MPA grad named Kansas City Missouri Fire Department’s first female fire chief

After more than 27 years with the City of Kansas City, Missouri, Donna Maize becomes the first woman to lead KCFD since it began more than 151 years ago.

Donna Maize - MPA grad

October 2019 marked a big step for KU Edwards Campus Master of Public Administration (MPA) 2016 alumna, Donna Maize’s, career and for the Kansas City Missouri Fire Department (KCFD) when Maize was appoint the first female fire chief of KCFD. She previously served as the deputy chief of special operations and division chief of hazardous materials before becoming interim fire chief on Sept. 8.

Marilu Goodyear, associate professor in the School of Public Affairs & Public Administration, remembers Maize from her organizational change course as an exemplary student and leader.

"Donna was an excellent MPA student showing the ability to analyze problems and find creative solutions that fit the organizational culture of the fire department,” Goodyear said. “She is an excellent example of a leader who succeeds through hard work and dedication to the mission."

This mission has been ingrained in Maize’s life since birth. Her father, John Curtis Lake, served with KCFD, and she was even named by the firefighters who worked alongside him. Lake retired from the department as captain in 1995.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Central Missouri and spending time in a marketing position, she decided public service would be a better fit.

Learn more about Maize’s career, her background with KCFD and more in the KU Alumni Association’s recent article.

Top Photo Credit: Steve Puppe

Interested in furthering your career in public service? Learn more about the Master of Public Administration program at the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park.

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