Juanita Smith, Visualization Founder/CEOFire Chief Teresa Deloach Reed (photo courtesy of Oakland Fire Department)
By Cora Jackson-FossettSentinel Religion Editor
In honor of Women's History Month, Visualizations Founder/CEO Juanita Smith recently saluted Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach Reed, the first African American female to be appointed to this position in a major U.S. city.
"Chief Reed is definitely a trailblazer who deserves the highest accolades for her achievement. She serves as an inspiration to all women that we can fulfill our dreams," said Smith.
Reed was previously assistant fire chief in San Jose before being selected to lead the Oakland's 590- person department. She achieved many ‘firsts' during her 22-year career in San Jose including promotions as the first woman fire engineer, captain, battalion chief and assistant chief.
Smith's pride in Reed's accomplishments likely stems from her long affiliation with the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters (IABPFF).
"I have been fortunate to establish and maintain 501c3 Nonprofit Exemptions for several IABPFF branches throughout the country," said Smith who is known locally for her expertise in setting up nonprofit organizations.
In fact, Smith is about to launch a new nonprofit of her own called the Visualizations Foundation to assist at-risk youth and families in need in identifying supportive services.
"Our Vision is to contribute to the global prosperity of local communities and improve the quality of life by training, mentoring, and preparing youth to become functioning, contributing members of society.
"We also plan to support and collaborate with local churches and clergy in nonprofit development, marketing, strategic planning and how to develop and sustain an effective Pastor's Support Ministry," she said.
"Visualizations Foundation is now accepting applications for new Board members. If you would like to be a part of this Vision, please send a Letter of Interest to