Caroline Decker (EMBA '16)

Alumna Profile: Caroline Decker (EMBA ’16)

on December 12 | in Alumni, Communication, Leadership | by | with No Comments

At least once a week, you can find Caroline Decker (Executive MBA ’16) aboard an Amtrak train somewhere along the passenger railroad’s Northeast Corridor, which stretches 450 miles between Boston and Washington, D.C.

Although her office is at Amtrak headquarters in Washington, Decker’s job as vice president of the Northeast Corridor Service Line might include stops in Philadelphia to meet with crews, New York to check over the massive reconstruction project at Penn Station, or New Haven, Connecticut, to inspect mechanical facilities.

“There is no better way to know the corridor than to spend time on it,” says Decker.

This is actually Decker’s third position with Amtrak as part of her circuitous career path. After earning a bachelor’s in political science and government at Arizona State University, she held several legislative posts before joining Amtrak in 2003 as assistant vice president of government affairs and corporate communications, a position she held for nearly eight years. Following her first stint with Amtrak, she joined the American Trucking Association as vice president of legislative affairs.

“It was about that time I decided to pursue my MBA,” Decker recalls, “which is fairly uncommon in the political world. Some colleagues had master’s degrees in public policy or law, but there were not many MBAs.”

She was accepted to the McDonough School of Business’s two-year Executive MBA program, and about halfway through, Amtrak lured her back, this time as vice president of government affairs and corporate communications. During the next two and a half years, her accomplishments included leading an effort that secured an additional $105 million in federal funding for Amtrak and creating the first company-wide women’s professional development group. The 250 members call themselves “Notch 8 Women of Amtrak,” a reference to a diesel locomotive at full throttle.

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