March is designated as Women’s History Month and the Los Angeles County Fire Department is proud to acknowledge and celebrate all the women on our team who have strengthened and continue to uplift the Department through their valuable accomplishments and contributions.
In this article, we feature the Inspection Section Assistant Chief Teresa Quiaoit, Administrative Services Manager II Zuleyda Santana-Reyes, Community Services Liaison Rosemary Vivero, and Acting Deputy Forester Samantha Conn.
Inspection Section Assistant Chief Teresa Quiaoit
Health Hazardous Materials Division’s Inspection Section Assistant Chief Teresa Quiaoit came to the United States from the Philippines in 1985 after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry. Her public service career began at the age of 20 as an Intermediate Clerk with the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office in 1986.
Soon after, she had the opportunity to advance her skills at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health where she dedicated 11 years of service. In 1998, Theresa joined the Department as a Hazardous Materials Specialist. Since then, she has promoted and is now the Assistant Chief for the Inspection Section.
Theresa completed a master’s degree in public administration while working full-time and raising three children. She likes to support women both in her personal and professional life by always encouraging the advancement of education. She shared that she always remembers her mother’s advice that women can achieve anything if you put your heart into it.
She believes that Women’s History Month means appreciating the women who fought for liberty, equality, and recognition. “As an Asian female, it is quite challenging to be working in a male-dominated profession, but this does not discourage me,” said Theresa. “In fact, I take this as a challenge.”
Her advice to women working in public service is to be assertive, not be afraid to do what is right, and have care and compassion for the people you work with and the people you serve.
Administrative Services Manager II Zuleyda Santana-Reyes
Administrative Services Manager II Zuleyda Santana-Reyes began her career in public service at the age of 17 as a Student Worker with the Department of Community and Senior Services, now known as Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS). As a college student, she volunteered her time at community food banks while holding two jobs.
In 2015, Zuly was selected by the Chief Deputy of Business Operations to serve as an Administrative Services Manager II. Her 20 years of experience in accounting, contracts, and grants allowed her to assist with the day-to-day bureau operations.
One of the accomplishments she is most proud of is working tirelessly to execute the vision from Chief Deputy Dawnna B. Lawrence to create a summit in 2018 that focused on the inclusion and support of women in the fire service.
Zuly attributes much of her success to the women that have shaped her life and career. She praises her single mother who migrated to the United States from Guatemala and constantly supported Zuly and her siblings to achieve their goals. She also appreciates the woman who first allowed her to launch her career as a student worker.
“For me, Women’s History Month is a time of reflection on how I can contribute more to women around me and be a role model, especially for my only daughter,” said Zuly. “It is a moment for me to celebrate all of the selfless acts women in history have contributed that have shaped who I am today.”
In the future, Zuly plans to pursue a master’s degree in business administration to contribute to her family and community. She offers advice for women in public service: “… Be true to their values, remember your worth, and pursue your passion for public service no matter the obstacles.”
Community Services Liaison Rosemary Vivero
Community Services Liaison Rosemary Vivero began her public service career working as a youth advisor for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s and Probation Departments. She received her master’s degree in public administration in 1990 and has dedicated 20 years of service to the Department.
Her role as a Community Services Liaison has allowed her to empower women daily by teaching them how to be proactive about emergency preparedness and enjoys demonstrating to others how to save a life with Hands-Only CPR. Rosemary is also an active advisor for Learning for Life’s Fire Explorer Program and participates in budget and fundraising projects.
“The best way I find to support women is by not perpetuating ‘girl on girl’ hate. When you reach a maturity level of loving yourself and you become more confident, you become empowered and want to teach other women to love and support each other,” said Rosemary. “Women’s History Month allows us to learn and acknowledge women in our world that have made a difference.”
Her goals are to continue to represent the Department positively in the communities she serves and create new programs that empower both women and men to reach their goals and retire in good health. She would also like to create a haven for abandoned pets in her community.
Acting Deputy Forester Samantha Conn
Acting Deputy Forester Samantha Conn always knew she wanted a career outdoors. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in forestry from Northern Arizona University. Her original goal was to become a timber cruiser but her plans changed when she had the opportunity to begin her career with the Forestry Division in 2008.
During Women’s History Month, she encourages women to “…volunteer for different assignments, meet as many people as you can, and make sure to keep the Department’s pride in your actions.”
Samantha likes to work hard and enjoys being part of the EMT cadre for Forestry and the Memorial Management Team.
Her future goals are to promote to Deputy Forester and dedicate 15 to 20 years of service to the Department.