Kamini Sharma
Chief Architect,
National High-Speed Rail Corporation, India
Years in the industry: 12

SINCE 2017 Kamini Sharma has been chief architect at National High-Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL), which is building India’s first high-speed line from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. She is responsible for complete architectural design of all stations, the operations control centre, training institute and other buildings, as well as planning multimodal integration (MMI) schemes at 12 city stations. Kamini also represents NHSRCL in planning development around stations, working with project funder Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), Japanese consultants, central and state government departments and city planning authorities.

Kamini Sharma, Chief Architect,
National High-Speed Rail Corporation, India.

Kamini has been nominated by her colleague Mr Alok Katiyar, director, electrical and systems, at NHSRCL, who says that she has been instrumental in creating a positive and open working environment, following an inclusive approach. Kamini readily shares her insight gained over 33 years as an architect in the public sector, enabling team members to hone their skills, while providing them with experience and training at national and international level to enable them to meet their full potential.

As a designer, Kamini is tightly focused on meeting the needs of all passengers, irrespective of age, gender or degree of impairment. Building India’s first high-speed line is a technology-oriented project where the major focus for NHSRCL is implementing Japanese Shinkansen best practice. Making the entire team aware at all times of the importance of passenger safety, convenience and comfort has been a challenge, but Kamini has successfully incorporated these principles in station design. Japanese practice has been modified to meet Indian requirements in terms of culture, passenger behaviour and climate, without compromising the basic functions of high-speed rail.

Kamini is chair of the Prevention of Sexual Harassment (Posh) Committee at NHSRCL. She has also reinforced the sense of personal security and dignity among female colleagues by raising awareness of the issues facing women in the workplace through talks and seminars, and by encouraging them to participate in sports and cultural activities at NHSRCL. Kamini regularly holds informal discussions with younger female colleagues to ensure that any concerns and grievances can be addressed without adverse fall out.

Kristin Leese
Deputy Chief Engineer, Production
Amtrak, United States
Years in the industry: 14

WITHIN Amtrak’s infrastructure maintenance activities, Kristin Leese leads the production maintenance team undertaking work such as rail and sleeper replacement and high-speed surfacing. She has led efforts to more than double production rates and reduce unit costs, while also improving safety performance, which now stands at its highest level ever.

Kristin has been nominated by a colleague who says that her leadership has helped to ensure a safe ride for Amtrak passengers while maintaining on-time performance and increasing service reliability.

Kristin has shown calm leadership even when under immense pressure, such as when responding to derailments. She continues to strive for excellence and drive continuous improvement among the team.

Kristin Leese, Deputy Chief Engineer, Production
Amtrak, United States.

One of the biggest challenges that Kristin has overcome was securing extended track time in order to undertake work more efficiently on the line from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. As this involved cancelling more train services, internal and external stakeholders were highly resistant to the idea, but she was able to secure support and commitment from senior management with the result that the project was completed in half the time.

A leader of the Notch 8 employee resource group at Amtrak that is dedicated to promoting women in rail, Kristin has taken time out to create videos shared by Amtrak encouraging more women to get involved in the industry, particularly on the operations side, where they are severely under-represented. She is also an executive sponsor for Management 101 classes to help train the next generation of leaders and frontline supervisors at Amtrak.

Her nominator says that Kristin is an outstanding leader and excellent role model, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the rail industry while encouraging her team to continuously improve. She has already accomplished a great deal so far and her positivity and leadership will continue to empower women and others.

Genevieve de Michele
Project Director (Sector 1 North), Gluco Consultants, Australia, contracting with the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads
Years in the industry: 14

GENEVIEVE de Michele is a highly accomplished project director. With 14 years of experience in engineering, including nearly three years as project director within Strategic Rail at the Queensland state government’s Department of Transport and Main Roads, Genevieve has established herself as a proficient and influential leader in the Australian railway industry.

Genevieve’s expertise and project management skills are notably demonstrated in her role leading the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line project, a new 38km railway that is planned between Beerwah in southeast Queensland and Caloundra and Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast. Work in the first phase will involve construction of 19km of double track from a junction at Beerwah, as well as protection of the rail alignment all the way to Maroochydore, under her guidance, the business case for the project was completed ahead of schedule and within budget.

Beyond her project work, Genevieve is deeply committed to fostering collaboration and innovation within the engineering community. She actively engages with stakeholders and regularly facilitates interactive workshops to address complex interface risks and to develop multi-modal solutions that will benefit Queensland’s transport infrastructure.

Genevieve de Michele,
Project Director (Sector 1 North), Gluco Consultants, Australia, contracting with the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads.

As a qualified civil and construction engineer, Genevieve brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role, having previously worked on prominent road projects in Queensland such as the Legacy Way tunnel, the Kingsford Smith Drive Upgrade, and the Inner City Bypass Upgrade.

Genevieve’s passion for empowering the next generation of engineers is evident in her role as a mentor for various universities and initiatives. Through her mentorship and advocacy efforts, she strives to inspire young women to pursue careers in Stem fields and break barriers in traditionally male-dominated industries.

Driven by a profound belief in the transformative power of transport projects, Genevieve’s nominator states that she is committed to delivering infrastructure solutions that enhance accessibility, affordability, and sustainability for communities across Queensland. In addition, her dedication to promoting mental health and work-life balance reflects her holistic approach to engineering and underscores her commitment to the well-being of both her team and the broader community.

Genevieve’s nominator adds that her professional accomplishments, combined with her passion for mentorship and advocacy, make her a respected and influential figure in the engineering community. A tireless dedication to driving positive change and her vision for a more inclusive and sustainable future also continue to inspire those around her.

Part 1 of Women in Rail Award 2024 can be found here

Part 3 of Women in Rail Award 2024 can be found here

Part 4 of Women in Rail Award 2024 can be found here

Part 5 of Women in Rail Award 2024 can be found here