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Staff

Kris Smart
Executive Director
- ksmart@gotrchicago.org

I came to Girls on the Run at a time when my own daughter was experiencing many of the issues that are so common for our girls today. She struggled with a bully. Didn’t know how to express how she was feeling. Felt as though who she was, was somehow not enough for the world around her. As a parent, I didn’t have the tools to help. I learned about Girls on the Run as I was about to cross my own finish line running a marathon. I know the transformative power of running, and I have seen, these past years, the transformative power of this program. In my role, it is my joy to see that power amplified across tens of thousands of lives and I know every girl on the run is a seed for a larger societal change. My girl, your girl, our girls on the run are the change we seek in the world.

Bob Benson
Director of Finance & Administration
- bbenson@gotrchicago.org

I am honored and excited to be part of the Girls on the Run–Chicago family. I feel the enthusiasm, passion, energy, and excitement throughout the staff and volunteers, and I have had the privilege to see the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment on the girls’ faces and in their excitement as they finish their 5K. I am thrilled to help grow GOTRC to make the program available to more young girls.

Jessica Grossnickle
Director of Development
- jessica@gotrchicago.org

Being a member of the staff at Girls on the Run-Chicago is not work. It is about empowering thousands of girls to realize their potential, follow their dreams, and approach their futures with an attitude of “I CAN.” When our girls train for their first 5k it is not really about the 5k. It is about conquering something that they were once scared to do. It is about realizing that the unobtainable is obtainable, and it is about the finish line acting as a metaphor for so much more. The opportunity to be a part of the GOTR mission every day and the fact that I can call this my job is a true honor, and I am so excited to be a part of our growth in the future.

Cathy Kruse
Director of Communications
- ckruse@gotrchicago.org

Girls on the Run is a daily source of inspiration for me. From the staff, to the board, from the coaches to the girls and their families, I am continually amazed at the transformative power of the program. My goal is to bring this concept of “I Can” to as many girls as possible in an effort to make a positive and permanent change for our future.

Carynn Olsen
Director of Programs
- colsen@gotrchicago.org

I have had the opportunity to experience Girls on the Run, not only as a staff member, but first as a coach, site coordinator, running buddy, Solemate and now parent. Each role has provided me with unique insight and perspective on how we can truly serve our girls to the best of our ability.

Kylene Holderman
5k Manager
- kholderman@gotrchicago.org

It is rewarding and humbling to work for Girls on the Run-Chicago. It is a privilege to serve others through my strengths, while impacting future generations! The lessons that we teach at GOTR develop many life skills including: loyalty, hard-work, humility, kindness, strength, honesty, authenticity, and integrity. Working at Girls on the Run-Chicago has given me a platform to invest in others and help them realize their potential.

Alice Kovacik
Development Manager, Special Events and Grants
- akovacik@gotrchicago.org

Being a part of the Girls on the Run-Chicago team is really an extension of our program. It’s an opportunity to work collaboratively, challenge myself, and embrace a spirit of “I can” in all that I do. I am endlessly grateful for the opportunity to play a role in growing and sustaining a movement that is empowering the next generation of women to lead healthy, confident lives.

Cindy Nielsen
Development Manager, Corporate Relations and Charity Athlete
- cnielsen@gotrchicago.org

Girls on the Run has taught me that the secret to growing up strong is actually helping that creative and fearless little person inside of each of us to shine. None of us can control how or where we are born into this world, but we have a choice in how we live in it. When we teach our girls about that choice, empower them to believe in themselves and then teach them how they can accomplish their goals, one step at a time, we change our world. I feel so lucky to be a part of this mission!

Shavonne Worthy
Senior Program Manager
- sworthy@gotrchicago.org

Girls on the Run has taught me the true meaning of being unique in this world and letting my star shine. Each girl has a different story to tell, and her past experiences or current circumstances shouldn't determine where she is going. The program creatively supports the future aspirations of girls, helping each to create her own unique path. By working together with strong and compassionate volunteers, we will continuously instill pride and build up a generation of girls who will exude confidence, character, care, connectedness, and competence.

Andrea Brewster
Senior Program Coordinator - Southwest Region
- abrewster@gotrchicago.org

Girls on the Run has taught me that no dream is too big. If I believe that I can, I will. This mindset is incorporated into each lesson we teach and will ultimately inspire a future generation of empowered women. To get to be a part of this journey and make a difference in a young girl’s life is truly inspiring.

