Hello and welcome to the Women in Rail West Midlands Regional Group!

WR West Midlands was set up in 2016 and has an ever growing and active membership. The group has been chaired by Claire Burrows since February 2018. Claire is a Legal Director at Shakespeare Martineau and she is supported by a strong and diverse steering committee (details of which are set out below).

In relation to her appointment, Claire commented: “I am delighted to be taking over as Chair of WRWM. Our ambition is to reach out to and engage with more women (and men) who are connected to the rail sector in the West Midlands, to support and develop the great talent we have in our local industry and to inspire others to join it.”

The group organises a full calendar of events throughout the year (including development workshops, themed presentations and networking events), with the aim to empower women throughout the region to meet their own personal goals and become the best possible version of themselves.

We are always keen to meet new members or volunteers so please come along and get involved!

Kindest regards

WR West Midlands Team
Email: WestMidlands@womeninrail.org

Claire Burrows, Legal Director, National Law Firm Shakespeare Martineau

Claire is a Legal Director at national law firm Shakespeare Martineau, focussing on all aspects of Dispute Resolution with a particular emphasis on rail and the wider transport sector. Prior to her current role, she has worked at other national law firms and, in those roles, has been instrumental in setting up both rail sector teams and diversity committees. As such, Women in Rail was an obvious fit for her.

Claire has been Chair of the West Midlands Regional Steering Committee since 2018 and is a passionate advocate for the whole diversity agenda, whilst maintaining a focus on gender diversity and equality. She is delighted to use her role to work alongside the other Regional Chairs, affiliated organisations and the industry to promote Women in Rail’s core values and objectives.

Joe Preece, Research Fellow, University of Birmingham

Dr Joe Preece is a Research Fellow in the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education at the University of Birmingham, exploring the intersections between computer science and the rail industry. His primary research interests focus on the integration and analysis of railway data to extract trends and knowledge from large rail-related datasets, covering a variety of areas such as track maintenance, smart ticketing, and anthropology. Joe joined the Women in Rail committee to offer his perspective as a data scientist on how to promote equality, diversity, and inclusivity through data-driven decisions.

Lorraine Warner, Engineering Manager (Rail), WSP

Lorraine has been a committee member of Women in Rail West Midlands Region from the beginning in 2016. She is passionate about encouraging women to join the rail industry and also retaining women within the industry.

Lorraine is an experienced Engineer with 25 years in the rail industry. She has an extensive grounding in signalling which supports the multidisciplinary engineering management she currently undertakes for both client and contractor. Her key skills are in the co-ordination and assurance of multidisciplinary rail schemes, promoting collaboration in order to meet project milestones.

Blaise Elsmore, Systems Engineer, Avanti West Coast

I am a Systems Engineer at Avanti West Coast, working within the Fleet & Engineering team. I have worked in the railway since 2017 and since joining, I have embarked on studying an MSc at the University of Birmingham in Railway Systems Engineering and Integration. I am an Incorporated Engineer with the Institution of Engineering and Technology, and working my way towards becoming Chartered, which hopefully I can achieve once I have completed my MSc. I am passionate about encouraging more females into STEM roles as I believe that a diverse workforce brings together such a vast range of qualities to create a better work environment and innovate through different ways of thinking and approaches.

Monica Barbosa, Client Services Director, RSS Infrastructure

  • Monica has been working in the transportation sector for over 14 years, officially joining the railway industry in early 2018.
  • Since joining the rail sector, Monica has been heavily involved in increasing the voice of the rail supply community, with a focus on the SMEs and apprenticeships.
  • Monica has been with the Business for c. 1 year working as the Head of the Account Development Department.
  • Monica is responsible for working closely with the key clients that the Business and Operations team supports to ensure that a strong and long-term relationship is built and maintained.
  • Monica was previously Business Development and Communications Director at Xrail Group, with the responsibility of securing, delivering and managing high-value projects across different geographies including Europe and the Middle East. She secured the company the contract for the high – speed preventative and corrective maintenance of the Madrid- Levante line in Spain at the value of €6.7million.
  • Monica started her career in the rail sector at the Railway Industry Association (RIA) , with responsibility for strengthening current relationships with members, as well as building new connections in the rail industry. During her time at RIA the membership grew by over 45%.
  • Monica is passionate about the rail industry and its people; she is committed to promoting gender equality, inclusion and diversity and empowering the younger generation to pursue a career in transport industry.
  • Monica was a finalist of The Future Faces of Industry 2021 for the Young professional Awards with Future Faces Chamber of Commerce of Birmingham.

Julia Whittaker, Learning and Development Professional

Julia joined the West Midlands committee in 2022 and she is keen to support learning and development in the Rail Industry. Julia has worked as a learning and development professional for over 18 years helping organisations achieve the impact they need from training and skills. Julia has worked on the development of new apprenticeship standards, National Occupational Standards (NOS) and qualifications both in the rail industry and also several other industries within the passenger transport and engineering sectors.

Chloe Denham, Innovation Programme Manager, Network Rail

Chloe is an Innovation Programme Manager at Network Rail. Working as part of the Central Rail Systems Alliance that deliver PL & S&C Track Renewals where she has an opportunity to work with Capital Delivery, Maintenance, Research & Development and Suppliers in delivering innovation projects. She has spent more than 20 years working in the industry finding her passion in Change and Innovation where she can bring people together to collaborate in solving challenging problems to the business.

Joining Women in Rail in early 2023 Chloe is looking forward to promoting and supporting initiatives on the West Midlands to make the industry a diverse and inclusive place for Women to work.