Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced that Acting Fire Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt will take over as the permanent Commissioner of the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) pending City Council approval. Commissioner Nance-Holt will be the first woman and first woman of color to lead the Chicago Fire Department in its 162-year history. On her first day leading CFD, Commissioner Nance-Holt will join Mayor Lightfoot in swearing in the Department’s newest class of 42 paramedics.
“Commissioner Holt has more than three decades of proven leadership and a passion for public service that makes her the perfect fit for this role,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Furthermore, in a time where more work remains in order to eliminate discrimination, racism, and sexism from the firefighter profession, Commissioner Holt’s history-making appointment as the first woman and Black woman to lead as Fire Commissioner couldn’t have come at a better moment. I want to congratulate her on formally and permanently stepping into the role and look forward to seeing how she builds upon CFD’s long-standing reputation as the finest in the nation.”
“The Fire Department must have membership and leadership that mirrors the communities it serves every day,” said Commissioner Nance-Holt. “As a child, I never laid eyes on either a female firefighter or a firefighter of color. There were no role models who looked like me, and so I never thought that becoming a firefighter, which was my dream, would be a possibility for me. As Fire Commissioner, I intend to show the next generation of young black women that they too can achieve any and everything they set their minds and hearts to.”
Commissioner Nance-Holt has dutifully served the Chicago Fire Department for over 30 years. Most recently, she served as the Acting Fire Commissioner after Commissioner Richard Ford II retired following his own lifetime of dedicated service.
Prior to becoming acting Commissioner, Annette Nance-Holt achieved another historic first when she was named the First Deputy Commissioner by Commissioner Ford in 2018, making her the first woman to hold the Department’s number two spot. Before becoming First Deputy, Commissioner Nance-Holt served the Chicago Fire Department with distinction in the following positions: Deputy District Chief, Battalion Chief-EMT, Captain-EMT, Lieutenant-EMT, and as a Firefighter.
Commissioner Nance-Holt is a procedural and safety-oriented firefighting professional with over 30 years of experience in the planning, organizing, and administration of all fire department operations. Her skillsets include fire administration, equipment management, budget management, enforcement of regulations, policies, and procedures related to all facets of fire suppression. Commissioner Nance-Holt is highly competent in assessing and eliminating risks and hazards through effective recommendations in executing corrective action plans, policies & procedures, and employee instructions. Her proven leadership and analytical skills are evidenced by her desire and ability to continuously seek improvement in fire/rescue operations and emergency medical services.
Commissioner Nance-Holt resides in Chicago with her family. She is the founder of two nonprofit community organizations, Purpose Over Pain and the Blair Holt Scholarship Foundation. She holds a Master of Science degree in Public Administration/Fire & Emergency Management from Anna Maria College and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Chicago State University.