First female battalion chief in North Carolina city leads diversity conference in Charlotte

  • Source: WSOC-TV ABC 9 Charlotte
  • Published: 11/08/2021 12:00 AM

Charlotte-Mecklenburg is hosting its second annual diversity, equity and inclusion conference, and the opening speaker is no stranger to breaking barriers. Synthia Kearney never remembers seeing a female firefighter when she was growing up, but today she is the first female battalion chief for the Gastonia Fire Department. Kearney has had a remarkable journey to where she is today. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she was a special agent with the United States Secret Service for four years before transferring to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. “After my second daughter was born I became a stay at home mom for three years,” she said. “When I financially had to go back to work I decided to do what I had always wanted to do and at 35 years old, I applied and passed the physical agility test and got hired as a Gastonia Firefighter.”


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