Name: Carolyn Head
Title: Ranger/Wildland Firefighter
Company: Georgia Forestry Commission
1. What made you decide your career path?
I really wanted to do something with purpose, something that would make a difference. And honestly after I saw the movie “Only the Brave” I knew right then that’s what I wanted to do, so I went for it.
2. What has been the most surprising thing you have learned or experienced within your industry or career?
How supportive, encouraging, and accepting this entire industry has been since I started. It’s like one big family everywhere you go. I’ve never felt more part of something in my life.
3. What do you feel is important for women landowners to know about?
I feel it’s important to know about the land they own, such as the property type, timber type, what they plan to do with it, etc. It’s also important to know about the benefits of annual prescribed burning for better land management and increased vitality.
4. What is the biggest challenge you think women natural resource professionals face?
The thinly veiled misogyny. I’ve experiences it a few times, enough that it stuck with me. It comes in many forms. When you encounter these individuals, you must be strong and blunt and loud and stand up for yourself. You cannot show weakness, or they’ll walk all over you.
5. What would you say to encourage other women to pursue a career in natural resources?
Go for it! This is the most fun I’ve ever had at a job. I genuinely enjoy going to work every day.
6. What is your biggest attribute that has allowed you to be successful in your field?
My leadership and my ability to take charge. I was squad leader all through the academy because I was loud and blunt and had no problem telling a bunch of guys what to do. It also showed them I wasn’t to be messed with.
7. What is your favorite quote?
The greatest gift you can give someone is believing in them.
8. What is your favorite memory, from your career, to date?
The Wildland Firefighting Academy. Every single moment of it. I made so many new friends, I was part of an amazing squad, and I had the best instructors. They made it easy to learn and ask questions, and they genuinely enjoyed teaching and wanted to see us succeed. They made sure we each met our individual goals and for that I will be forever grateful. They made all the difference for me.