Nominated for the award: Community Activism
Company: Vaughan Fire & Rescue Service
Position: Fire Chief
Biography: Deryn Rizzi serves as the Fire Chief with Vaughan Fire and Rescue Service (VFRS). Beyond her work at the City of Vaughan and in local fire halls, Chief Rizzi continues to be a trusted, respected and sought after thought leader, committed to mentoring and advocating for diversity and inclusion in the fire service, as the Chair of the International Association of Fire Chiefs Human Relations Committee and the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She was named one of GTA’s most influential women in 2018 by Post Magazine. She speaks publicly nationally and internationally on topics ranging from active threats to LGBTQ+. Chief Rizzi strives to proactively raise awareness of diversity and inclusiveness in the fire service and promotes respecting one another’s various values and characteristics such as race, nationality, religion, physical ability, gender, age, and sexual orientation. She is proud of the progress the fire service has made and is also motivated by a strong sense of what is still to come. She believes diversity and inclusion strengthens us and she is committed to taking action to make sustainable progress; helping to serve and meet the needs of our increasingly diverse communities’ which firefighters proudly serve. Chief Rizzi serves on the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs board of Directors and is a member of the Hospice Vaughan Board of Directors. Chief Rizzi assisted the Fire Service Women of Ontario (FSWO) with grant writing to successfully secure significant grant funding from Status of Women Canada, to conduct research over a three-year period to address systemic barriers and gender inequalities currently experienced by female firefighters in Ontario due to workplace structures and culture, recruitment strategies, and organizational policies. Chief Rizzi was recognized with the Portraits of Giving ward for her effort with the Vaughan Food Bank and giving back to the community through her volunteer work. She also volunteers her time as an Aide de Camp to the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.