Nicole Bennett Receives 2024 Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award

WTS NC Triangle recognizes Nicole’s contributions to diversity, inclusion, and multicultural awareness.

May 20, 2024

Nicole Bennett accepts the Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership award with a short yet compelling speech.

Nicole Bennett, VHB Urban Planner and Equity Strategist, received the 2024 Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award during the Women in Transportation (WTS) North Carolina Triangle Chapter’s Annual Go Gala Awards on May 16. The award recognizes individuals or organizations that promote professional opportunities for women and minorities in the transportation industry and foster diversity, inclusion, and multicultural awareness.

“I have personally witnessed Nicole’s unwavering commitment to infusing these qualities in everything she touches, and it is truly inspiring,“ said Reggie Scales, Raleigh Managing Director. “Her priority is making sure everyone in the community is served and heard. Whether it is project planning in an underserved community or empowering VHB emerging professionals to propel their careers forward, everything she does resonates equity, inclusion, and mentorship.”

By approaching projects with empathy and inclusion, Nicole implements practices and develops plans that increase the quality of life in the communities in which we live, work, and play. Growing up, she experienced firsthand the systemic disparities between communities and their access to necessities such as transportation, employment, healthcare, education, and recreation. She has dedicated her career to breaking down those disparities by helping organizations and agencies implement equitable strategies early throughout their processes, policies, plans, and projects. Through her planning work, she focuses on more than just implementing projects. Instead, Nicole is focused on connecting with and giving a voice to those people who the project directly impacts.

In addition to being one of WTS NC Triangle Chapter’s founding members, Nicole is an avid contributor to the community through her involvement with the City of Raleigh Planning Commission and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission; as a founding member of Spaces and Places, a network of urban planners, policymakers, and designers working to address the issues affecting communities of color; and the American Planning Association Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee; Legislative and Policy Committee; and Planning and the Black Community Division.

Additionally, Nicole serves as the Second Vice President for the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) North Carolina Chapter, established in 2024. COMTO was organized as “the nation’s premier multimodal advocacy organization for minority professionals and businesses in the transportation industry.” As the Second Vice President, Nicole influences how the transportation industry facilitates access to professional development, employment, and contracting opportunities for minorities. Her involvement and leadership with COMTO further demonstrates her commitment to advancing her community and colleagues.

Connect with Nicole on LinkedIn or via email.

Nicole with VHB Raleigh’s Managing Director, Reggie Scales VHBers at WTS NC Triangle GoGala. Nicole with NCDOT’s Julie White and WTS NC Triangle President Mary Whitby at WTS Go Gala.