July 2018 Issue Number 216
Is a monthly electronic newsletter which links current events and issues to the daily challenges faced by fire and emergency services managers. Current topics in the areas of leadership development, workplace diversity, change management, and conflict resolution will be discussed.
We hope that you find the information here useful and provocative.
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Fire-Rescue International will take place August 8-11, 2018 in Dallas, TX.
The King County (WA) Fire Chiefs Association will be holding its annual meeting at the end of September on Bainbridge Island, WA. Linda Willing will be a featured speaker at this event. More details to follow.
Now available! On
the Line: Women Firefighters Tell Their Stories by Linda
F. Willing. This book features interviews with over 35 women
firefighters from the United States and Canada. The book is available
from major online booksellers, and signed copies may be ordered through this website.
Seeing is Believing
It's summer again, so it must be time for American Ninja Warrior on television. I admit it: I'm a fan. Yes, the whole thing is contrived, and sometimes the human interest element is overdone (although some of the stories are undeniably inspiring.) But I love that the competitors all cheer for one another, and that experienced athletes mentor the younger people, and that effort and commitment are celebrated. And you just cannot deny the pure athleticism of what they do-- it's beyond belief sometimes.
But there they are, really doing it. There are men and women from teenagers to those beyond middle age, all putting themselves out there on an obstacle course that would be challenging for any athlete.
In particular, I notice the women. This season they have already had one city qualifier where three women finished the course, among nine men who did. Fully 25% of all finishers were women, something that had never happened before.
For some time such achievement did not seem possible. The series started in 2009 but it was not until 2014 that a single woman completed a qualifying course. Watch the first five seasons of the show and you won't see women around.
But now, just four years later, five women have already completed the qualifying course, and that is just so far this year. The courses have not been made easier; on the contrary, when you compare the obstacles today to those in the early seasons, it is clear that the courses are now much more difficult. What has changed is the caliber of competitors, among both men and women.
Little girls are watching this show now, seeing beautiful strong women competing head to head with men, and watching them succeed. When they see women completing ANW courses, or being firefighters, or filling any number of other jobs and roles where women were once excluded-- these girls think: I could do that too. That is the importance of visible role models. That is one legacy of American Ninja Warrior.