sandra is the Senior Project Manager for Aviation projects in the California Studio. She has managed projects at SFO and has recently managed the new Satellite at Los Angeles International Airport’s Midfield South Concourse. Currently, she is managing the Seattle Tacoma International Airport C1 project.

Tershia Habbitts

Tershia Habbitts, Senior Associate.

Tershia has experience in multiple sectors – having worked on multi-storey commercial, mixed use, education, hospitality and healthcare projects for Woods Bagot – she had her first experience working on a Woods Bagot Transport project when she was a project lead on Western Sydney Airport competition bid last year. The Woods Bagot’s design team for the bid was over 50% women.

Western Sydney Airport

Meghan Nordeck

Meghan Nordeck, Senior Associate.

Meghan is currently the project leader on the revitalization of Sydney’s Central Station – the busiest railway station in Australia. Central is the first project Meghan has worked on where there have been all-female meetings, and she would like to see more.

Kim Withrow

Kimberly Withrow, Senior Associate.

Kimberly has experience working on architecture projects of international standing in the commercial office, residential, hotel, retail and transportation sectors. She has been involved in various transport projects from concept design through to site delivery. Over the years she has seen the teams around tables become more diversified and women step into decision making and leadership roles.

Felicity Hurling

Felicity Hurling, Associate.

Felicity has worked on transport projects across Europe, Australia and South America. She was Project Lead on the expansion of Hobart Airport and most recently has been working on the Western Sydney Airport competition bid last year.  

Kush Vehalla

Kush Vehalla, Associate.

Kush has dedicated her career to working in the city shaping transport infrastructure projects creating meaningful connections between people and the built environment that surrounds us. Bringing a business perspective, Kush also works closely with Woods Bagot’s Transport Sector male champions – where she finds equal opportunities are limitless.

Larisa Mos

Larisa Mos, Associate.

Showing a strong grounding in architecture and a professional experience across Europe, Australia and USA, Larisa has brought storytelling and clear conceptual narratives to her projects. On Sydney’s Central Station she focused on promoting and implementing an integrative design process, that responded to its environment, as well as the end-user. She started the project being the only woman on the team and proudly ended with being one of many inspirational women.

Shirley Jahandideh

Shirley Jahandideh, Designer.

Shirley has always been intrigued by the social power of spatial experience in human beings everyday life specially in transport realm. Her experience expands in multiple sectors such as residential, mixed-use, commercial and transport. Shirley’s first experience on transport projects was Waterloo Metro Quarter. She has also worked on Brisbane International airport for duty free and security upgrade as well as Sydney International airport duty free expansion project which is currently under construction.

Waterloo Metro Quarter

Ivana Seizova

Western Sydney Airport

Ivana Seizova, Designer.

Ivana is a designer, researcher and educator who works with transport leaders to enhance and innovate client engagement and design strategies through technology. In her capacity as Technical Innovation Leader for Australia, she has influenced the outcomes of Sydney Airport Duty Free, Christchurch Airport Masterplan, Chengdu airport, Hobart Airport, Western Sydney Airport, Brisbane Airport. 

Sezen Donmez

Sezen Donmez, Designer.

Sezen was Technical Lead for the expansion of Hobart Airport, managing the co-ordination of all disciplines to develop a $100m terminal expansion plan. She is currently Project Lead on the Melbourne Airport Terminal 3 Expansion project having previously worked with Qantas at Melbourne Airport Terminal 1.

Qantas, Melbourne Terminal

Andrea Ladisla

Doha Metro

Andrea Ladisla, Designer.

Andrea’s work in the transport sector started with Dubai Metro in 2008 and was followed by Kolkata Metro, Abu Dhabi Bus Stations and Doha Metro among other infrastructure projects in the Middle East. Andrea’s keen interest in transport projects brought her to Australia to work on Central Station and other Woods Bagot transport projects.

Raflen Genovia

Raflen Genovia, Designer

Raflen has worked on large-scale infrastructure projects for more than a decade, and her experience in the transport sector has taken her to Australia and the Middle East. Prior to commencing work on Central Station, Raflen worked on the Dubai Metro, Dubai Opera House, CoEx Campus Expo 2020, Kolkata Metro and the Doha Metro.

Doha Metro



WOODS BAGOT is a global architecture studio.

We span 17 studios across 6 regions.
We do not adhere to a signature style.
We are a multi-authorship practice.
We create alongside clients, communities & other creatives.
We specialize in Architecture, Interiors & Masterplanning.
We explore data to predict changing human behaviour.




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