Workforce Diversity Wednesday: Adriel Thornton

by Kiran Herbert, Communications Manager

As part of an ongoing series, we’re spotlighting underrepresented voices in shared micromobility in order to encourage more diversity and representation in the field.

In 2019, the North American Bikeshare and Scootershare Association (NABSA) launched its Workforce Diversity Toolkit for Bikeshare and Shared Micromobility. Created in cooperation with the Better Bike Share Partnership (BBSP), the toolkit includes case studies of best practices from the industry, questions for self-evaluation, and further resources.

This year, NABSA’s DEI Committee, in partnership with BBSP, plans to update and relaunch the Workforce Diversity Toolkit with both Spanish and French-translated versions. As part of that update, we’ve launched this “Workforce Diversity Wednesdays” series, which spotlights BIPOC working in shared micromobility. The goal of both the toolkit and this series is to encourage more diversity and representation in the field.

This week, we’d like to introduce you to Adriel Thornton, the executive director of MoGo, the nonprofit bike share organization based in Detroit, Michigan. Adriel is also a current NABSA Board member and NABSA Board Vice President.

Read his interview to learn how he came to this work, his favorite things about his role, and what has surprised him most below.

How did you come to arrive at working in shared micromobility and your current role?

MoGo is an affiliate of the Downtown Detroit Partnership. I worked for a number of years with the park system doing corporate marketing. I stepped away to do some freelance marketing and PR work. I’ve always been interested in cycling, so when I heard about bike share coming to Detroit, I wanted to be part of it. I originally applied for the director of marketing and community outreach position, and started in February of 2017, a few months before we launched! When MoGo’s founder and ED decided to transition, I threw my hat in the ring. I was selected for the role and celebrated my two-year anniversary at the beginning of May.

I spent a long time being an event producer in the city and that has really helped me in my current role. I’ve been able to establish community connections that have been critical. 

What is your favorite thing about your job?

Really, I love the community impact. It’s really being able to do something that positively impacts the people that we serve. Bike share is active, healthy, and equitable transportation and I love providing that for the people of metro Detroit. It is truly an honor to serve the community this way.

I love providing a clean form of transportation in a city like Detroit, which is still very much the auto capital of the country. Giving people an opportunity to get from point A to point B in an environmentally conscious way…and doing so in an equitable way is really important to me. 

What is your favorite thing about working in the shared micromoblity industry? 

I love being able to see and get connected to what other people are doing. It’s great being a part of NABSA, an organization that is focused on micromobility as an option and solution to some of the challenges we face. 

It’s interesting to me how working in this sphere allows me to touch on so many different aspects of life. I get to work with state and local governments, community groups, other nonprofits, individuals, corporations, foundations, etc. We are able to touch a lot of pieces of a greater puzzle. 

What has surprised you most about your job? 

The most surprising thing has been the community’s response to bike share. People here have really embraced it, and I love that! I would, however, like to see more support for bike share on a federal level.

What would you like people to know?

Some of us are working in really diverse cities. I’d like to see a workforce that better represents the diverse cities that we work in. 

What is a recommendation you would have for someone interested in a shared micromobility role?

Come with a people-first lens. It’s about the people. Don’t try to fit someone into the plan when they are the plan!

The Better Bike Share Partnership is funded by The JPB Foundation as a collaboration between the City of Philadelphia, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), and the PeopleForBikes Foundation to build equitable and replicable bike share systems. Follow us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter, and Instagram, or sign up for our weekly newsletter. Have a question or a story idea? Email