by Josy Jones
Dr. Theresa Beyerle jokes about being lost in the Salvation Army building. She’s about six weeks into her position as Director of Institutional Research, and the building is still semi-unfamiliar, making navigation troublesome. But she owns her newness, illustrated by the blank, manilla colored walls of her office. On the floor, in a pile of Goodyear Blimp photos she hasn’t gotten to hang yet, rests a picture of a miraculous four-blimp day. A plaque on her desk names her “Vice President of Thinking about Things,” and as comical as it is, it’s accurate.
Talking to Beyerle is like talking to an old friend who inspires you to love Akron more than you already do. When and if you get to meet her, it will feel like talking to someone you’ve known your whole life. Warning: she’s “technologically uninterested,” so she has a flip phone and shows it off proudly. She’ll greet you with a smile and welcoming personality, she may try to recruit you for the organizations she serves and she’ll make you laugh. Best of all, she’s here for Akron and believes in continuing to build it and make it one of the best places to live.
Beyerle (Pronounced Bye-Yer-Lee) holds a Ph.D, but with her short, sleek peppered hair, a gold chain around her neck and a stylish gold hoop piercing halfway up her ear, she kind of looks like a rockstar. She was a shy kid who moved here when she was 18 and never looked back. She originally wanted to be a pediatrician but ended up with a Ph.D in Public Administration and Urban Studies/Nonprofit Administration from UA. She has strong ties here, and after finishing her degrees, she wanted to take jobs that kept her here. Cleveland has great schools and opportunities, but she wanted to stay and continue to make an impact on our community.
Beyerle’s life revolves around the reoccurring themes of building and connectivity. One of her former positions was working at the University of Akron building and leading their Service Learning Program. She spent a lot of time in the community, helping students find hands-on work experience in their chosen field and connecting them with organizations in the community that could use their skill sets.
Beyerle translated her love of helping the Akron community and building connections into her job at the Salvation Army.
“It’s who I am. I just love doing it,” she says about choosing a career path that services the community. “I don’t know how I got like this.”
Her job is to assess, measure and improve programming and make sure they are effectively documenting and implementing desired outcomes. The Salvation Army has a lot of programs, including the Feeding Program that delivers meals to those who need them, a showering service and much more. The position is new, which will give Beyerle the opportunity to start fresh and build the position from the ground up. She likes to “build stuff,” so she will enjoy establishing the position, which will allow her to continue contributing to the Akron community and making sure the programs the Salvation Army offers are serving the community to the best of their abilities.
In addition to her work with Salvation Army, Beyerle serves on numerous Akron boards, including her newest position on the board of Proyecto RAICES, a program to serve Hispanic Children of Summit County. She spends the majority of her time volunteering because “…what do people do who don’t volunteer?” She hasn’t a clue.
Akron won’t lose Beyerle any time soon. She continues to make Akron better everyday with her contributions, by building Akron up and helping make lasting, impactful connections.
(Headshot courtesy of Theresa Beyerle)
(Featured photo courtesy of The Salvation Army)