We continue celebrating International Women’s Day with our next amazing woman, Jaimie Kinard of the Honolulu Fire Department. She is the Fire Captain at Kaka’ako Fire Station with 11 years of service! She is 1 of 23 females in the HFD among about 1200 who are male firefighters.
Read her interview with [KI•ELE] :
1. What did you study + what did you do before you were a fire fighter and was this straight after college?
I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Psychology with a Minor in Economics from the University of California at San Diego. After college, I worked as an Actuarial Analyst for a reinsurance company and then as an Underwriter at AIG Hawaii.
2. What inspired you to change career paths?
I changed careers bc I wanted to help people and give back to my community. I also didn’t want to spend everyday cooped up in an office under a fluorescent light.
3. If there were challenges, how did you overcome them? Did you find personal ways to deal with the issue(s) or were there certain people you turned to?
No one goes at it alone. Life is a team sport. I am where I am because of my strong Korean single mom, who unexpectedly died one year ago, and all those who have mentored me, coached me, supported me, believed in me and shored me up when things got hard. Connection and togetherness are the reasons for my success and my ability to rise up.
4. Background on life growing up – challenges you may have faced as a female, thinking you were supposed to “act” a certain way or only go into certain career fields as a “typical female in society.”
I think all women face the challenge of sexism, patriarchy and oppression in a variety of ways, both overt and covert, and it isn’t unique to male dominated fields. Implicit bias, gender stereotypes, bullying, harassment, assault, lack of equal pay, lack of accommodation of pre-/post-natal employees are issues most women face and speaking out against these issues runs the risk of judgment, isolation, retaliation and victim blaming. These are issues that need to be spoken about and brought to light so that we can start to do better and be better as a society.
5. If you could write a letter to your younger self what would you want to say?
You are enough — KNOW YOUR WORTH.
Speak up for yourself and others.
Fear is a liar. “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything” – James 1:2-4
6. Is there anything you want to say to young girls and women who may still be trying to navigate their way in today’s society / may be afraid to pursue a dream or goal because they don’t see much gender representation within that field of work?
Don’t listen to the naysayers and dream killers, and boy, will there be a lot of them along the way! Don’t pursue false dreams because of money, status or ego. Follow the dreams and goals planted in your heart, work hard, I mean really hard; be kind, lift others up along the way, and shoot for the stars. And find joy in all things — the good, the bad and in the wait.