Bronwyn Beightol’s commitment to Manatee County’s children that they will read on grade level by third grade has propelled her to a key leadership role at the United Way of Manatee County.
Beightol was named chief operating officer for the United Way of Manatee on Wednesday, United Way board chair Anne Lee announced. Beightol will now lead the organization alongside Chief Executive Officer Philip Brown.
Beightol started with the United Way of Manatee eight years ago as director of community investment, but she has, over the past 18 months, put her energy into education, bringing the national campaign for grade-level reading to Manatee with the help of The Patterson Foundation and other partners.
Beightol’s latest education project is called Manatee Mind Trust.
Never miss a local story.
“Manatee Mind Trust is a unique and transformational initiative, and Bronwyn is visionary and the kind of transformational leader who can make our vision a reality,” Lee said.
Beightol stressed that the lead driver of everything they do is education.
“We believe that with a firm education, a strong foundation, future thrive-ability is assured for our community,” she said. “We are working to assure that all of our children are reading on grade level by the end of third grade. The reason is because that is when children move from learning to read, to reading to learn. It is a key predictor of high school graduation and future success.
“We believe that everything goes back to that foundation of a strong education.”
Beightol calls herself “a strategist.” She says that strategizing is a skill she has developed that she will use as one of the leaders of the local chapter of the world’s largest privately funded non-profit. She has now risen to a position alongside United Way President Philip Brown.
“About 2-1/2 years ago, when I realized I was going to have the last one leaving home, I thought, ‘I want to be around for a long time. I want to ensure I see my grandchildren and that I am healthy and I am capable into future life,’ ” Beightol said. “I strategize everything. This was me strategizing for my personal future.”
Beightol had seen an article in the Bradenton Herald about CrossFit, the exercise program, and she joined CrossFit Lakewood Ranch back then.
“CrossFit has changed the way I look at life,” Beightol said. “It has changed the way I feel about how I am able to accomplish things, but also it has given me some core strength that I didn’t have before that so that is a real passion of mine.”
What I do to relax is that I love to just be at home. That is kind of my quiet space. I love music, all kinds of music, so I will listen to music very loudly and I will sing to it. You don’t need to hear me. I won’t give you a sample.
Bronwyn Beightol, chief operating officer, United Way of Manatee County
After work, Beightol kicks back in Country Creek, her East Manatee home.
“What I do to relax is that I love to just be at home,” Beightol said. “That is kind of my quiet space. I love music, all kinds of music, so I will listen to music very loudly and I will sing to it. You don’t need to hear me. I won’t give you a sample.”