Hacking Possibility | Shelli Rae Varela | TEDxSantaBarbara

  • Published on Sep 20, 2016
  • Shelli Varela is a trailblazer and pioneer in the hyper-competitive world of firefighting.
    She delivers a compelling and entertaining argument for not only rethinking what we believe is possible, but hacking how to get there.
    For over two decades, Shelli Varela has been blazing trails both literally and figuratively. Hired in 1994 as the first female firefighter in Canada’s 6th largest city, she went on to earn the coveted “Firefighter of the Year Award” twice and is a former traveling member of “Firefighters Without Borders” where she and her team were deployed to Honduras.

    Shelli authored a children’s book called “Peanut Meets the Pigtailed Firefighter” and is the creator of the Mindset Mastery program, in which she dedicates herself to showing others how they, too, can hack possibility, reach their full potential, and live a life of purpose and impact.
    This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at ted.com/tedx

Comments • 66

  • 🌍 Mister No
    🌍 Mister No 15 days ago

    Women are joke.

  • Walt King
    Walt King Month ago

    Big freakin deal she's a female civilian firefighter am I supposed to be impressed I serve 6 years in army including the tour of Duty and Iraq in 2006 in a little city called Fallujah and guess what they were female soldiers they went out on patrol they fought firefights in 120 degrees Heat they were a real uniform and served our country not just their community so I'm not too impressed by any female civilian police officer or firefighter!!!!

    • B R
      B R Month ago

      Walt King if you haven't figured it out from the replies on your other demeaning comment, you're pretty dense

    • Walt King
      Walt King Month ago

      +B R oh I did well what's the point that I miss then!!!!!

    • B R
      B R Month ago

      Walt King you missed the entire point

  • Walter King
    Walter King 3 months ago

    What's the big deal so she's a civilian firefighter what's that supposed to mean their women serving right now in combat zones Iraq Afghanistan that makes anything a civilian firefighter faces on the job look like a cakewalk!!!!!!

    • Barb Keen
      Barb Keen Month ago

      +chansen plfdemsc - He's belittling fire fighters in the comment section. He seems very narcissist to me. But that's just my opinion.

    • chansen plfdemsc
      chansen plfdemsc Month ago +1

      Just like we thank those in the Military for their service, the same should be done for those in the fire service. What are you doing now that your tours of duty are over?

    • laeneel
      laeneel 2 months ago +1

      .....for starters I think you've missed the point of her talk......secondly you obviously have no idea what "civilian" firefighters do or see on a regular basis....

  • matthew pakkala
    matthew pakkala 3 months ago +2

    So inspiring

  • lucy5052
    lucy5052 3 months ago +2

    You are an inspiration!!!! Way to go!!! Thank you for what you bring for women and the fire service.

  • Angelica Guerrero
    Angelica Guerrero 3 months ago +2

    This is amazing. I'm going to college right now, but once I graduate I'll be enrolling in the fire academy.

  • Sunilnand Vijayarathna
    Sunilnand Vijayarathna 5 months ago

    Very very good on yaaa girl , You made me sooo proud . Bless you a hundred years ...... Peace .

  • Jerry Bruckhart
    Jerry Bruckhart 6 months ago +1

    I was a volunteer for 25 years and generally speaking am not a proponent of women in the fire service, in large part because all to often the standards are lowered to the lowest denominator. Apparently you earned it fair and square, good for you, and welcome to the brotherhood.

  • КОТлетуХочешь [Doshirgess]

    That's the reason your children will burn if there's fire. She won't be able to kick the door off.

    • Den Petrov
      Den Petrov 29 days ago

      She will need partner for tools

    • Barb Keen
      Barb Keen Month ago +1

      You don't " kick the door off". There's tools to get the door open within seconds. Google, TVclip it. Technology is a wonderful thing!

  • GlennSteffy
    GlennSteffy 7 months ago +1

    ..............YESSS ..........!!!!!!! .................

  • Alfonso perez
    Alfonso perez 8 months ago +1

    Only 136 pounds up the stairs?
    That how much the males do too? If it is thats a little.

    • mrlawilliamsuk Warmachine
      mrlawilliamsuk Warmachine 28 days ago

      When she says about the specs for the physical, I actually was surprised she hadn’t worked out the test b4 applying. BUT when she failed, I’m glad she went back. I nearly cried watching this...wth??

    • Jerry Bruckhart
      Jerry Bruckhart 6 months ago

      Actually 136 isn't a little, try it sometime in full turn out gear.

  • Sam Ko
    Sam Ko 8 months ago

    Go Shelli!!!!!

  • Master Art Mason
    Master Art Mason 9 months ago

    Love it!

  • Salman Alshamrani
    Salman Alshamrani 10 months ago


  • Tj White
    Tj White 10 months ago +3

    do you know what's more worthless than a female firefighter?

    • B R
      B R Month ago +1

      Tj White a jealous wannabe FF that tries to demean female FFs on TVclip

    • Barb Keen
      Barb Keen Month ago

      Tj White- I know the answer! It's YOU!! What a a$$ you are! 🤦

    • Nicole Dee
      Nicole Dee 7 months ago +5

      Tj White this is the 2nd video I've seen that you're trashing female FF... is there a reason why?

  • Danielle Randall
    Danielle Randall 11 months ago

    Badass Shelli!

  • Richard Jones
    Richard Jones 11 months ago +1

    what an absolutely amazing young woman good on you

  • Suzy Ng
    Suzy Ng 11 months ago +1

    What an inspiration ❤️ I love Ted talks, but this one in particular talk is phenomenal. Being a female training to becoming a firefighter, and being the only female in my class, it's inspiring to hear of others chasing the same dream. Undoubtedly, I know my brothers in my academy are supportive, but it's a different feeling to have fire service sisters as well.

