A new story from The Emma Guns Show

The Emma Guns Show


Women not just someone that's experiencing advice everyone can take something from that. My guest in this episode is doctor Sabrina Cohen Hatton, who, since joining the fire service when she was 18, has worked her way up its ranks to become one of the most senior serving officers. What prompted her to join, she says, is that it gives you the opportunity to make someone's life better, where the proactively making sure they don't have a fire or being one of the people trusted to know what to do when someone's very worst day. That is something I carry with me every single day when I go to work. She was born in Cardiff and raised in Newport and after the death of her father when she was 15, Cohen Hatton made was made homeless. Her school knew she wasn't living at home, one teacher even crossed the road when they saw her selling the big issue. Yet against the odds she was able to complete her GCSEs. During her homelessness she slept in derelict buildings on the streets in a van and even woke up on one occasion to find someone urinating on her sleeping bag. It took three attempts to get off the street and in 2001 at the age of 18, she joined the fire service in South Wales. While in the service she completed a bachelor's degree in psychology at the open university before completing a PhD in the behavioral neuroscience lab at Cardiff university. A pivotal moment in her life and career was responding to an incident where she knew another firefight had been horrifically injured. She thought it was her husband, also a firefighter, and though it wasn't, that event prompted her interest in reducing human error and making firefighters safer, and she has since become a leading international expert on risk critical decision making in crises. Her list of awards and honors is impressive. In 2016, she was awarded the American psychological association early career award from the society of experimental psychology and cognitive science. In 2018, she received the biotechnology and biological sciences research council innovator of the year award, and in 2021 she received an honorary doctor of science award at royal Holloway university. In the UK, just over 7% of firefighters of women and Cohen had a rare female chief fire officer, has focused her latest book on dismantling what it means to be a female in power. The gender bias, the barriers that hold women back and how to break them, has been described as a rallying call to change the perception of successful women by a woman at the top of her field, Sabrina, it is such a pleasure to welcome you to the Emma gun show. Thank you. It's so good to be here. What? I mean, what an introduction. I mean, I try and make them short and sweet and to the point, but there's so much. Oh, thank you. No, that's really kind. It's been quite a journey. It has been quite a journey. So I'm curious, just based on all of that information alone. There is so much chief. There's the period of homelessness. There's all of the awards that you've achieved. There's the work that you've done. If I say you've got to choose one thing that you can talk about today and don't worry, you get to talk about many of them. But if you wanted to if there's the thing that people ask you about the most, what is it? And I'm curious how that's defined you. It's a really good question. And I think if I was to choose one thing to talk about, it would be about how you don't have to be divined. I honestly, after having the experience that I did of homelessness, I used to feel like that had defined me. I used to feel like I couldn't move beyond that. And I hid it for so long. I felt like I couldn't talk about it because I just wanted to start again. And I thought that if people knew about it, they would see me as I was not as I was then or how they were seeing me at that point in time. And I found that really difficult. And I'd look at people in my industry in the fire service who were leaders and who was successful. And they would be these amazing, incredible people who were so tough and they always knew what to do and they always knew what to say and they were never afraid of anything. And having that experience, it made me feel like I couldn't possibly be in the same league as them ever, because this thing had happened that made me feel really vulnerable. But the reality was that every single one of those had failures and had mistakes and had things that made them feel vulnerable, but they only showed their show real because that was all that was expected. But actually, if you own your vulnerabilities and your failures with as much conviction as you own your successes, then the people that come up behind you don't have such a tough journey. And that's why I started to talk about my experience of homelessness because it affects so many people and I wanted them to know that those circumstances, what they've been through doesn't define where they end up, just the place where they start from. So I think if I had to pick one thing, it would be that you don't have to be defined. I love that you said that. And when I was researching this episode and I was reading about you, I read something that you had said, and I wrote it down, I scribbled it so hard into my notepad. Because it's something that I have been looking for the words to try and explain for such a long time. And it's about definition about how we define ourselves. And I find it really frustrating that we seem to be in a culture at the moment where we have started to define ourselves by the worst things that have happened to us. And that then becomes one's identity. And actually, I think you said, I think what you said was, it's an experience. So you don't have to be defined by it. It's just an experience that you had and that you learned from. And now I feel like instead of raging, I now have the vocabulary to be able to say, yeah, really terrible. That really terrible thing did happen, but it doesn't mean that you have to enter every single day as the person that that happened to. Yeah. You are allowed to grow. Yeah. I think that's beautiful, isn't it? Because when we have those things that happen to us, they are hard. And they do affect our the lens that we see the world through. So for example, when I was experiencing homelessness, I would

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