Tough does not even begin to encompass the drive and determination of Regina Wilson.

In 1999, Wilson was only the 12th African-American woman to join the FDNY. During the September 11 attacks in 2001, she was on the scene as one of the first responders at the World Trade Center site. Wilson is the first woman elected president of the Vulcan Society, a fraternal firefighter association composed of African-American FDNY members, and she is committed to changing the perception that being a firefighter is a ‘man’s job’.

We talked to her about what it means to be ‘ambitious’…

I’m pledging to #EmbraceAmbition because…

I am wonderfully and beautifully made. I know I can do anything I choose to do.

What does ambition mean to you personally?

Fulfilling my goals at all costs.

I knew I wanted to be a New York City firefighter when…

I was recruited and told that there were not a lot of women or African Americans in the FDNY.

Describe a time when you were most tested… and what would you want other women to learn from your experience?

At our Training Academy. I was the only woman in a class of over 300 probationary firefighters. I was singled out often and told that I would not succeed by instructors.

I want other women to learn that although people wanted me to fail, I succeeded because I didn’t give up. Now there is nothing in the world someone can tell me I cannot do.

There is nothing in the world someone can tell me I cannot do.

Ways businesses and organizations can put inclusivity first…

Always consider that diversity and inclusion will only make your business and organization stronger and better. Different ideas and backgrounds bring new life to businesses.

The woman that inspires me…and why?

Brenda Berkman, Retired Captain, FDNY. She is the reason why I am a firefighter today and she has taught me to be fearless.

My message to the young girls who dream of being firefighters…

You are powerful, you are strong, you are capable and you can succeed. Being a firefighter as a woman makes you a trailblazer. Continue to make your mark in the world.