Izzy Gut
Communications Coordinator
- izzy@gotrchicago.org

Every human being I have met during my time with Girls on the Run has given me the same positivity and hope that our program continues to give thousands of young girls each year. I love that being kind and being strong are not mutually exclusive here, and we are encouraged to highlight what makes us different. The value of educating and inspiring the next generation of women speaks for itself when you see their radiant happiness and confidence. I am so proud to be part of such a wonderful organization and to spend my time spreading the power of “I Can.”

Elizabeth Labedz
Central Region Program Coordinator
- elabedz@gotrchicago.org

I am beyond grateful to be a part of the GOTRC staff and community! One of the greatest gifts given to me as a girl was the opportunity to discover what my body can do through physical activity, and I am excited to be a part of passing that on to our girls. It is an honor to contribute to the development of the world’s next generation of girl leaders, ready to speak their minds and chase their dreams!

Julia Means
North Region Program Coordinator
- jmeans@gotrchicago.org

I am so thrilled to be working with Girls on the Run! I have always valued positive and healthy development, especially of young girls, and have experienced the transformative power of running in my own life. Girls on the Run is invaluable because it prioritizes these values and reaches girls at such pivotal points in their lives. I could not be more proud to have the opportunity to work alongside the incredible network of individuals that support this organization to empower girls to live healthy, happy and bold lives.

Nicole Ramsey
5k Coordinator, Event and Volunteer Support
- nramsey@gotrchicago.org

I am thrilled to be part of the Girls on the Run team! There is never a dull day, and I'm constantly inspired by everyone who carries out the GOTR mission, from the staff to the volunteers to the girls in our program.

Samantha Alvarez
Development Assistant
- salvarez@gotrchicago.org

Being a part of Girls on the Run is a privilege in which I am able to serve girls in the Chicagoland area to let them know that they can do anything. Girls on the Run is an organization in which serves the whole girl and I am committed to working towards the mission for every girl in Chicago to know their inner strength, find their voice, and to become game changers in their communities and in the world. I am honored to be serving the Girls on the Run mission and am thrilled to know how this program continues to impact lives on a daily basis.

Christie Schuessler
Office Coordinator
- cschuessler@gotrchicago.org

Girls on the Run-Chicago positively influences young girls with the powerful message of “I Can.". A girl who believes in herself can achieve absolutely anything, and I believe in her!

Board of Directors

Jen Dawson
Board President

Jen Dawson, CFP® is a Wealth Manager focused on helping women with their financial planning needs in order to enjoy a great relationship with their money. Jen joined the GOTRC Governing Board in 2012 and is currently serving as Board President. A long-time running enthusiast, Ms. Dawson was an All-American athlete and captain of the University of South Carolina's National Championship Track & Field team, and is currently working toward completing her last of the 6 World Marathon Majors.

Rebe Sckrabulis
Vice President

Now retired, Rebe most recently served as Regional Manager for CarMax and has over 20+ years in retail management experience. She has been a volunteer with GOTR-Chicago since 2000. Rebe is considered a role model for volunteerism within her personal and professional networks. In 2012, she was awarded the ‘CarMax Community Service Award’ which recognizes outstanding leaders within their communities.

Jennifer Elliott
Secretary - TransUnion

Jennifer is the Vice President of Human Resources at TransUnion, supporting the Consumer Interactive and Healthcare businesses. In her role, she drives organizational design and capability as well as talent development and engagement, with a focus on advancing growth and positive business outcomes. With 10+ years in HR leadership roles, Jennifer is passionate about aligning individuals to meaningful work and enabling impactful experiences. In addition to her career within the technology and consumer goods and services industries, she has been active in Chicago's running and nonprofit communities. Jennifer joined the Girls on the Run-Chicago Governing Board in 2013 and is honored to help empower more girls to cross the finish line with a bright future.

Mary Ann Borys
Treasurer - W.W. Grainger, Inc.

Mary Ann has more than 30 years of financial and management experience in business-to-business transactions. She is currently Manager for the Indirect Purchasing Group at W.W. Grainger, Inc., North America’s leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products. In addition to her work with the Girls on the Run-Chicago Board, she also serves on the Alumni Board for St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. Mary Ann joined the GOTRC Board in 2013 and currently serves as Treasurer. She is dedicated to growing and extending the reach of this life-changing program to all girls across Chicagoland.

Ann Hopkins Avery
Board Member - Baker & McKenzie

Ann Hopkins Avery is the North America Professional Development Manager for Baker & McKenzie’s Tax practice group, focusing on attorney career development, performance management, and mentoring/training initiatives. Prior to joining Baker & McKenzie in 2016, Ann ran the firm-wide attorney training programs at Vedder Price and served as the Director of Legal Programs at the International Association of Defense Counsel, where she also served as the Managing Editor of the Defense Counsel Journal. In addition to her work with Girls on the Run-Chicago, Ann is also a member of the Women to Know Advisory Board. Ann is a life-long runner, and she joined the GOTR-Chicago Board in 2013.

