Alex Johnson – Corporate
Alex has more than 25 years of fire service experience having joined Derbyshire Fire & Rescue as a firefighter in 1992.
In Derbyshire, she served at both rural and city centre stations across the county. She rose to the rank of Area Manager, leading the service’s prevention, protection and inclusion work during the last three years. She’s also worked at the service’s training centre, both as breathing apparatus instructor and Group Manager, and is a fully qualified fire protection officer.
Alex was appointed as Assistant Chief Fire Officer in South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service in December 2017.
Divine Zake – Communications
I joined the London Fire Brigade in March 1996 as a temp, becoming permanent in May 1997. I’ve had various jobs in the London Fire Brigade, in 2015 I joined the Resource Management Team in the role of RMC Team Supervisor. On 19th September 2017 I received my 20 years Long Service Certificate.
I always maintain that I put my hand up by accident when they were voting in Executive Members and that’s how I got the role in the WFS – now it’s a role that I couldn’t possibly see myself giving up! I realised how important it was to have WFS when I was supported through a very difficult part of my life. Being a part of WFS has given me the chance to flourish and support other members, it has also inspired me to get rid of the so called divide between different occupational groups. WFS has helped me celebrate lots of wonderful parts of my life such as promotions, the birth of my grandsons etc.
My role as Communications/Merchandise Officer has boosted my confidence and has given me the chance to enhance my people and social media skills. I’m the RMC/Control Rep and I have also had active roles in other Support Groups not only in the London Fire Brigade but also in partnership with other partners in the GLA – which has included being part of the team which run the LGBT Leadership Programme in conjunction with Transport for London and the London Ambulance Service.
Some of my hobbies include juicing, dancing, walking with friends, hula hooping, trying to beat my training personal bests on the Nintendo Wii and reading.
Sara Hall – Positive Action
I joined West Midlands Fire Service January 2006. I have recently moved into the role of operational Crew Commander at West Bromwich. I have been involved in Women In The Fire Service since 2007 and love being part of a great group of women. I am currently the Positive Action Lead within WFS. I live in Worcester with my 7 year old son and enjoy open water swimming, mountain biking and baking cakes.
I joined Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue Service in December 2003 taking on a newly created role to provide technical support for their performance management software. This role has since evolved with the changing needs of the service, and I now represent the service via CFOA, the County Council and several internal groups.
I was encouraged by colleague to attend the 2006 WFS conference which I thoroughly enjoyed and immediately joined WFS both as a member and local representative. I have been well supported by my service to attend WFS events and meetings and I’ve gained so much from being part of WFS, both with meeting new people and learning opportunities. It was through an opportunity in WFS that I qualified as a coach achieving the CMI award in Management Coaching and Mentoring and since joined the Oxfordshire County Council coaching team.
I am a keen walker and runner and in 2015 I started playing hockey for a local team that I now captain. I’m also a qualified leader of a local Brownie unit which is very rewarding. I enjoy making cakes (which go down well at WFS meetings!).
My outlook is to aim to stay positive and make the most of challenges and opportunities that come my way.
North East – Joanne Henry (Tyne & Wear FRS)
North West – Lynsey McVay (Cheshire FRS)
Lynsey is a Group Manager at Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service where she looks after service delivery. She has been involved with WFS for many years (more than she cares to admit) and is very passionate about the development of women. Lynsey has a 12 year old son called Matty and in her spare time enjoys crossfit, walking and spending time with her family
Wales – Hannah Lodder (Mid & West Wales FRS)
Hannah join Gloucestershire fire and rescue service in 1998, she has worked in Warwickshire as a Leading firefighter, Hereford and Worcester as a Leading fire fighter, Watch Commander and Fire fighter in Business fire safety, operational Intervention and on station. She moved to Mid-west wales on a secondment in 2015 as a fire fighter and then been secondment to the Strategic Risk Review Team as a Communication and Engagement Advocate.
She has been involved in Women in The Fire Service for many and feels it is great to have support and to be part of a great group of women. Her currently role is Wales Regional reps within WFS.
East – Julia Hawkins (Hertfordshire FRS)
London – Serena Benassi
I joined the London Fire Brigade in 2001 and loved being a Firefighter and driver. A couple of years later I became the LFB Operational Rep for Networking Women in the Fire Service, as the WFS was previously known, and one of the NWFS university trained mentors . I’m passionate about social responsibility and volunteered with both the Juvenile Fire-setters Intervention Scheme (JFIS) doing case work with children as young as three, and the Local Intervention Fire Education team (LIFE) as a trainer on week long placements with teenagers, and I’m proud to have been part of the positive development of those young people. After a few years as a Crew Manager I became a Watch Manager on our full time Command Units and the London Regional Rep for the WFS where I continue to be inspired and motivated by the WFS team and the brilliant people I have met along the way. After a few years working in the Incident Command Policy and Operations Review Team, I’m now detached into Strategy and Inclusion with the Strategic Risk team working on the London Safety Plan. Outside of work I volunteer for Breast Cancer Care and dabble in dressmaking, travel and literature.