Ethnic Gem: Celia J. Blue
Company: Massachusetts Department of Transportation
Title: Senior Advisor to the Secretary
By: Natascha Saunders, Senior Contributing Writer
“ Leaders are not born to be great; they have to be trained, mentored and given the opportunity to lead.” Celia J. Blue the first African American to serve as chief executive officer and registrar of the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). Blue has held multiple leadership positions, serving Mass DOT and the Commonwealth as assistant secretary for Performance Management and Innovation, deputy registrar, and as a commissioner of the Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission. Blue has a reputation for building and managing teams and establishing impactful partnerships. Her ability to lead and motivate has propelled many in their pursuit of excellence.
What is leadership? Who exemplifies leadership? Is leadership global or national? Do leaders exist within our communities? If so, what qualities do they possess?
Celia J. Blue is a leader within our community, right here in the city of Boston! Blue was the first African American to serve as chief executive officer and registrar of the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). Blue has held multiple leadership positions, serving Mass DOT and the Commonwealth as assistant secretary for Performance Management and Innovation, deputy registrar, and as a commissioner of the Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission. Blue has a reputation for building and managing teams and establishing impactful partnerships. Her ability to lead and motivate has propelled many in their pursuit of excellence.
Now serving as the senior advisor to the secretary at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, her main contribution is focused on operations, with a strong emphasis on improving customer experiences across Mass DOT/MBTA. As an executive leader and manager, her aim is to ensure that the customer has an excellent experience while providing an atmosphere that is conducive for employees to succeed.
Vision and a plan have been the essential foundation in her success. Starting at a young age, she had confidence in her ability to lead. Her tenacity and drive led her to work by day and pursue education by night. Like many great leaders, she has keen awareness for opportunities to lead and growth mechanisms, which enable her to learn more efficient team management strategies. Blue believes there is always room for improvement.
Mentoring is a source of motivation for her drive. She believes the development of a department, agency, or organization depends on the individual employees. Senior leaders are important, but employees are essential in achieving the company’s full potential. By maintaining this philosophy throughout her years of working, she has received numerous awards for her commitment to leadership, including the Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award from the internationally known Women Transportation Seminar (WTS), and the Women Who Rock Leadership Award from Get Konnected, an organization started by Colette Phillips Communications, Inc.
The phrase “work hard and play hard” characterizes how Blue manages her work and personal life. During her work hours, she implements time management skills in planning and completion of her tasks and duties. During her personal hours, she spends quality time with her family. She understands these hours are important in developing and welcoming balance in the bond between families. Celia enjoys playing golf, reading books, working out, and going to the beach and spa.
“When we lead we should realize it’s more than us, and when we realize that, we can make a difference.” Celia J. Blue
Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Mother Theresa, and Madam C. J. Walker are counted among Blue’s role models. These leaders have influenced her conscious awareness about society, the economy, and global humanity issues. These leaders have impacted her personally and professionally to always ensure she is supporting others in reaching their full potential.
Blue is a visionary because she has clear foresight, expectations and goals. In her experience, being open to possibilities is important because your experience, plus education, plus leadership, equals opportunity, and we should be open to where those opportunities might lead us.
Like many great leaders, she believes in giving back to society and is actively involved in women of color inequality issues. Currently, she is the chapter president for the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials and is the co-chair of the 44th National Conference coming to Boston on July 11-14 at the Park Plaza Hotel.
Continue to watch for Celia J. Blue to lead one of our nations’ largest organizations. Like her role models, she will leave an inspiring legacy of improving the lives of men, women, and youth while mentoring the next generation to take her place one day.