Jackie Barry
Board Member - Menasha Packaging

Currently VP-Finance for Menasha Packaging’s Supply Chain Services Group, Jackie has over 25 years of financial and business management experience. A Girls on the Run-Chicago Board member since 2012, Jackie is continually inspired by the value that the GOTRC experience provides to so many girls across our communities along with the dedication of the staff, volunteers and donors who make it all happen.

Jesse Brannan
Board Member - Tyson Foods

Gia Colunga
Board Member - Freeborn & Peters, LLC

Gia is a partner at Freeborn & Peters LLP. She focuses her practice on complex commercial disputes, employment litigation and non-competition and trade secret matters. She has handled significant matters for clients in state and federal courts across the country, including multi-week trials, large-scale discovery disputes, dispositive motion practice and appeals. In addition to her general caseload, Gia regularly devotes time to pro bono matters and non-profit organizations.

Jenny Dairyko
Board Member - Google

Jenny is currently the People Operations Leader for Google gTech Consumers, responsible for designing and executing the people strategy and partnering with the business on driving organizational design, change management and talent and culture development. Prior to joining Google, Jenny held numerous HR leadership roles at PepsiCo, spanning products such as Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade and Naked Juice. Jenny has been actively involved with Girls on the Run-Chicago since 2010, and is a passionate advocate of its mission to educate and prepare girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living.

Andrea Gonzalez Bucklar
Board Member - Alvarez & Marsal

Andrea Gonzalez is a Senior Director with Alvarez & Marsal Global Forensic and Dispute Services. She specializes in advisory and consulting services, and brings significant experience to clients involved in commercial disputes related to breach of contract, fraud or embezzlement, and intellectual property. Andrea is an avid runner who joined the Girls on the Run-Chicago Governing Board in 2015. She is looking forward to helping the organization fulfill its mission

Kate Goyert
Board Member - Michael Best

Kate practices labor and employment law at Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, focusing on employment counseling and litigation. Her practice includes defending employers in federal, state and administrative litigation on issues including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, medical leave, and non-compete agreements. Kate is thrilled to be a part of GOTRC and supporting its mission of empowering young girls with the confidence and character they need to become strong, healthy women and future leaders.

Maureen Hartigan
Board Member

Maureen Hartigan is a public relations professional with over 25 years of experience working on a wide range of projects including public affairs, government, business-to-business and consumer. She is currently serving on the University of Chicago's Women's Board, the Graham School's Know Your Chicago Board, and the Georgetown University Alumni Admissions Committee and Chicago Campaign. She is in the final stages of completing a novel begun while participating in the Graham School's Writers' Studio certificate program. Maureen has served on the Girls on the Run Board since 2010 and is passionate about its mission and the community that supports it.

Debbie Huml
Board Member - MorrisHuml, LLC

Debbie Huml plays an integral role is helping executives navigate their way through transformational change in global businesses. She is a partner in MorrisHuml, LLC, an organization that supports Fortune 1000 firms across industry sectors. Areas of focus include, strategic alignment, leadership development, creation of high performing team, and shaping culture though interactive learning. Personal accountability and ownership are key aspects of her work. Debbie joined the Girls on the Run-Chicago Board in 2015 and is excited to support its mission of empowerment and building self-esteem.

Melaina Jobs
Board Member - Loeb & Loeb LLP

Melaina practices intellectual property law at Loeb & Loeb LLP. She represents both foreign and domestic clients before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on patent and trademark matters in a variety of industries including financial and retail services, consumer products, and specialized electronic equipment. Her patent practice includes preparing utility and design patent applications in the mechanical, electro-mechanical, and computer science arts. Melaina is excited to be a part of Girls on the Run-Chicago and is looking forward to helping the organization continue to grow and expand its programming across Chicagoland.

Tim McCauley
Board Member - Walgreens

Tim is the Senior Director of Transformational Technologies for Walgreens, responsible for bringing digital and mobile innovation and agile processes to Walgreens mission critical employee systems in a global leadership role. He is a primary leader in the field, and a frequent public speaker on mobile consumer initiatives. Tim joined the Girls on the Run-Chicago Governing Board in March of 2016, and looks forward to providing strategic support as the GOTR-Chicago council continues to grow and expand its service across 8 Chicagoland counties.

