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Board Member Spotlight: Conrad Szymanski

Retired CEO, Bealls Department Store

Conrad Szymanski joined our board in July 2017. In his professional career, Conrad served as the president of Bealls, Inc. from August 1995 – August 2007 and most recently serves on the board of directors for Bealls, Inc. Conrad attended college at the University of Kentucky, where he earned a MBA in marketing and finance. A number of other organizations that Conrad is involved with are the National Association of Corporate Directors, Florida Angel Nexus, International Council of Shopping Centers, Manatee County Chamber of Commerce – board of Directors, Manatee County Economic Development Council, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School – board of directors, and Manatee Area Youth Soccer.

What do you think is the most pressing need in Manatee County?
Manatee Elementary Community Partnership School- The concept is built around providing enhanced support systems to help deal with the myriad of issues facing Title 1 students and their families. We have selected the school exhibiting the greatest depth of generational poverty to change the economic cycle.

What initially drew you to become involved with the Manatee Community Foundation?
The profound power of Donor-Advised Funds. They enable you to set aside money during high-earning years to support future philanthropic work with maximum tax advantage.

Favorite hobby and why?
I can’t be limited to one hobby.  I engage in a variety of activities for various diverse reasons.  I regularly enjoy fishing, tennis, pickleball, biking, travel, grandparenting, volunteering as a reading buddy, and Florida based venture capital investing.

What’s the most interesting or unique skill or talent you possess that others might not know about?
I think I am effective in helping children find their self-confidence and their desire to learn.

What advice would you give to individuals who are interested in getting involved with philanthropy or serving on a nonprofit board?
First, you must do your research.  There are many wonderful agencies in our community doing amazing work.  By doing your research, you will find one that speaks to your values.  Nothing is more rewarding than executing on purpose that speaks to your values.

What’s your favorite inspirational quote or motto that guides you in your personal and professional life?
“True happiness is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”   Helen Keller