Mentorship, Education, Advocacy

Looking for help? How to train for the CPAT, Physical Agility, FCTC? Need a mock interview? Wondering what to wear to that interview?

You can expect to be assigned a crew with a team captain (Female in the Fire Service) to help guide conversations, zoom meetings, group text chats, and meet ups. Ask questions, support one another, carpool to tests and training.

Check out our Testimonials...

Must be 16 years old to request a mentor. 

For those under the age of 16 please visit our Youth Resources Page for programs that can help you gain experience and knowledge in the fire service.

Youth Resources Page Link

WFA Mentorship Teams

Mentors 

Melissa Hillis
(Engineer)

“My team has amazing chemistry... we have a group chat full of encouragement, pictures, inspirational quotes, jokes, and yes a few tears. We remember to  celebrate each other’s accomplishments and pick each other up when one of us needs it.”

Engineer Hillis is a founding member of the WFA

Erin Regan
(FF/PM)

“Mentorship is the best way for me to give back to the profession that has given me so much.  It is so rewarding to lift up women that are interested in this career and help them to build experience, knowledge, confidence, and the physical readiness to succeed in the fire service.”

FF/PM is a founding member of the WFA

Cinnamon Basco
(Firefighter)

I've been in the fire service for over 20 years, I amassed contacts and experience that I wish I had from the beginning of my career. My goal is to bring confident, capable, allied female firefighters into the fire service and support them throughout their career, then help them mentor other young ladies.

The fire service and its culture is such a well kept secret and the path for women is even more hidden. My goal is to help my mentees discover how and where they fit in the fire service being their most authentic selves. We are stronger together!

Cinnamon Basco is on the Board of Directors for the Women's Fire Alliance

Cathy Lomeli
(Firefighter)



I started my career in the fire service 12 years ago not knowing a single female firefighter until I moved to San Francisco. Being a Latina female in fire classes at the age of 19 was intimidating but I was determined to break stereotypes. I was hired soon after and spent several years in forestry and 8 years after taking the first steps towards becoming a firefighter, I was the first, and 4 years later I remain the only female firefighter with the Placentia Fire Department.

Mentorship is important to me, as I did not have access to women, let alone Latina women in the fire service. Over the last few years, I have been attending female firefighter workshops and recently became involved, as an instructor at Girls’ Empowerment Camps. Volunteering for GECs was a natural extension as I not only mentor young women in cross country running but I’ve been mentoring young women for a few years, on my own, and seeing some get hired with departments is what makes mentoring so special to me.

I love educating and teaching women that anything is possible and ANYONE can do anything they set their mind to.

Naomi Forgay
(Firefighter)

After a few years of patience, dedication and hard work, I was hired with the West Covina Fire Department and am honored to be one of the first female firefighters within the department. When I got hired, I was placed with a WFA mentor, Melissa Hillis. Engineer Hillis mentored me through my year of probation, gave me valuable advice, a lot of knowledge and cheered me on along the way. 

Seeing the impact the WFA made on me, provided me with an amazing mentor through the alliance, Engineer Melissa Hillis, has inspired me to be that helping hand for other Women who want to pursue a career in firefighting. I am now a proud mentor for the WFA and hope to inspire others to be ambitious in their goals of becoming a firefighter.

Gretchen Maurer
(Firefighter)

I was introduced to the WFA through Melissa Hillis. I had just signed up for an EMT class because I wanted to be a firefighter. We exchanged info, and that night she added me to a text thread of women who were going through their probationary period. They were all incredibly gracious to me, as I really knew nothing about the fire service, not even the difference between an engine and a truck.

The WFA continued to be a huge influence as I got hired, and went through my probationary period with Culver City. When I needed encouragement, practical advice or physical help with skills, these women stepped up and met me where I needed help.

I can say with certainty that I would not be where I am today without the WFA.

I continue to be mentored by many women in the WFA and have become a mentor as well. Many women don't have friends or family members in the fire service to turn to for help in knowing what steps to take to get hired. The fire service is a unique career and without people to guide you, it can be a mystifying journey. My desire as a mentor is to give back and assist other women to the best of my ability in pursuing and advancing in their career.

Jamie Ellazar
(Captain)



Mentorship holds a deeply personal significance for me, especially in the fire service—a field where, when I first started, there was a noticeable absence of women, particularly Asian women. This lack of representation meant that envisioning my own success was not just a challenge; it seemed nearly impossible. Chief Lee (Founding member of the WFA) introduced me to WFA. It was here that I found not just colleagues but a family of hardworking, supportive, and incredibly positive women who not only shared my challenges but also my aspirations.

These women had already blazed trails and shattered glass ceilings. They didn't just open doors; they held them open, ensuring that the path they started would widen for others to join. Being a part of WFA transformed my self-perception and fueled my determination to thrive in this demanding but rewarding profession.

As a mentor, my goal is to honor the legacy of these pioneering women by being an advocate and support for the next generation. I aim to empower other women by sharing knowledge, providing encouragement, and ensuring they have the resources to succeed. Each story of a woman rising through the ranks, overcoming obstacles, and leading bravely adds to the rich history we're still writing. ”

Kendall Mader
(Firefighter)



Coming Soon

Testimonials 

Deena Lee 
(Fire Chief, Ret.)

“The opportunity to meet and be mentored by women in the battalion chief rank inspired me to take the promotional test. I scored #1 and became the first female battalion chief in the South Bay.”

Chief Lee is a founding member of the WFA

Christina Coulson
(FF/PM)

"I can say that without the support from the WFA, I may not be where I am today… Having a group of your peers to lean on for answers and support has been a vital aspect of my success in becoming a fulltime firefighter. This crucial support is what I got from the WFA. I looked to my female peers and mentors during the hiring process, throughout my academy, and even now off probation, for guidance and leadership. This support came as phone calls, in-person meetings or a quick text, both day and night."

Lily Strack
(Probationary FF)

Through the WFA I was able to participate in a couple of Empowerment Camps which gave me more exposure to the fire service and allowed me to network and meet so many amazing and inspiring individuals. They encouraged me to start applying to different departments and answered any questions or worries that I had.

A few months later I decided to go through the hiring process with my local fire department and ended up getting hired. I would not be where I am today without the support of the WFA and the amazing people who have helped me along the way.

I’ll be starting my fire academy soon and knowing that I have a strong support system that I can lean on and turn to anytime I need is really encouraging and I’m so grateful for everything the WFA has provided.

Kristen Goetz
(Testing Process)

I am honored to be a mentee in the Women's Fire Alliance. My journey in helping others began in sports medicine, where I developed a passion for aiding in injury recovery and optimizing physical well-being. Currently, I serve as an orthopedic technician and surgical first assistant, where I have honed my skills in patient care and surgical procedures. My career path has led me to pursue a new challenge: joining the ranks as a firefighter. I am actively engaged in the application process, eager to bring my expertise and commitment to emergency response and community service.

The WFA has been instrumental in my journey by providing networking opportunities and guidance when I initially lacked direction on how to pursue a career in the fire service. Through mentorship and shared experiences with fellow members, I have gained confidence as a candidate and future firefighter. The support and knowledge shared within this alliance have been transformative, shaping me into a stronger, more determined individual ready to serve my community.

I am eager to pay forward the support I've received. My aspiration is to become a mentor within the Women's Fire Alliance once I achieve my goal of becoming a firefighter. I am committed to empowering and guiding future generations of female firefighters, ensuring they have the resources and encouragement needed to thrive in this profession.