Jennifer Micek
Board Member - U.S. Cellular

Jennifer is a senior director of the product and innovation team at US Cellular. With 18+ years’ experience in the technology industry in the areas of finance, innovation, product, business development, strategy and marketing, she is thrilled to provide her experience to Girls on the Run-Chicago. Jennifer joined the Girls on the Run-Chicago Board in 2013 and is passionate about the mission of the organization in helping girls know that they can do anything. Jennifer is an avid runner and lives in Park Ridge, Ill, with her husband and three children.

Mike Nishi
Board Member - Chicago Event Management

Michael Nishi is the Executive Vice President, Business Development & Operations, for Chicago Event Management. Since 1990, Nishi has partnered with Carey Pinkowski as General Manager and Executive Race Director of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, respectively. As an active leader in the running industry, he continues to advocate for greater safety and security not only for Chicago Event Management clients but also for events around the world. An avid runner and cyclist, Nishi sits on the board of Girls on the Run-Chicago and is a committee member at Urban Prairie Elementary School and City Garden Pre-School.

Jodi Bondi Norgaard
Board Member - JB Norgaard Enterprises, Inc.

Jodi is an entrepreneur, professional speaker, warrior for girls, consultant, and founder and creator of the award-winning Go! Go! Sports Girls line of dolls and books encouraging healthy and active play over fashion and body images. She has been recognized as a leader by the White House and policymakers bringing change to gender disparity in toys. She was recently named as one of 20 women who are changing the sport of running and the world by Women’s Running Magazine. Jodi was a GOTR coach from 2006-2009 and is thrilled to join the GOTR-Chicago Board in 2016.

Lisa Rodriguez
Board Member - Weichert

With more than 20 years of experience in HR and workforce mobility, Lisa is currently the Regional Vice President at Weichert, overseeing operational activities and spearheading strategic development within the mid-western US. Prior to that, she served in a variety of leadership roles at Civis Analytics, Aon and Abbott Laboratories. Lisa joined the Girls on the Run-Chicago Governing Board in 2016 and exemplifies #girlpower as a certified six sigma black belt!

Joan T. Williams
Board Member - Northwestern University, Feinberg School of M

Joan Williams is a certified public accountant working at Northwestern University as the Director of Internal Controls. Joan has been involved with Girls on the Run since 2005 and began her service on the governing board in 2007. Joan is passionate about the mission of Girls on the Run and has seen firsthand the impact the program has on girls around the Chicagoland area.

Associate Board

Join our Associate Board!
Click Here
- cschuessler@gotrchicago.org

If you are interested in joining the Associate Board for GOTR Chicago, please send an email to the address above with the subject line "Associate Board Application Request."

Bethany Hufford
President - University of Chicago Medicine

Jennifer Bae
Vice President - Deloitte

Alissa Schepisi
Secretary - Edelman

Amy Capone
Treasurer - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Julia Argentieri
Board Member - Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chic

Jennifer Barbour
Board Member - Department of Labor

Alex Black
Board Member - Cook County

Meghan Boland
Board Member

Caitlin Carmedelle
Board Member - Bain & Company

Melanie Chapman
Board Member - Jellyvision

Kelly Comiskey
Board Member - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kim Cygan
Board Member - The Cambridge Group

Claire Doyle
Board Member - NxtTeam, Inc.

Betty Graham
Board Member - Rent Like a Champion

Nicki Granadier
Board Member - Gatorade

Lindsay Herman
Board Member - University of Chicago Medicine

Michelle Janke
Board Member - Teach for America Chicago

Mary Johnson
Board Member - TwentyEighty

Livia Kenney
Event Chair - PJH & Associates, Inc.

Nicole Labby
Board Member - Brookfield Zoo

Queenie Lee
Board Member - Northwestern University Student

Alicia May
Board Member - Constellation Brands

Emily Meyer
Board Member - Enova International

Michelle Miller
Board Member - KPMG LLP

Meghan Moran
Membership Chair - North Park Elementary School

Katya Naman
Board Member - Quaker

Punam Rahman
Board Member - Weiss Hospital

Erica Rimsky
Board Member - Pritzker Group

Emily Rozanski
Board Member - Waldorf Astoria Chicago

Allison Scaia
Board Member - The Hartford

Emily Sinclair
Board Member - PrincewaterhouseCoopers

Danielle Twait
Board Member - Mandell Menkes LLC

Jamie Wallenberg
Board Member - Jones Lang Lasalle

Lizzie Westhouse
Board Member-University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Emily Young
Social Chair - Sears

Maggie Zahm
PR Chair - Brand Networks