The Uplifters
The Uplifters
From “Wall Street Jerk” to the First Female Chaplain of the FDNY
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From “Wall Street Jerk” to the First Female Chaplain of the FDNY

Ann Kansfield’s journey to authenticity and purpose
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Transcript

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Listen to the latest episode of The Uplifters Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Substack, or YouTube, or follow our TikTok for uplifting daily videos.

This Week on The Uplifters

In Episode 26 of The Uplifters Podcast, we welcome Reverend Ann Kansfield, the inaugural New York Times New Yorker of the Year; the first female and first openly gay chaplain of the New York Fire Department; Co-pastor, with her wife, Jen, of The Greenpoint Reformed Church in Brooklyn; and author of Be the Brave One.

Ann grew up in the church, and she found comfort and purpose in the church, but after college, she took a job as a trader and became a self-described “Wall Street Jerk”. In the wake of September 11, she felt a call to serve and completed her seminary studies. She left one male-dominated career for another, but found her way in each through uncompromising authenticity. In fact, I almost titled this episode, “How to Fit in Anywhere by Being True to Yourself.”

Ann is frank, funny, and a compelling storyteller. In this episode you’ll hear Ann share:

  • The ways her personality and values prepared her for her current roles

  • The simple pleasures that bring her joy and help her find balance

  • The conflicts between personal values and institutional loyalty that she and her family experienced when she and her wife married and took on leadership roles in their church home

  • So many inspiring and juicy anecdotes about her life as a mother, wife, chaplain, and pastor.

Episode Summary

Segment 1: Ann's Background and Identity

- Ann shares her background and various jobs, including working on an assembly line and being a financial advisor.

- She talks about her experience as a chaplain in the fire department, nicknames, uniforms, and the unique challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated field.

- Ann discusses the importance of authenticity and how her personality fits well with the fire department's culture.

Segment 2: The Fire Department and Its Mission

- Ann explains the mission of the fire department and the satisfaction of helping people in times of danger.

- She highlights the sense of camaraderie among firefighters and the adrenaline rush that comes with the job.

- The role the legendary FDNY Chaplain Mychal Judge played in her decision to become a Chaplain.

Segment 3: Challenges to Authenticity

- Ann discusses the challenges to her authenticity, particularly when her values clash in certain situations.

- She explores the topic of protecting institutions versus prioritizing the care of individuals, referencing the church's handling of sex abuse scandals.

- Ann emphasizes the importance of being true to oneself and not compromising authenticity.

Segment 4: Ann's Influence on the Fire Department

- Ann reflects on her role in the fire department and how her personality and authenticity have positively impacted her relationships with colleagues.

- She shares a heartwarming story about her involvement in a fire emergency and the trust firefighters place in their chaplain.

Segment 5: Ann's Family and Personal Balance

- Ann discusses her upbringing in a religious household and her father's role as a minister.

- She shares the story of her father officiating her wedding and losing his job due to his support for marriage equality.

- Ann talks about her role as a parent and her desire to help her children become the best versions of themselves.

Segment 6: Balancing Work and Personal Life

- Ann explains her approach to maintaining a balance between her role as a co-pastor and her personal life.

- She emphasizes the importance of enjoying every moment, simplifying choices, and finding joy in the simple pleasures of life.

- Ann shares her love for worship, good music, and meaningful connections with others.

- Ann shares her love for participating in emergency responses and explains why her wife calls it "puppy playtime."

Follow Ann on Facebook for more truly beautiful and inspiring stories.


The Uplifters Podcast has been named a finalist in the Signal Podcast Awards! In addition to the judges panel, we are up for a Listener’s Choice Award for Most Inspiring Podcast! Could you please lift up our show by taking a quick second to vote for us? Winning these awards could really help us reach more of the people who most need to hear these incredible stories! If you haven’t done so already, please vote for us here.

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The Uplifters
The Uplifters
This podcast is dedicated to celebrating the Uplifters.
In every episode, we share the tools and strategies Uplifters use to take care of themselves.
You'll hear the deeply personal stories of inspiring women who have worked through challenges to create big, joyful lives; how blocks and barriers became tools for success; and powerful mindset techniques you can use to live up. 💫