Carol-Lynn Chambers has reached great heights not only for her own career, but also on behalf of women in Ontario. Serving as one of the highest-ranking female officers in the Ontario fire service is no small feat when only about three per cent of the fire service is female.
“I wish to help young girls see fire service as a possible career path,” says Chambers. “And, of course, I’d encourage them to get a degree first…hopefully from Western! My education has meant everything in my career. I am a strong proponent of higher education for fire service leaders, and Western's Local Government Program is unique and ideal for that.”
A science graduate, Chambers says that pursuing her Masters of Public Administration mid-career was life changing. “It was of tremendous benefit,” she says. “I am where I am today because I pursued graduate studies at Western.”
Chambers has risen in the ranks of Ontario’s fire service. Her career includes serving as Deputy Fire Chief for the City of London and interim Chief/Associate Dean of Fire Science and Public Safety at Lambton College, following nine years with 3M Canada Inc. She currently serves in a senior management role in the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management and her portfolio has included planning for and responding to major chemical, biological, radiological and explosive risks and emergencies. Chambers now has a strategic role in public fire safety education for the province, planning strategic campaigns and initiatives to reduce fire deaths and losses.
Chambers also serves as the inaugural President of Fire Service Women Ontario, where she works with a Board of Directors to mentor and advocate to advance career opportunities for women in the fire service.
Giving back to Western has been a priority for Chambers. “It feels like I’m coming home every time I visit Western,” she says. She has devoted more than a decade as a volunteer for Western, serving as a director and president of the Alumni Association and the Communications Committee. She led the development of the Association’s current strategic plan and has also served as a director of Foundation Western. She also took a leadership role as the President of the Local Government Program Alumni Society following her studies in that program.
Outside of her involvement with Western, Chambers serves as vice-chair of the Board and a director for more than a decade of The Hearing Foundation of Canada.
Chambers received the 2014 Dr. Ivan Smith Award in the Alumni Awards of Merit. She was touched to receive an award that honours cancer researcher Dr. Ivan Smith. Her late mother worked in the former Collip cancer research lab on campus and “would be ecstatic to hear about the award,” she says. “I’m personally proud that the award recognizes the importance of serving our Alumni Association and our world-class University here at Western.”
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