Nicole Brown is MIA’s first female firefighter. As a child, she had always been curious, adventurous and keen to try different things, even when they seemed far-fetched or unconventional. As a student, she studied languages and read for a degree in Nursing at University. Her lifelong dream was to pursue a career in which she could take on an active role in helping others; a career that was both exciting and rewarding.
How would you describe working at MIA?
I’m the only female member of the Fire and Rescue Services Department within MIA. I might be outnumbered but this has never affected my duties as well as my colleagues’ views. As a department, all personnel receive the same type of physical and theoretical training and assessment, regardless of gender. I think this is of utmost importance since preparedness both individually and as a team is necessary in such a profession. Since my first weeks at MIA, my colleagues have always been incredibly helpful and supportive, and have always encouraged me to believe in myself. They have taught me different skills and helped me improve.
What has been your proudest achievement so far?
Forming part of MIA’s Fire and Rescue Services as the first female firefighter was my proudest achievement so far. I have a sense of pride in knowing that I may have shown other women with similar passions and aspirations that every goal can be achieved, no matter how unconventional it may seem. I am also proud of myself for not giving up on my dream, and for not listening to those who tried to convince me that it was impossible.
What was the best piece of advice you have been given?
The best piece of advice I have received was from one of my colleagues during my first few weeks at MIA. Whenever I would feel disheartened or inferior to my colleagues in certain skills, he would tell me that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and that is what makes a team. We learn from each other, look out for each other and work hand-in-hand using various skills from each crew member. This piece of advice has encouraged me to be proud of what I have to offer the team, as well as learn from the strengths of others.
Is there a particular woman who inspired you? How would you define an inspiring woman?
I would have to mention two women. On a personal level, my cousin and best friend was the most supportive woman who inspired and encouraged me to push myself and never give up. There were moments where the voice in my head would tell me to find another goal, but she always managed to overcome that voice. I owe this achievement to her.
The second woman that comes to mind is Kathrine Switzer. She was the first woman to ever run a marathon, in a time where women were not allowed to do so due to their weak physique and fragility. By taking that step, she has showed that women are just as powerful and just as capable and has been a source of inspiration to myself and women worldwide.
We’re celebrating Women’s Day. Why do you think it’s important to celebrate this day?
Celebrating Women’s Day is a way of appreciating what women before us faced in terms of challenges, inequality and societal rights. It helps us appreciate their achievements when society at the time was not as it is today. We celebrate their battles, both lost and won. Women are the reason we have a more equal and just society, where all individuals are free to live the way they wish; to pursue sports and hobbies, reach their career goals and have an active say in governmental affairs and elections. This is a just society, regardless of gender.