Darley’s 2023 Thought Leadership Essay Competition – Focus on Recruitment & Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) Within the Fire Service

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We are inspired by the overwhelming enthusiasm and creativity showcased in our second Thought Leadership Essay Competition. With a commendable 85 entries centered on recruitment and diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) within the fire service, it’s evident that our fire service heroes are eager to spotlight this important discussion.

The competition offered an avenue for those from all ranks and functions in the fire service to put forth their transformative ideas. This was a peer-reviewed process set to celebrate courage and innovative thinking. Ensuring a holistic evaluation of this vast pool of knowledge, our judging panel represented diverse backgrounds, genders, and ethnicities. 2023 judges included: Chief Trisha Wolford, Anne Arundel County FD (MD), Anthony James, Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal Pasadena Fire Department (CA), Chief David Wolf, Estes Valley FPD (CO), Chief Cheryl Horvath, Tubac FD (AZ), Chief John Buckman (ret), past President IAFC, Past Chair VCOS (IN), Bertral Washington, Deputy Chief of Administration San Bernardino County Fire (CA), LaRae Smiley Sliger, Women in Fire, Rachael Stebell, Women in Fire, Kerry Henderson, Battalion Chief at James City County (VA) and 2022 essay winner, and Martin A. Serna, Assistant Chief Division 2 San
Bernardino County Fire (CA).

The winners of the 2023 Thought Leadership Essay Competition are — 1st place: (Pictured, at right) – Dr. Lindsay Judah, DPA, CFO, CTO (FL), 2nd place: Peter Finkle, New Vernon Volunteer FD (NJ), 3rd place: Weston Davis, City of El Campo (TX).

Winners stand to receive a monetary prize, spotlight on platforms such as the Inside Darley video series, In Service Darley podcast, Darley Times, and other Darley partner network channels. The contest serves as a gateway to further opportunities, career advancements, and a chance for your ideas to drive meaningful change and redefine the fire service landscape. Congratulations to our winners and thank you to all participants! You can read winning essays and stay informed on next year’s competition here: www.darley.com/essay-competition.

Darley Essay Contest – 2023 Top 3 Winning Submissions (PDF)

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