Carmel McKinney

I started my career as a teacher moving through the professional pathways to become a school principal in an area of high deprivation with multiple barriers to learning including underachievement in literacy and numeracy.

Under my leadership the school moved from the lowest percentile ranking in literacy and numeracy to the highest percentile ranking for schools serving similar intake.

I became an Associate Inspector of schools and then changed lanes moving in to higher and further education as a teacher head of department and specialist tutor in dyslexia for which I and my team won the Pearson Teaching Award in 2013.

I became a non executive chairperson of an education and library board with an annual budget of over 200 million and a staff of 5000 and followed this up by another non executive position of a further education college.

In 2015 I realised that the skills and abilities as well as my achievements throughout my career were indeed transferable into an arena which is predominately male – namely a fire and rescue service.

The Minister, through a public appointment process appointed me as the first female chairperson of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service which I feel is an example of breaking a glass ceiling. I am the sole female in the Boardroom and within the top two substantive tiers of the organisation.

Under my leadership I have brought about a number of hugely successful initiatives to promote and empower females to step forward for leadership positions both internal and external to the organisation.

In an organisation of over 2000 employees and around 12% female this has been a priority for myself and my colleagues who support me to drive through the the work in diversity and gender, The impact is evidenced adnd recognised through a number of highly prestigious awards including myself winning the Institute of Directors Non Executive Director of the Year 2018 and NIFRS winning the Guardian Public Services Diversity and Inclusion Award in 2018