The start of a new year is always a good time to make a change.
For Andrea Stuart-Lehalle, 2021 is starting with a job transition. For six years, she has been Sound Transit's video team manager. Now, she'll take on a new role as as Chief of Staff for our Safety department!
Before joining Sound Transit, Stuart-Lehalle was the Creative Director for a small Paris-based creative agency and video production company.
The world traveler, music lover and "transit rider for life" is this month’s “Inside Sound Transit” guest. It’s our regular feature introducing you to the people working to make it easier to get to where you live, work and play.
Stuart-Lehalle is involved with many employee groups, from Toastmasters to Blacks Empowering Success in Transit (BEST) to the leadership team that champions putting our values into practice.
"I’m a naturally curious person, and I like to try new things. It helps keep me on my toes, and helps keep my comfortable with being uncomfortable, as they say," she said.
Q: What do you tell your friends you do for work?
A: For almost six years I’ve said something like, “I lead the team that creates video communications for the regional transit authority.” When I told my parents I was taking on a new role as Chief of Staff for Safety, I told them “I will be working closely with our Chief Safety Officer, supporting staff and all our department initiatives…” There was a bit of silence after that!
Q: What’s your passion outside of your job?
A: Music has shaped my life more than anything. Growing up, that was my experimentation ground, having picked up 15 or so instruments over the years, including voice. My dad was a DJ when he was a kid, so he would always spin records on the weekends at home. I had my first band in the 6th grade, and my high school punk band was a big thing for me. I played bass and screamed a lot. I spent my 14 years in Europe leading a band that toured and made four albums. I also toured as a DJ, having picked up a lot my dad’s records collection. Music is my true calling. I guess that’s why I don’t do it for a living.
Q: What attracted you to work at Sound Transit?
A: I am a transit rider for life. Some of the first times I felt “grown-up” when I was a kid, was being able to travel independently on transit, taking Metro to the National Mall in Washington D.C., near where I grew up. I’ve been transit dependent my entire adult life, living in New York City, Prague and then Paris, and I didn’t own a car until I moved to Seattle. I once took a vacation on small Croatian island, and I was so jazzed up by my car-free journey way across Europe - I walked out my door and down the street to the train station in Paris, then train to a bus, then a ferry. Transit gets me excited. There are just so many possibilities.
Q: How do you get to work?
A: I walk down my basement steps! Ha ha! But, before COVID-19, I would bike in from Rainier Beach from March to October, and bus to Link the rest of the year.
Q: What three things would you take with you to a desert island (besides food and water)?
A: Graphic novels, my acoustic guitar and my family!