collage of femaie employees

Celebrate International Women's Day

Meet some of the extraordinary women working for the City of Raleigh

In 1975, the United Nations designated March 8 as International Women’s Day. The women who work for the City of Raleigh inspire us on a daily basis -- We celebrate you today… and everyday. Please read the stories of just a few of the women who make the City of Raleigh a great place to work.

Cyesha Cole and Danielle McClain - Solid Waste Services

SWS women

Of the 163 Solid Waste Services Operations positions, only six are filled by women including Cyesha Cole and Danielle McClain. One might assume being one of a few women in a male-dominated field would be intimidating, but they have embraced the challenge and continue to strengthen the department.

On Being a Woman in a Male-Dominated Profession

Cole is the department’s only female crew lead. She sees women as assets in the operations field as they bring unique perspectives that enhance collaboration and problem-solving. She encourages more women to apply to operations positions and contribute their unique skills to Solid Waste Services and beyond.


McClain, who serves as the department’s only female route supervisor, but hopefully not for long, stated, “Don’t let the male-dominated field scare you, take that challenge!”

Captain Renae Lockhart - Raleigh Police

Renee Lockhart

Captain Renae Lockhart studied social work in school and found her desire to help people translated perfectly to the law enforcement profession. She’s been with the Raleigh Police Department for 22 years working most recently in the Addressing Crises through Outreach, Referrals, Networking and Service (ACORNS) program, before being promoted to Captain.

On Being a Woman in a Male-Dominated Profession

Lockhart says stereotypes still persist when it comes to certain careers. 

“People make assumptions and I have heard things like ‘Oh honey, you are going to need help’ or "Your husband let you be an officer?'.” But, she points out that typically, in the moment of crisis, when people need police, they do not care who the person is behind the uniform.

Lockhart believes having a different perspective is valuable and contributes to the profession.  “I am not going to man-handle my way out of a situation, but I do have strengths that can bring forth a needed resolution. The sense of belonging comes from making yourself heard. Professionals are willing to listen, one just has to be courageous and speak up,” Lockhart said.


You go Girl! Run like a Girl, do it like a Girl! Be yourself. Embrace it. Also support other girls and take care of one another. Seek out mentors that are different from yourself and maybe one that is similar. Chase your wildest dreams, you may not realize it now but you can go above beyond!  Lastly, do know YOU CAN BE WHAT YOU SELDOM OR HAVE NEVER SEEN!

Elizabeth Nooe - Engineering Services

Beth Nooe

Elizabeth Nooe is part of a growing number of women in the construction industry. Nooe, has been with the City for more than ten years, has a background in planning and architecture design, and loves the hands-on aspect of her job.

On Being a Woman in a Male-Dominated Profession

“The construction industry is changing, and I've had the privilege of working alongside many talented women in roles traditionally held by men,” said Nooe. “Despite positive shifts, there are still outdated beliefs and cultural challenges for women. I've noticed that women often face the extra burden of proving their expertise and authority, that male counterparts may not experience.” 

Nooe told us having supportive mentors who understand these unique challenges has been crucial.


The only limit to your achievements is the one you impose on yourself. Don’t abandon your dreams just because it seems to be challenging, or others may doubt you. To discover what you are capable of just go out and do it. Find a path towards you dream, then make a space for yourself and own it.  

Tanya Orr - Planning and Development

Tanya Orr

While Tanya Orr has more than 25 years of experience in the construction industry, she has only been with the City of Raleigh for less than a year. She has the distinction of being the City’s first female trade inspector as an electrician. She tells us, even as a young girl, she was always curious about how things worked. At the age of nine she took apart her father's transistor radio apart and pieced it back together. She’s just always had a natural ability to fix and build things.

On Being a Woman in a Male-Dominated Profession

Orr says it hasn’t always been easy. “There's always a few who will question your knowledge and skills because you’re a woman,” she said. She combats that by learning her trade and working it to the best of her ability. She went on to say, “I am now in a comfortable place in my career, I feel I have a lot of experience to offer, and I am an asset to my team. People are usually surprised when I arrive on construction sites as the Electrical Inspector, but for me I am simply doing my job.”


What I would tell any young girl is to follow your dreams, never limit yourself in any way. Although you have not seen a woman before you succeed in a certain career, you can be the first!

Captain Michelle Smith - Raleigh Fire Department

Michelle Smith

Captain Michelle Smith was working with a local rescue squad in Avery County when she met a City of Raleigh firefighter who happened to be visiting that area. That conversation, more than 20 years ago, led her to apply to the Raleigh Fire Department and coming to work here. She was recently promoted to Captain and works at Fire Station 3. Smith enjoys the daily challenges and the ability to directly help folks in need.

On Being a Woman in a Male-Dominated Profession

“While not everyone initially embraced the idea of women in the fire department, the landscape has undoubtedly shifted. Each academy class now routinely includes female recruits, and senior females are taking on mentoring roles – a fantastic development,” said Smith. “Public reactions in the community are often a mix of surprise and positivity when they see a woman step off the fire truck, solidifying the positive shift taking place.”


To achieve success, embrace your unique potential and don't let societal expectations define your dreams. Challenge stereotypes and biases, and pursue your dreams with passion and determination, even if unconventional. Surround yourself with supportive individuals, such as mentors and role models, who can provide guidance and inspiration. Embrace learning and growth by facing challenges and learning from them. Be open to constructive criticism to refine your skills and knowledge. Never stop striving, as persistence and resilience are key to achieving any dream. View setbacks as learning opportunities and keep moving forward with determination. Remember, the world needs diverse perspectives and talents, and by believing in yourself and pursuing your dreams with passion, you can achieve great things and inspire others.

Fast Fact

East civic tower team

The majority of the lead team for the East Civic Campus is women! Engineer Priscilla Williams heads up the team working on one of the City’s most high-profile projects. She works alongside Cindy Salgado, Stephanie Seeber, Elizabeth Nooe, and Tiffanie Mazanek, all in Engineering Services, as well as Katie Dombrowski in Communications.


Seeber says when young women see this picture she hopes it inspires them to ask questions like: How can I do that too?  Who can help me do that? She says she wants all women to know that anything is possible.




Raleigh Municipal Building

222 W. Hargett St.

Raleigh, NC 27601

Lead Department: