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Stephanie Atkinson

Firefighter - City of Mississauga, Volunteer Firefighter - Township of Otonabee South Monaghan

Stephanie's Story :

1.  Who are you ?

Stephanie Atkinson, I am a 27 year old from Peterborough.   I’ve recently been hired with the City of  Mississauga as a full time Fire fighter. I started my firefighting career with Otonabee South-Monaghan 3 years ago where I was provided with the required training and experience to be where I am today.

2.  Why did you become a firefighter ? 

I became a firefighter because I enjoy giving back to the community.  I enjoy that every day you show up to work, it is something different.  We are constantly given the opportunity to make a difference and positively influence individuals lives on some of their worst days.  My father used to be a volunteer firefighter, seeing his passion for the job helped inspire me to follow his path.

3.  What is your best/happiest/proudest moment as a firefighter ?

Simply, reaching the point that I have and feeling a sense of pride every time I put my uniform on.  I feel honoured and grateful to have an opportunity to help, inspire and continually learn with this career.

4.  What are you proudest of in your life ?

My career and accomplishments thus far.

5.  What is it like being a woman in a non-traditional career ?

You’re initially faced with many challenges, going against the odds of success, in what is stereotyped as a male’s profession.   Being passionate, driven for success, working hard and never giving up is the most important thing to remember when proving yourself as an equal.   I have been fortunate to have amazing coworkers and strong inspirational women around me; all who provide endless support and push me to be a better firefighter.

6.  What inspires  YOU ?

I am consistently inspired by friends, family and coworkers.  I surround myself with like-minded people on a regular basis.   I get involved with the community whenever possible, when I see the impact we can all have on one another overall it inspires me to continue to be a better person.  There are so many strong and powerful woman in the fire service to help create a path for other strong woman to continuously step up for the position.  I’m so honoured to look up to the inspirational men and woman in this career both before and after me.  We are a brotherhood and sisterhood without a doubt, and I’m constantly inspired working amongst such great people.

7.  What would you say to young women of today about life, jobs, dreams?

In the big picture of being a female firefighter, don’t let stereotypes or others influence you in a negative way.  Steer yourself in the direction of what you’re passionate about, and set goals. F ailure is a part of any significant goal, don’t be afraid of failing and don’t let the fear of failure prevent you from trying.
Stand tall, take opportunities, give back and continue to learn and develop your skills.  If you work hard for what you want, you will reach your goals.