TriCounty Area Chamber presents REACH 2021 Woman of Influence and Empowerment Award

The TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a REACH Luncheon on Wednesday, March 23 at the Sunnybrook Ballroom, where SEPTA’s CEO and General Manager, Leslie S. Richards, spoke and was awarded with the REACH 2021 Woman of Influence and Empowerment Award.

REACH is a TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce program that brings together professional women in the tri-county region to network, build relationships, and access professional development and educational opportunities designed to empower and inspire women. At this event, Richards spoke on “Women-Power and Influence” as part of a question-and-answer session with Chamber President Eileen Dautrich.

Richards described her first day within a government position, where she noticed there were no women’s faces among her co-workers and former governors’ portraits. She told attendees she knew she wanted to create a diverse work environment in her roles as Montgomery County Commissioner, then the Secretary of PennDOT, and now as the CEO and general manager of SEPTA.

Richards was recognized for her leadership in the industry and commitment to public service as well as her advocacy for women and diversity in government and the transportation field. The TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce REACH Award was originally intended to be presented in 2021, but due to the pandemic, was pushed back to this luncheon.

“I see the opportunity for women everywhere… We seem to be achieving things that have not been achievable in the past,” Richards explained of her advocacy role of helping women. She urged the women at the luncheon to make the time to be a mentor to other women to help them on their journey.

“Remember what it would mean to you,” she said.

The TriCounty Area Chamber will host its next REACH Luncheon on May 4 at Brookside Country Club where a panel will discuss “Sharing Your Potential.”  For more information, contact the chamber at 610-326-2900 or visit

The TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce is a membership organization serving businesses in southeastern Berks, western Montgomery, and northern Chester counties as well as the Route 422 corridor. The chamber’s mission is to leverage the power of membership to provide valued membership services and proactive leadership for the tri-county region.

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