FESTI - Fire & Emergency Services Training Institute 2025 Courtneypark Drive, East, Mississauga
Facilitated by FSWO Executive Director Susan Jones(Moderator); Fire Service Women Ontario President Pike Krpan, Fire Service Women British Columbia President Jenn Dawkins, Fire Emergency Services Training Institute Dean Kelly Holden, Laura King NFPA Canadian Regional Director, Michele Vandevord, President National Indigenous fire Safety Council
This session brings together a group of five dynamic women leaders whose personal journeys have ventured outside the traditional rank and file hierarchy to achieve tremendous success in making a difference in helping to diversify and improve Canada’s fire service. FSWO Executive Director Susan Jones who shares a similar diverse background will be the session’s moderator and will focus on highlighting the panel’s various education ,work related and volunteer commitments that speak to the conference theme of “Building Leaders, Driving Change “ All 5 panelist share in having diverse backgrounds and unique experiences that not only has benefitted the fire service industry but has also helped to Educate, Encourage and Empower other women to follow different career paths. The intent of bringing the panelists together is to show that leadership opportunities exist and can be developed in a variety of different ways as well as help promote the concept that there are several roles and functions beyond the traditional fire department work that contribute to the effectiveness of a successful fire service.
Susan Jones is
retired from the City of Ottawa and was the former Acting Deputy City Manager
of City Operations at the City responsible for overseeing several City
departments. She has held a number of positions in her 37 year career in
municipal government which included being the General Manager of Emergency and
Protective Services for the City of Ottawa from 2009 to 2015 responsible for
managing and directing the delivery of Fire, Paramedic, Corporate Security,
Emergency Management, and By-law, Parking and Licensing operations. Susan has
been a strong advocate and mentor to women in leadership roles, particularly in
male dominated professions and is proud to have helped launch Fire Service
Women Ontario (FSWO), Camp FFIT (Female Fire Fighters in Training) and served
on the FSWO board of directors. Susan was also an International Trustee with
the International Association of Women in Fire and Emergency Services (iWomen).
Susan has a BA in
Criminology from Carleton and was honored to receive the President’s
Trailblazer Award in 2016 for her ongoing work and innovative leadership as an
advocate for women in the first responder field. Susan is excited to continue
working with FSWO as their Executive Director.
is a career firefighter with the City of Hamilton since 2013. They currently
serve the firefighting community as FSWO President. They have been a member of
FSWO since the beginning of their career. They are the organizer of Camp FFIT
(Female Firefighters in Training) Hamilton, an annual three-day camp that takes
place every fall at Hamilton Fire's training facility for young women aged
Pike is a proud member of an engine crew and
also works in communications/dispatch, technical rescue (high angle rope
rescue) and as a driver/pump operator at Hamilton Fire. They were the recipient
of a full Honeywell Scholarship to FDIC 2016. They studied Pre-Service
Firefighter Education at FESTI (Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute)
in 2012 and was hired within six months of their graduation.
Pike brings a varied background to their career
in the fire service. They completed their Masters of Arts at the Ontario
Institute of Education in Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, with a
focus on women's issues in education. Previously, they worked in international
development education in diverse countries such as Cuba, Ecuador and Jamaica
after getting their undergraduate degree in International Development and
Women's Studies at Trent University.
Pike is currently a mentor with FSWO's
mentorship program and offers assistance to those considering a career in the
fire service. They also act as a mentor promoting women in firefighting with
the Women in Trades program of the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program as well
as with the YWCA Hamilton. They were nominated for a YWCA Hamilton Woman of
Distinction Award in 2019 for their work in education and mentoring. They love
to introduce people to the challenge of firefighting.
her career in Maple Ridge in 1997 where she served 3 years before getting hired
in Vancouver in 2000. Currently an acting Captain in Suppression Jenn has been
part of several specialties including hazmat, heavy rescue and HUSAR and has
worked in many divisions including Recruitment and Outreach, Public Education,
and the Training Division. She has been an Instructor with the Justice
Institute of BC for several years. In 2010, Jenn was one of the founders
of Camp Ignite and served as the Program Director for its first 11 years. She
has a Certificate in Emergency Management and is currently completing her
Bachelors in Interdisciplinary Studies. In 2021 Jenn became a board member for
Fire Service Ontario and through that experience is excited to be FSWBC
Founding President and continue her role as a leader serving the Women in the
Fire Service British Columbia.
Kelly is the first Dean of FESTI, (Fire and
Emergency Training Institute). Responsible for the strategic plans, and
operational goals of the school, Kelly focuses on establishing a strong
ecosystem of diversity, inclusion and success. Over four years, Kelly has
transformed FESTI into a learning organization with a culture of team support,
student success and fun! Kelly holds a degree in Woman’s Studies as well as a
Certificate in Adult Learning. As a certified EQI (Emotional Intelligence)
Coach, she understands what it takes to get the best out of her people. Kelly
is also a certified Crucial Learning Trainer with a specialization in high-risk
conversations. Kelly’s energy and
fun-loving personality along with her “say it how it is” attitude will have you
on the edge of your seat as you learn what it takes to move from silence to
action in a conversation.
Laura King is NFPA’s regional director for Canada. Laura was the
editor of Fire Fighting in Canada and Canadian
for 10 years before moving to NFPA in 2017. She was a reporter and editor for
more than 20 years for newspapers and magazines across Canada and the United
Michelle Vandevord (Day Star Woman) is an active member of the Muskoday First Nation Volunteer Fire Department and is the longest-serving female firefighter in the department’s history as well as its first female captain. She started her career in Prince Albert as an officer delivering fire prevention programs to communities and is now the executive director of Saskatchewan First Nation Emergency Management (SFNEM) in Prince Albert. She is a member of the Saskatchewan Fire Chiefs Public Education committee and was recognized for her inclusion in the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Rising Star Program.
She lives in her community of Muskoday First Nation and is the mother of three daughters and three adopted sons. She is a very proud Kookum to four smart, handsome and funny grandsons.