Introducing Carmen Bianco, Transit Senior Executive’s New Moderator
November 8, 2019|Karen Price
Carmen Bianco is a classic American success story, rising through the ranks from his start as an hourly worker on the tracks to eventually lead the country’s largest mass transit agency, New York City Transit. He will be taking on a new challenge in the coming months: Eno’s Transit Senior Executive moderator and coach. We sat down with him for a few minutes to talk about leadership and transit today.
As a safety professional from his early days in transit, he recognizes that the basic mission to get people where they need to be safely is still the number one priority for leaders in today’s transit industry. At the same time, he has seen data and technology change many aspects of the industry and give leaders new tools to drive strategic decision-making. At the heart of leadership for Mr. Bianco, though, is people.
“People Matter” is Mr. Bianco’s personal leadership motto and it is reflected in his leadership and coaching style. He believes that leaders need to do everything they can to ensure that their employees, from the front-line to the C-suite, are 100% successful. As a coach and mentor, he urges leaders to stay focused and recognize the importance of modeling the behavior they want to see in others. For Mr. Bianco, two components of organizational life take center stage—the employees and the customers. The customer is everything. They are the reason why public transit exists. When employees are well trained, informed, and engaged they will provide extraordinary service to the customer. Recently, he put his coaching skills into practice by leading a session on coaching emerging leaders at the Eno/MAX Facilitators’ Conference, which brings together leaders from all nine participating agencies to plan and strategize for the coming year’s program.
He also speaks passionately about the need to align your team with a mission, values and strategies that drive the culture you seek to create. Leaders are responsible for creating the culture at their organization and identifying the core values, from integrity to having fun. Once those values are established, the strategy and behaviors of the organization are aligned with those values. As a leader, one of the hardest things you do is build and sustain the culture you want, starting with identifying the concrete behaviors that exemplify those values and drive that culture every single day.
He is also passionate about helping leaders in transit understand their own role as leaders and the paramount importance of safety. As the CEO of New York City Transit, he lost an employee on the job, an experience which continues to shape his leadership philosophy and focus on safety today. As he puts it, “While we juggle a lot of balls in transit, as leaders in this industry, one of them is glass.” The safety of customers and employees has to be a true priority for agencies and leaders have a responsibility to ensure the success of the front-line employees. If the employees are successful, the agency will ultimately get the performance and safety they need, while ensuring a satisfied public.
Mr. Bianco is a keen observer of others and avid reader on leadership, seeking inspiration for his own leadership journey from a variety of sources. As a leader and a coach, he believes leaders need three key qualities: humility, empathy, and the ability to hold people accountable. In his new role as moderator and coach for the Transit Senior Executive Program, he looks forward to helping emerging leaders build these skills and identify their path forward to the C-suite.
Carmen Bianco is the principal at Bianco Associates. His work on organizational culture and business performance spans the globe. For nearly six years, Carmen oversaw the operation of New York City Transit, North America’s largest mass transit system. As president of the subway and bus systems, he was responsible for the safe and efficient transportation of New York City Transit’s nearly eight million daily customers. Carmen directed a workforce of more than 48,000 employees and an annual operating budget that exceeded $10 billion. During his tenure, Carmen transformed the agency’s organizational culture to align management strategies, enhance safety and improve customer service to advance the subways, buses, paratransit and Staten Island Railway in New York City. In his consulting, Carmen advises corporations on issues involving leadership, culture, strategy and operational practices.
Applications for Transit Senior Executive are open until November 18, 2019. Click here for more information on how to apply and learn more about leadership from Mr. Bianco.