Fire Prevention & Protection, Firefighting, Leadership

Women in the Fire Service seeks Executive Director

Executive Director
Contact info: Maureen McFadden, Vice President, Communications Legal Momentum, 212-413-7522, 646-325-4795

Women in the Fire Service, Inc. is a national nonprofit whose mission is to network the women of today’s firefighting world and to provide resources to help build the fire service of the future. WFS serves as the voice of more than 1.000 members who are career firefighters and rescue personnel in 48 states and 11 countries, firefighters and officers from urban fire departments and state or federal wildland agencies, EMT’s, paramedics, inspectors, dispatchers, and fire service educators.

Challenges Facing the Executive Director

Currently the majority of WFS’ funding is derived from special events and supplemented by membership dues and small contributions. The potential for additional funding is considerable, given an increased focus on diversity in fire departments nationwide and the opportunities presented to women for good pay and solid benefits provided by employment in non-traditional fields, such as firefighting. The Executive Director will be expected to expand funding sources to included support from national and regional foundations, corporations and individual donors.

S/he will be a charismatic leader who is prepared to become the public voice of the organization and who has the proven track record to take inventory of the organization’s unique history and authority in firefighting and women’s issues, and to couple that with the needs of its constituents and with current funding trends. The Executive Director will work collaboratively with the board of trustees to strategize on the next stage of organizational development.


The position may be located in the area where the successful candidate for executive director resides, though a major media market is preferable.

Additional Qualifications

The successful candidate will be a visionary leader, an entrepreneur with exceptional external relations skills and the ability to take this authoritative organization to a new level of respect and visibility. While some background/knowledge of the fire service is a plus, it is not essential.

Candidates should have proven grant writing and fund raising abilities with small to medium size non-profits and are willing to shape and exploit the organization’s growth potential.


Women in the Fire Service, Inc., began in 1982, eight years after the first female career firefighter was hired. Today, some 6,200 women in the U.S. work as career firefighters and officers, with perhaps 40,000 in the volunteer, paid-on-call, part-time and seasonal sectors. Women serve as chiefs of career and combination fire departments in every region of the U.S., along with many dozens more who are chiefs of volunteer departments.

Male fire chiefs, union presidents, EEO officers and others seeking to make the fire service a professional place where women and men work together harmoniously find WFS a valued source of information and counsel.

WFS holds seats on several committees and task groups of the National Fire Protection Association, where we have helped establish standards for firefighter qualifications. We often take part in advisory groups providing input to the National Fire Academy, and maintain collegial relationships with the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters and the National Association of Hispanic Firefighters. Two handbooks commissioned by the U.S. Fire Administration and authored by WFS are used as authoritative references on gender issues in the fire service.

An interactive non-profit network, WFS provides education, support and advocacy for fire service women. The network is linked and strengthened by its respected publications, which carry informative articles on current issues from promotion and career development to recruitment programs and reproductive safety policies.

At our international conference held every two years, hundreds of fire service women and men gather to share experiences, challenges and insights in a relaxed and supportive educational setting. On the alternate years, our Leadership Training Seminar provides officer development for women seeking promotion to line and administrative positions. For additional information, please log on to