We continue our celebration of the women who work aviation at Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) during Women of Aviation Worldwide Week.

Fighting fires – both on the ground and from the air – can bring many dangers. That’s why one of FFMVic’s top priorities is the safety of our crews, just as it is for all our partner agencies.

Making sure our aerial firefighter crews work in the safest possible conditions is part of Anne Chamberlain’s role as the Safety, Risk and Assurance Manager in Aviation Services.

Anne manages the multi-agency Aviation Safety Forums, the aviation auditing program and aviation policy, including the Interagency Aviation Operating Policy and Procedures.

Anne’s interest in aviation started at a young age.

‘I travelled a lot as a child and enjoyed the experience of airports, aircraft and aviation operations,’ Anne said.

‘There is a saying in the industry, “aviation gets into your blood” – for me that has definitely been the case.’

Anne has worked in the aviation field for 19 years, with the past 3 in the Aviation Services Unit at FFMVic.

‘Prior to starting at FFMVic, I worked in the commercial aviation sector in a number of roles, predominately in safety and emergency procedures’ Anne said.

Anne feels she has been very fortunate during her time at FFMVic as she works in a team with many women in a variety of roles, including senior leadership roles.

‘I am truly inspired by these amazing and supportive women daily,’ Anne said.

‘I have also seen first had the incredible work and passion within various FFMVic working groups dedicated to diversity and inclusion, a continually improving and evolving space.’

Unfortunately, Anne has had to face gender-based bias at times to achieve her goals while working in the aviation field.

‘There has always been a level of bias in this industry being a woman,’ she said.

‘In the commercial sector this is often seen within the cockpit which has historically been predominantly dominated by men.

‘I was really fortunate to work for an airline that was putting a stop to gender disparity in the cockpit and sometimes even flying with a full female crew compliment – a rare achievement in the commercial sector.’

Throughout her career, Anne has learned from many inspiring female managers, leaders, and colleagues, including Deborah Lawrie, the first female commercial airline pilot in Australia

‘Deborah is a true pillar in Australian history, fighting for women’s rights in aviation.

‘Deborah continues to be such an inspiration for me and so many generations of female aviators.’

Anne said the best piece of advice she’d ever received was that “no job is too small”.

‘In my career journey, I have worked my way from junior roles all the way to senior management roles,’ she said.

‘Even doing those “small jobs” will give you valuable experience and skills across a variety of areas that will set you apart from the rest.’

For other women wanting to work in the aviation field, Anne said it is important to follow your passion.

‘If your passion is aviation, there are so many amazing people you can connect with to help guide you on that journey,’ she said.

‘Once you start in this industry, you never leave.’

You can read the stories of other women in fire who have looked to the skies on the Our People, Their Stories website.