March 28 2024

2024's  Women's History Month, recognises women who are committed to equity, diversity and inclusion.  As a business, Transport UK, London Bus is proud of the women who drive us forward.
The contributions of women at every level of our business make us more able to serve our local communities and our customers. We're proud of the difference that they are making and know that they are the very best advert for a career in the bus industry.
To mark Women's History Month and International Women's Day, we are celebrating some of the brilliant women of Transport UK London Bus.

Who are you, where do you work and what do you do?
I’m Iracema Gaspar Simoes, Relief Operations Manager.

How did you get to where you are today?
My career journey began as a Team Leader at Three, where I worked for over 4 years. After gaining experience in retail management, I was seeking new opportunities and challenges, I transitioned to the Logistics Industry as an Area Manager at Amazon.

I decided to change careers and embarked upon a new path within the Bus Industry, initially as a Bus Driver and progressing to my current role as a Relief Operations Manager.

Academically, I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Politics and International Relations and a Masters in Sociology from the University of Kent.

Did you experience any challenges getting to where you are today?
Transitioning from a small industry to larger ones presented its own set of challenges, particularly in terms of managing diverse teams with individuals from various backgrounds and experiences. Additionally, being young in leadership roles often led to perceptions of inexperience, requiring me to
work harder to prove my capabilities and earn the trust of my colleagues.

Despite these challenges, I've persevered and continually strive to overcome obstacles while fostering an inclusive and collaborative work environment.

How did you overcome these challenges?
To overcome the challenges I faced, I focused on continuous learning and skill development to enhance my expertise and capabilities. I actively sought out opportunities to demonstrate my leadership abilities and expertise.

Progressing from a small industry to larger ones required adaptability and a willingness to learn quickly. I invested time in understanding the dynamics of the new environments, building relationships with diverse team members, and leveraging their unique perspectives to drive success.
Addressing perceptions of youth and inexperience involved taking on additional responsibilities, seeking out challenging projects, and consistently delivering high-quality results.

I demonstrated initiative, accountability, and a strong work ethic to earn the respect and trust of my peers and senior leadership.

What do you love about the bus sector?
One aspect I particularly enjoy about the bus sector is the dynamic nature of the work, where every day brings new challenges and opportunities. The variety of routes, customer interactions, and operational tasks ensure that no two days are alike, keeping the role engaging and stimulating.

This constant variation fosters a learning environment where I am continuously exposed to new situations, requiring adaptability and problem-solving skills.

What does a typical day look like?
As a new Relief Operations Manager in the bus industry, my typical day involves a blend of tasks focused on familiarising myself with the operations, addressing customer feedback, and building relationships with team members. This includes meeting with department heads and stakeholders to gain insights into various areas of expertise, reviewing customer feedback to identify areas for improvement, and conducting meetings. I prioritise engaging with bus drivers through informal
conversations to foster a positive work culture.

What advice would you give to women thinking about a career in the bus sector?
My advice to women considering a career in the bus and coach sector would be to embrace the opportunity wholeheartedly and not be deterred by any perceived gender barriers. It's essential to believe in your abilities and to assert yourself confidently in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
Seek out mentors and support networks within the sector, both male and female, who can offer guidance and encouragement along the way.

Additionally, continuously strive to enhance your skills and knowledge through training and professional development opportunities.

What has been your career highlight in bus so far?
One of the most memorable highlights of my career in the bus and coach sector was receiving recognition and acknowledgment from customers, particularly women, while driving buses. It was incredibly gratifying to have women express their pride in seeing me excel in a role typically dominated
by men. Their words of encouragement and appreciation for my driving skills not only made me feel accomplished but also reinforced the importance of breaking gender stereotypes and paving the way
for more women in the industry. Being acknowledged by others for my achievements was a significant milestone that filled me with happiness and a sense of fulfilment, motivating me to continue striving for excellence in my career.

What three things could be done to improve the industry for women?
1. Promoting Career Advancement
2. Training and Development Programs
3. Promote Diversity and Inclusion

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
In five years, I envision myself further advancing in my career within the Bus Industry in a senior management role. I see myself continuing to pursue opportunities for professional growth and development, further expanding my expertise and contributing to the continued success and evolution of the bus sector.


If you would like to join the Transport UK London Bus team, please see our latest vacancies.