Wednesday, January 23, 2013

WOW is Here!

What is Women of Wildfire?

WOW is a collaborative movement led by women within the wildland fire service to create a network showcasing female leadership, sharing resources and success stories, providing a system of support and mentoring, and furthering the mission of the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program (WFLDP).

The Inspirations Behind WOW

Pam McDonald, Logistics Coordinator for the NWCG Leadership Subcommittee and visionary for the 2013 Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge - Leading with Courage, wanted to create an example of what individuals and units could do to support the campaign as well as submit as an idea for the "IGNITE the Spark for Leadership - From the Field for the Field" contest.* Riding the social media buzz around the Public Broadcast System's spotlight initiative on women Makers, Pam initiated a test pilot feature via the WFLDP's Facebook page which received little attention.

In the spirit of the campaign theme, Pam got up the courage to ask the coordinator of Women of Wildfire (WOW) at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) if she could adopt the name for a leadership initiative and build upon the success of local efforts of creating a network of women who have walked together every September since 2006 in the  St. Luke's Women's Fitness Celebration. Kris King, NIFC WOW Coordinator, agreed and the plans were set in motion to launch the initiative once Jenn Smith, NIFC External Affairs and NWCG Leadership Subcommittee Communication, developed an identity for the initiative through a logo. With that, WOW was born.

Foundational Principles of the WOW Initiative

As well as the WFLDP Values and Principles, WOW follows "The Five Practices and Ten Commitments of Leadership" developed in The Leadership Challenge by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner.

(Photo: The Leadership Challenge)
The Five Practices:
  • Model the Way
  • Inspire a Shared Vision
  • Challenge the Process
  • Enable Others to Act
  • Encourage the Heart
The Ten Commitments:
  1. Find your voice by clarifying your personal values.
  2. Set the example by aligning actions with shared values.
  3. Envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities.
  4. Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.
  5. Search for opportunities by seeking innovative ways to change, grow, and improve.
  6. Experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from mistakes.
  7. Foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust.
  8. Strengthen others by sharing power and discretion.
  9. Recognize contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence.
  10. Celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community. 
What Now?

Every movement starts with an individual who has an idea and grows from there. WOW will become what the women of the wildland fire service want it to be. The sky is the limit to what those empowered can do and create. In the weeks and months ahead, women (and men) from around the globe will come together to create a grassroots effort to build a network supporting the WFLDP as well as promote female leadership development and collaboration. Here are some ideas to start an individual or local movement:
  • Share the news about WOW with those within your sphere of influence.
  • Help promote the 2013 Wildland Fire Leadership Campaign by sharing the Reference Guide by sharing to your fire leaders.
  • Create a local unit Women of Wildfire support network and inspire a shared vision and enable others to act.
  • Read Kouzes' and Posner's The Leadership Challenge.
  • Use the "Women of Wildfire" forum at the top of the WFLDP Facebook page to share your stories and begin to network.
  • Contact Pam McDonald, NWCG Leadership Subcommittee Logistics Coordinator, at or 208-387-5318 for more information.
  • Dream!

A Look at the 2013 Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge - Leading with Courage

Campaign Task:
Provide an opportunity for wildland fire service personnel to focus leadership development activities on a nationally-sponsored, centrally-themed leadership campaign and recognize local leadership participation efforts.
Campaign Purpose:

To foster a cohesive effort to promote leadership across the wildland fire service.
To provide a template that can be used to encourage leadership development at the local level.
To provide a mechanism to collect leadership best practices and share throughout the wildland fire service.
Campaign End State:

Creation of a wildland fire service culture that willingly shares leadership best practices in order to maintain superior service-wide leadership.
* WOW is exempt from contest consideration.


Anne Black said...

I love the ideaand applaud the effort!

Pam McDonald said...

Thanks, Anne. Feel free to give me a call and discuss how you can help:)