Donna Wheatley — Former President & Board Member
Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Melbourne
Donna Wheatley is a Commander with the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) in Melbourne. With a professional background in Gestalt Psychotherapy, she was working in family counselling and advocacy roles before she joined the operational ranks of the MFB in 2003. She continued work in private practice and research for a number of years as her firefighting career developed. Moving into leadership as an Officer in 2008 the possibilities grew and engaged her aspirations for progress within the ranks and developing influence within the culture of MFB.
Over the 15 years of “catching trucks” there have been many opportunities to explore beyond the day to day of emergency response – as exciting and challenging as some of these responses have been. Donna has worked across many directorates at MFB including Operations, Community Resilience, Strategy and Innovation, Emergency Management, the Office of the CEO and Training. These years saw her promote through the ranks; breaking “glass ceilings” along the way. An exuberant and optimistic commitment has delivered many rewards for great effort, including volunteer work in the employee assistance program and numerous community education programs. Volunteering outside of MFB in Cambodia, Peru and the Philippines as well as ongoing local volunteer roles, and taking educational opportunities with the Australian Institute of Police Management (AIMP) and Leadership Victoria (Williamson’s Community Leadership Program 2015) and extensive community engagement activities with MFB have all added depth to a colourful career.
The opportunity to mentor both within the brigade and in the community has been abundant and gratifying over the years of working with MFB. Having started out in the 90s employed in the corporate arena of MFB, the increased exposure to various facets of the organisation has created ongoing opportunity to work within diverse positions with myriad perspectives on organisational priority – allowing a breadth to the reflection that Donna brings to her mentoring and work roles. With a diverse tertiary education, including a Bachelor degree and numerous post graduate qualifications, the thirst for learning has never been quenched. Donna is growingly driven by the understanding that our greatest lessons come from life and sometimes through the most unexpected teachers; with a deep commitment to exploration of the “growing edge”, lifelong learning is a tenant in the commitment of living a whole hearted life.