Captain Michele Fitzsimmons is an 18-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY). She currently is the Department’s highest-ranking, senior woman in fire operations as the Company Commander of Ladder 12 in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. From 2002 through 2004, she was the president of FireFLAG, the FDNY’s Gay and Lesbian organization. In 2007, she co-founded Phoenix Firecamp, a weeklong sleep away camp that introduces teenage girls to the fire service. She continued as a camp instructor for seven years at the annual program. Then, from 2013-2015, she was an instructor at FDNY’s Probationary Firefighter School. She is a graduate of the FDNY Officers Management Institute—a program offered by Columbia Business School Executive Education. She has been a Guest Lecturer at Fire Service Women of Ontario, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School and Graduate School of Education. She has presented on holding a position of leadership in a male dominated field as well as decision making while working with Mission Critical Teams. Prior to joining the FDNY, Michele worked at GMHC from 1993-2001. GMHC is the world’s first and leading provider of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy. Her last three years there were spent as a coordinator of the Lesbian AIDS Project.
Photo Credit: Paul Mobley/paulmobleystudio.com