Business Women of Moose Jaw hosted its monthly meeting Wednesday at the Grant Hall Hotel, welcoming a couple of special guest speakers.
Addressing the crowd were Constable Jayme Hoffman of the Moose Jaw Police Service and Brittany Schofer of the Moose Jaw Fire Department. The event was being held to celebrate International Women's Day (March 8).
"Obviously police officers and firefighters are predominately male occupations and so it's just interesting to hear from a female perspective on what it's like to serve in those positions and they brought some great insight and some great stories and they're two young women beginning their careers," explained Crystal Froese, president of Business Women of Moose Jaw. "We know that the younger generation, when they see women in those roles, then they can think of themselves as that occupation being a possibility for them as well."
Hoffman grew up in Moose Jaw, attending A.E. Peacock Collegiate. She graduated in 2016 and then went on to study Human Justice at the University of Regina, graduating with her bachelor's degree in 2020. Hoffman was hired by the Moose Jaw Police Service in January of 2021 and was then sent off to police college for basic training.
"For as long as I can remember, it's just what I wanted to do," she said.
"I love that every day is different. No two calls that we go to are the same. They can be similar but they are never the same and it's just really exciting being able to help people and make a difference in the community on a daily basis and it is really fulfilling."
Hoffman says her family had mixed emotions about her becoming a police officer, noting they were excited but there were also some concerns about safety.
She talked about some of the challenges of being a female police officer.
"Some challenges would include people creating these assumptions that you can't do the job, you're not strong enough for the job, when really, you're just as capable as anyone else."
Hoffman added that one of the benefits of having an increased female presence on the force is that certain people are more receptive to female officers.
"It's always been a male-dominated profession. Having females on the force, I believe it better represents the community that we're serving and women can bring different perspectives into certain situations as well."
Hoffman noted that out of 62 members with the Moose Jaw Police Service, only 10 of those are female. She said that her male counterparts are extremely supportive of the female members.
Hoffman had some final words of advice for young girls who are looking at policing as a future occupation.
"Follow your dreams. Women are just as capable as anyone else to do this job."
The second guest speaker during Wednesday's luncheon was Brittany Schofer, who has been a firefighter for eight years. She's been with the Moose Jaw Fire Department for about four and half years.
Brittany, who is also a licensed Primary Care Paramedic, is originally from Melville. She grew up watching her dad volunteer at the department there. She then followed in his footsteps and volunteered in Melville as well. That led Brittany to move on to working part-time at the fire department in Yorkton. She was there for three years before joining the Moose Jaw Fire Department full-time.
Schofer explained what attracted her to becoming a firefighter.
"I enjoy the little bit of an adrenaline rush you get with each call and just the fact that we're out in the community helping and making our city just a little bit safer."
She said there are 42 male firefighters and only 2 females currently employed with the Moose Jaw Fire Department.
"I'm very lucky that all the male firefighters that I work with are super supportive and very encouraging of females in the fire service."
Schofer talked about some of the challenges of being a female firefighter.
"The fact that I'm a little bit smaller in size than a lot of the males that I work with, but that can be an advantage in some situations. For instance, if we are doing a confined space rescue, it's a little bit easier for me to maneuver in those situations."
She also had some words of advice for young girls who are considering entering a male-dominated profession.
"My advice would be to follow your dreams and put in the work and effort."
Business Women of Moose Jaw meets monthly from September to June. The group will host its AGM online on April 21. The next in-person meeting will take place April 26th at the Grant Hall Hotel.