  • scott larson
    scott larson Year ago

    I didn't now there were TED talks in Santa Barbara

  • AiErudito __-_-__
    AiErudito __-_-__ Year ago +4

    This world doesn't need a Hero... it needs a Professional.
    She is a great example of Professional.

  • bmeyer2011
    bmeyer2011 Year ago +1

    congratulations you met minimum standards

  • Chris Jennings
    Chris Jennings Year ago +6

    You would be hired on my department in a second with that speech!!!! Outstanding.
    "You can't measure heart"... getting knocked down and fighting your way back up... that's a Fire Service Warrior.
    Keep Safe Brother/Sister (And Fellow Canuck!!!)

    • Walt King
      Walt King Month ago +1

      Oh big deal a female civilian firefighter Whoopi f****** do you want to see some real heroes Veterans Day is coming up since it's a national holiday I'm sure there's a parade or event near you why don't you go to it and see some of my brothers some real heroes he wore real uniform my fellow veterans and serve their country!!!!!

  • Paetyn Parman
    Paetyn Parman Year ago +6

    That picture of her pulling her mom is classic!

  • Robert Daggett
    Robert Daggett Year ago +1

    She says she broke it down...NFPA did that already. Its in the JPRs!

  • Linda Strader
    Linda Strader Year ago +7

    I was one of the first women on a U.S. Forest Service fire crew in the mid-1970s. It amazes me how not much has changed for women working in a "man's" job. I heard things like 'women belong barefoot and pregnant and in the kitchen' and how I couldn't handle the job, how I would make more work for the men on my crew, how they worried I would get hurt...I was denied jobs for which I was fully qualified. But that didn't stop me from continuing to work in job I loved. My memoir about my 7 years as a firefighter will be traditionally published on May 1st, 2018.

    • Jamie Reyes
      Jamie Reyes Day ago

      It is man's job. Stop trying to become what you are not. Women belong at home taking care of their children. That's why families are broken today.

    • Linda Strader
      Linda Strader Year ago

      Thank you, Eliza! Summers of Fire will be released May 1, 2018. No, I've not read Fire Woman. I'll have to check it out!

    • Pearls-for-cats
      Pearls-for-cats Year ago

      I would love to read your memoir once it comes out, have you read "fire woman" by Josephine Reynolds?

  • sorry dishwasher
    sorry dishwasher Year ago

    Most collages just offer programs with training, pt, and hands on practice fire.

  • Wendy Lynn
    Wendy Lynn Year ago

    Such an inspiration!

  • jaggy319
    jaggy319 Year ago +1

    ***ASphalt***. (aSS Fault)

  • Redlibra k
    Redlibra k Year ago +1

    When they said you couldn't do it , God said you can!!!! Strong massage

  • K Marie
    K Marie Year ago +29

    After 4 years of studying, training, and physically preparing...I have been hired and begin academy this year. This TED talk is EVERYTHING. I'll be watching every week until I graduate because it inspires me to be the best I can be, and to never give up. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Suzy Ng
      Suzy Ng 11 months ago

      You go girl! I hope all is well, and you're having the time of your life in the Academy!

  • Varelativity
    Varelativity Year ago

    Love It! Posted to my Facebook Page!

  • Nunez J
    Nunez J Year ago +2

    i needed to hear this. Thank you sooo much!!

  • Vic Krue
    Vic Krue Year ago +1

    This is one awesome woman. 5'2" of 110% packed full of motivation, this woman is an awesome example of what you can do if you really want to.
    Good looking gal to... :-)

  • BeFab Revolution
    BeFab Revolution Year ago +2

    Shelli...Amazing! Very inspiring!


    Bro 😎 She Is My FIRE🔥CAPTAIN 🚒 🚑 💓💓💓💓💓💓💓💓💓

  • Doughnuts And Muscle
    Doughnuts And Muscle Year ago +13

    I'm literally crying. This is amazing and beyond motivating.
    I'm trying to be a paramedic / firefighter... this has motivated me so much. THANK YOU .


    0h Wow She Looking Sexy In Bunker Gear aka Turn0ut Gear!! 👍👍

  • Nancy Ryan
    Nancy Ryan Year ago +3

    Excellent! Moving! Authentic! Thank you, Shelli!

  • MCplicki
    MCplicki Year ago +1

    She is amazing!!

  • Carina Asp
    Carina Asp Year ago +1

    Thank you for sharing such valuable insights and experiences to show that every one can realise their own potential! WOW.

  • Christine Dwyer
    Christine Dwyer 2 years ago +9

    Girl! You nailed it! =) Super proud of you!

  • Deborah Lund
    Deborah Lund 2 years ago +3

    You are a force to be reckoned with my friend..So very proud of you!!!

  • The Revitalized Woman
    The Revitalized Woman 2 years ago


  • Alli Saunders
    Alli Saunders 2 years ago +17

    This woman is insanely inspiring! Love her honesty and dedication!

  • Mmmarvel the person
    Mmmarvel the person 2 years ago +4

    Great talk, thanks for giving the world the opportunity to view it. Bottom line, this is what life is all about. Even doing a job that you're not thrilled about, to put food on the table and keep a roof over the heads of your family is a heroic deed. Even IF that job isn't the one of your dreams then do it as Dr MLK said, "If you're a street sweeper, be the best damn street sweeper you can be". That idea, that commitment to a job, to a family, to an idea will make you a better person.

  • Mister Raider
    Mister Raider 2 years ago +4

    I seen big chi_Chi on the thumbnail, that's why I here!

  • Mister Raider
    Mister Raider 2 years ago +22

    I seen big titties in the thumbnail, that's why I'm here!