Trailnet Welcomes New CEO, Cindy Mense
Trailnet is pleased to announce Cindy Mense as its new CEO.
For more than 12 years, Cindy has been an integral part of Trailnet’s mission to lead in fostering healthy, active and vibrant communities where walking, bicycling, and the use of public transit are a way of life. The expertise, experience, and passion Cindy brings to her new role will help advance St. Louis toward being a world class city for walking and bicycling. Keep reading for a Q&A with Cindy.
When and why did you come to Trailnet?
When I first came to Trailnet more than 12 years ago, I was thrilled to be coordinating Trailnet’s walking school bus program. My own kids were school-age and starting to explore the world as pedestrians. It seemed so natural as a dietitian to be working with schools helping them get more kids engaged in daily physical activity.
I quickly learned that the design of our streets and sidewalks plays a role in the decision to walk to school. The solutions for getting more children walking to school involved not only building their skills, but addressing safety through policies that prioritize pedestrians and make actual changes to the street. As CEO, I continue to be motivated by the challenges ahead and inspired by the staff who share the same values and vision for this organization and region.
What about Trailnet’s Mission motivates you the most?
Every day, Trailnet employees come to work motivated by the impact biking and walking can have on issues in St. Louis, whether we are focused on equity, economic development, or just overall quality of life. We love St. Louis, we seek data-driven solutions, try to provide equitable benefits, and we recognize the key role we play in addressing climate change.
Personally, I am motivated by the call to action for a more sustainable planet. In 2017 transportation overtook electric power as the biggest source of greenhouse gases in the U.S. Unfortunately, this isn’t surprising. Even as cars have become more fuel efficient, our street design and land-use choices continue to encourage and subsidize inefficient behaviors. We can, and must do better and it is my opinion that no city is more capable of reinventing itself around multimodal transportation than St. Louis. Our transportation and land-use systems can be redesigned to benefit everyone with seamless connectivity that supports using practical, sustainable, modes of transportation.
What do you want for St. Louis?
I want our streets to be places that welcome a new quality of life and embrace a personal experience. We are seeing small changes that bring our streets to life. These changes are carving out space for people, providing breathing room–so people can stretch their legs, pedal a bike, push a double wide stroller, or just sit outside. Adding places for people to become part of the street-scape is a great place to start.
How does Trailnet make that happen?
My greatest desire is to embed Trailnet into the fabric of our region. To fully understand St. Louis’ needs, we must get closer to those with the need. The staff are bursting with new ideas on how to foster and renew partnerships to advance our mission. I am open, listening and feeling their passion.
I plan to make the most of this new chapter, finding new ways to connect and deepen existing relationships. We can build mutually-beneficial partnerships that advance our region in ways that people will feel every day when they open their front door. When our streets are friendlier to all modes of transportation, we will have the choices that improve our quality of life and our air quality far into the future.
Trailnet will do what it’s done for 30 years. Foster partnerships and push to see our city and our region evolve. Smart. Vibrant. Sustainable.