Eilish Thornton

Business Fire Safety Advisor, Stockton

Sector: Fire Service

Eilish Thornton has always lived by the motto “do what you enjoy” – and she’s found herself with a successful job and education because of it. 

Where do you call home? 

I was born in, and live in, Stockton. 

Tell us about your role?  

I am a business fire safety advisor for Cleveland Fire Brigade. I work within the fire engineering department, and we focus on the protection of people in Cleveland through ensuring premises used by the public are safe.  

How did you get to where you are today? 

I have always done what I enjoy. I did a mix of A levels (dance, psychology and law) and furthered my education at the University of Hull with a degree in American Studies. 

I then went to work at Disney but, unfortunately, that was cut short due to the pandemic. 

When I returned, I gave myself time to look for a job that I would enjoy and suited my skills and personal characteristics. The post of business fire safety adviser was the perfect opportunity for me and so far, I have really enjoyed my time working for Cleveland Fire Brigade.    

What struggles or obstacles did you face along the way? 

Due to the pandemic and my job with Disney being cut short, I didn’t have a plan in terms of what I wanted to do as a career or a specific direction in mind. There is often a lot of pressure and a perception that you should know what you want to do in life and your career.  

I had lived a very structured life, with a clear path throughout my education. But once I graduated, I was thrown into the big scary world, and it was difficult to know what to do next and what I wanted my path to be. However, I made sure that I took the time to find the right organisation and a job that I knew I would enjoy, and I am so glad everything has worked out for the best. 

Describe the moment you first got a feel for success? 

It is crazy how one small interaction with a total stranger can truly impact your life. I was working in one of my previous roles as a waitress and I received some lovely feedback from my customers, who asked what my role was. I said “I’m just a waitress”, to which the customer replied “you are not JUST anything”. I was really taken by surprise and this interaction has stuck with me ever since – it is something I always remind myself of. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring young females? 

Always do what you enjoy, because that is what will make you happy and what you will be passionate about. Being passionate and excited about what you are doing is what leads to success in my experience.  

Women often underestimate themselves but we are so much stronger than we think, or are led to believe we are. 

What advice would you give to your younger self?  

Don’t put pressure on yourself to feel like you have to have it all together all the time. Be selfish, be confident but also be kind. Don’t compare yourself to others, because your own personal success looks completely different to someone else’s. 

What three words inspire you and encourage a positive path?  

“Get it done”! I often use this phrase to motivate me. Whether it is a huge task I really don’t want to do, or it is as simple as doing a workout, the sooner it is done, the sooner it is over!

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