The Heart of an Executive
Reginald Smith II has dedicated his life to the well-being of his community. With a background in education and public administration, he has served as Executive Director for the Bethlehem Center for the past three years. Reggie not only performs his executive leadership tasks but he goes above and beyond to fill in where ever he is needed. Whether it’s cleaning bathrooms, replacing light bulbs, or organizing closets, he never hesitates to help. He also takes the time to build relationships with the youth in our programs by taking them to educational events, helping them find jobs, and providing a listening ear. His role at the Beth is one he takes seriously, and he gives his all.
During his first year as Director, Reggie started the Bethlehem Leadership Unit. BLU is a program for Howard High School students which gives them a platform to share their ideas and solutions for community issues such as poverty, gang violence, and abuse. Reggie believes a program like BLU is essential because society tends to focus on academics and not enough on character development and leadership training. BLU uses a curriculum that includes community service activities, cultural enrichment, and social justice discussions. He states that “education is a prerequisite to success, but character and leadership development are just as necessary.”
When Reggie is not at the Beth he is serving the community on the Board of Directors for Cempa Community Care. He is also chairman of the Social Action Committee of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. His fraternity brothers volunteer at events around the city such as Shoes for Kids and the Beth’s Nehemiah Project in partnership with Backpack Chattanooga. The Nehemiah Project provided over 6,500 backpacks full of school supplies for Title 1 schools in Hamilton County. At least 90% of these students live in poverty. Reggie considers it an honor to be a part of projects that are actively working to make a positive impact in our city.
Reggie’s focus at the Bethlehem Center is to strengthen current programs so the agency will remain relevant in the community. As South Chattanooga changes, he wants the Beth to continue being a safe haven and a valuable resource for all who enter. Reggie’s mindset is to “help somebody be greater than what they thought they could be.” His heart for serving others will be his lasting legacy.
Shari J. Watson
Shari is a UTC graduate with a background in music and writing. She is currently the Marketing Coordinator at the Bethlehem Center. She enjoys being out in nature, laughing with friends, eating Chinese food, and traveling as much as she can.