Janice R. Thomas

Chief of Staff/Deputy Executive Director, External Affairs

Ms. Thomas brings more than 25 years of government experience to her role as Chief of Staff/Deputy Executive Director, External Affairs, a position she assumed in March 2022. Among her key responsibilities is serving as an effective communicator and strategic advisor and planner to the CEO. Helping to manage the nation’s fourth-largest commuter rail system, Ms. Thomas oversees capital project delivery, special projects and key initiatives, solving complex issues demanding executive leadership.

Among her other responsibilities, Ms. Thomas directs and manages the customer service, media relations/communications, government affairs, marketing, and community relations teams for Metra.

Most recently, she has played a major role in Metra’s response to the coronavirus, and was a keynote speaker at the Chicago Safe Return To Work Summit sponsored by Metra and the Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago, which was attended by over 1,100 senior business executives and HR professionals.

During her tenure at Metra, which began in 2010, Ms. Thomas has served the agency in a variety of supervisory and managerial positions, including as Chief of Staff and Senior Division Director of Business Diversity & Community Relations. In the latter role, she successfully oversaw the administration and management of community relations and the DBE program, including certifications, contract and labor compliance, outreach, and the Title VI program.

Prior to joining Metra, Ms. Thomas served as the minority and female business enterprise coordinator in the purchasing division of the University of Illinois at Chicago. She began her career in 1997 as a compliance coordinator for the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS).

Ms. Thomas holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Chicago State University.  She is a certified professional public buyer (CPPB) and a professional member of the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP). She is also a graduate of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Leadership Program for executive professionals and a graduate of the Eno Transit Senior Executive Program. In 2009, she served as honorary co-chair of the Minority Business Development Agency-MED Council of Chicago.


Janice R. Thomas headshot