MFD director: Looking back at 25 years as a firefighter, ahead to the future

MFD Director Gina Sweat (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
MFD Director Gina Sweat (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
Gina Sweat interviewed with WMC while she was a recruit for MFD (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
Gina Sweat interviewed with WMC while she was a recruit for MFD (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Fire Director Gina Sweat is celebrating a milestone--25 years as a firefighter and director for a year and a half.

WMC Action News 5 looked back at Kym Clark's interview with Sweat 25 years ago when she was a new recruit and talked with the director about her vision for what's ahead for MFD.

Sweat was a young recruit in August 1992 and had just become only the fourth female Memphis firefighter.

Now, Director Sweat manages one of the top ranked and largest departments in the country and it hasn't been easy getting there - especially being a woman in a male-dominated field.

"I think females do tend to be a little more critical of themselves and their abilities than men, so that's something I had to overcome early in my career because being one of the first ones, you're being watched," Sweat said.

But, with female weaknesses come strengths.

Sweat believes there are definite advantages to a woman's nurturing side.

"Bringing people together and putting a team together and empowering them - giving them a mission and then empowering them to make the changes they need to make or to do what they need to do," Sweat said.

Over the years Sweat has seen a lot of changes. There are now about 50 women within Memphis Fire Department and three of them are in leadership roles.

Sweat hopes to see many more changes in the years ahead.

"My goal would be to one day me not be seen as a female fire director but for me, just to be seen as a great fire director," Sweat said.

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