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Our differences make us stronger, new MoDOT official says

by Alex Naughton | January 1, 2023 at 4:01 a.m.
Andria Hendricks, the new Equal Opportunity & Diversity Director for the Missouri Department of Transportation. Photo courtesy of MoDOT.

For Andria Hendricks, working with people and being a leader is nothing new.

As the new director of equal opportunity and diversity at the Missouri Department of Transportation, Hendricks will be using skills and practices she said she's used in all her leadership roles.

Hendricks' new role was announced in a MoDOT news release Friday. She began her new job Dec. 16, according to the release.

With only a short time in the new position so far, Hendricks said in an interview Friday she's been focusing on observing and learning.

She said MoDOT has a strategic plan with specific goals that she's been studying in preparation for whatever projects come her way.

"Right now, I'm just gaining understanding before making any changes or embarking upon anything, but I am extremely excited about the new opportunities that I'm facing here shortly," Hendricks said.

Hendricks said this position has existed at MoDOT for at least 20 years, so equal opportunity and diversity are a part of the organization's culture.

That culture, she said, is one that makes the organization stronger.

"It includes all people. It doesn't specify ethnicity, but it embraces differences. It makes places for all people," Hendricks said. "I think that's where people may not thoroughly understand, they may think it may be for one ethnicity over the other, but it's actually for all people."

Hendricks said all of her past roles entailed equal opportunity, affirmative action and inclusiveness for all people. Transitioning into this role from her previous leadership positions didn't change her responsibilities, she said, just her focus.

At her previous jobs, for example, Hendricks said she had to have equal opportunity and diversity embedded in her hiring practices. Now, she's just carrying out those practices on a broader scale, she said.

"Differences are what empower us to become better because we all come from different backgrounds, but coming together as a whole makes something more powerful and gives us more understanding of how the world operates," Hendricks said.

In her over 20 years of business administration before coming to MoDOT, Hendricks has held a variety of roles. She was a project manager at Hitachi Energy and the executive account director of program and business development at ALL Solutions. At Lincoln University, she was the bursar(treasurer)/director of student accounts, the Small Business Development Center director and a business professor.

SHE is currently an adjunct business professor in William Woods University's MBA program.

Hendricks said she's lived in Jefferson City since coming in 1993, almost 30 years. In addition to working at MoDOT and teaching at William Woods, Hendricks said she works alongside her husband, the Rev. Dr. Adrian Hendricks, at Joshua House church in serving the community.

"I really do look forward to serving the citizens of Missouri in my new role," Hendricks said. "It will benefit all people, not just a selected group but as a whole. And we'll become better as an organization as we continue to understand and embrace the differences of one another."

Print Headline: Our differences make us stronger, new MoDOT official says


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