This is probably the toughest page to write. Why? Because of the little but loud voice in my head that for years shamed me of my accomplishments.
“Diane, you are a woman, of course, you will get promoted.”
“What are you cooking for the guys tonight?”
“Do you have to do the same things all the guys do?”
“Diane, you I won’t move you to that engine because I am not going to stack an engine with women.”
I spent the first part of my career just trying to fit in and make sure the guys liked me. If I just kept my mouth shut and laughed at the jokes or make self-deprecating jokes about myself, I would have their respect. I didn’t want to be different.
Spoiler alert, I am not like all of my male colleagues. And once I embraced who I am and the skills I bring to the table, I fell in love with my career and became a more confident human.
Here are quick highlights of my career
- I was hired at 23 to a large city department.
- I was a paramedic/ firefighter for five years.
- Promoted to Lieutenant (first level supervisor) with FIVE years on the job
- I spent one year on the busiest truck and five years at one of the busiest engines in the city as a lieutenant
- Promoted to Captain and was reassigned to headquarters, where I was the first female in my organization to have a baby (it was 2012)
- During my time at headquarters, I functioned as the Public Information Officer and ran the Community Outreach Bureau.
- When I left HQ, I ran a slower station on the northside of town, interacting with our lower socio-economic and homeless community members (which ignited a passion in me I didn’t know existed).
- I left my organization of 19 years and accepted a promotion to Batallion Chief in a small combination department (the best decision I have ever made)
- I have a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration, and I am working on my Master’s in Executive Leadership.
- I am an Executive Fire Officer (EFO), graduate, and have three published papers.
- Currently, I am a fellow of the International Fire Chief’s Association (IFAC) Diversity Executive Leadership Program (iDELP)
- I have presented all over the country about equity, inclusion, and helping organizations create healthy work cultures.