February 28, 2018

S4|E7: Gerry Day – Don’t be afraid to step into new territory

By Tom Davidson

Gerry Day is the State Forester and Deputy Supervisor for Wildfire for the State of Washington’s Department of Natural Resources, a position he’s held since 2017. In these roles, he is responsible for the wildland fire and forest health programs in the department which includes fire training, aviation operations, emergency preparedness and suppressing wildland fires. Gerry has over 40 years of experience and discusses some of the fantastic leadership opportunities you can have while in firefighting. For example, Gerry says that one of the best aspects of being a wildland firefighter is that it affords some great opportunities to witness and demonstrate leadership.

Key Takeaways:

[:55] A message from Leadership Nature.

[1:40] A quick intro about Gerry’s background.

[3:00] How did Gerry become interested in forestry?

[5:10] What kind of leadership lessons did Gerry learn about while being a firefighter?

[7:10] What’s the best way for a young professional to become part of the fire fighting community?

[10:05] How did Gerry transition from being a firefighter to where he is today?

[16:35] What was Gerry’s first leadership position like?

[19:40] What does Gerry mean when he said, “followership is part of leadership”?

[21:45] Has Gerry noticed a difference in leadership the more senior he has become in his positions and roles?

[26:15] Take a close look at your own biases.

[29:05] Everything is a learning opportunity.

[34:20] When Gerry stepped into a new leadership role in 1996, it took him around 8-10 months before he could fully understand the business. You have to understand the business first before you start shaking things up.

[36:35] What is Gerry most proud of in his current position?

[39:45] Really take a moment and listen to the younger generation…. They have a completely unique perspective.

[43:05] What advice does Gerry have for young professionals?

Mentioned in This Episode:
The Movie: Invictus (2009)

Gerry Day at Zion National Park

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