Girls on the Run is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.


Girls on the Run-Chicago (GOTRC) is the largest council of Girls on the Run International. Girls on the Run-Chicago was founded by five local women in 1999 and served 45 girls during that first year. This year, we are on track to serve 10,000 girls across 8 Chicagoland counties.

Girls on the Run International was established in 1996 in Charlotte, North Carolina by Molly Barker. What started with thirteen girls in one school has grown to over 200 councils in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. With the help of almost 100,000 volunteers, Girls on the Run served nearly 180,000 girls in 2015, including our millionth girl! Girls on the Run continues to grow and currently hosts more than 350 end-of-season 5K events across the United States, making the Girls on the Run 5K series the largest in the country. Girls on the Run has also expanded to include middle school girls through Heart & Sole, a program dedicated to the unique needs of adolescent girls.

core values

Recognize our POWER and RESPONSIBILITY to be INTENTIONAL in our decision making


Express JOY, OPTIMISM AND GRATITUDE through our words, thoughts
and actions


NURTURE our physical, emotional and spiritual HEALTH

STAND UP for ourselves and others

our people


Kris Smart

Executive Director

“I know the transformative power of running, and I have seen the transformative power of this program. 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.”

Bob Benson

Director of Finance & Administration

“I am honored to be part of the Girls on the Run–Chicago family. I feel the enthusiasm, passion, energy, and excitement through 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.”

Jessica Grossnickle

Director of Development

“When our girls train for their first 5k it is not really about the 5k. It’s about conquering something that they were once scared to do. It’s about realizing that the unobtainable is obtainable, and it’s about the finish line acting as a metaphor for so much more.”

Cathy Kruse

Director of Communications

“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

“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.”

Alice Kovacik

Development Manager, Special Events and Grants

“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.”

Kylene Holderman

5k Manager

“It is a privilege to serve others through my strengths, while impacting future generations! Working at Girls on the Run-Chicago has given me a platform to invest in others and help them realize their potential.”

Cindy Nielsen

Development Manager, Corp. Relations/Charity Athlete

“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.”

Shavonne Worthy

Senior Program Manager

“The GOTR 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

“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.”

Izzy Gut

Communications Coordinator

“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 this program only grows, and I'm beyond grateful I can be part of empowering the next generation of women.”

Elizabeth Labedz

Central Region Program Coordinator

“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 pass that gift on to our girls. It is an honor to contribute to the development of the next generation of girl leaders, ready to speak their minds and chase their dreams!”

Julia Means

North Region Program Coordinator

“Girls on the Run is invaluable because it 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

“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

“Girls on the Run is an organization that 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.”

Caitlin Hamrin

Front Desk Assistant

“Girls on the Run Chicago empowers the next generation of women to make deliberate choices from a place of strength and confidence. This work brings together so many wonderful people, and I love being able to play a small role in our pursuit of GOTR’s mission.”

We're always considering passionate individuals to join our team and help us inspire more girls in the Chicagoland area.

Current Opportunities
Governing Board

Jen Dawson

Board President

Hemington Wealth Mgmt.

Rebe Sckrabulis

Board Vice President

Jennifer Elliott

Board Secretary


Mary Ann Borys

Board Treasurer

W.W. Grainger, Inc.

Ann Hopkins Avery

Board Member

Baker & McKenzie

Jackie Barry

Board Member

Menasha Packaging

Jesse Brannan

Board Member

Tyson Foods

Gia Colunga

Board Member

Freeborn & Peters, LLC

Jenny Dairyko

Board Member


Andrea Gonzalez Bucklar

Board Member

Alvarez & Marsal

Kate Goyert

Board Member

Michael Best

Maureen Hartigan

Board Member

Debbie Huml

Board Member

MorrisHuml, LLC

Melaina Jobs

Board Member

Loeb & Loeb, LLP

Tim McCauley

Board Member


Jennifer Micek

Board Member

The Marmon Group

Tonya Newman

Board Member

Neal, Gerber, Eisenberg

Mike Nishi

Board Member

Chicago Event Management

Jodi Bondi Norgaard

Board Member

JB Norgaard Enterprises, Inc.

Joan T. Williams

Board Member

Northwestern University

Associate Board

Bethany Hufford


University of Chicago Medicine

Jennifer Bae

Vice President


Alissa Schepisi



Amy Capone


Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Julia Argentieri

Board Member

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago

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


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


Lindsay Herman

Board Member

University of Chicago Medicine

Michelle Janke

Board Member

Teach for America Chicago

Mary Johnson

Board Member


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


Meghan Moran

Membership Chair

North Park Elementary School

Katya Naman

Board Member


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


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


Maggie Zahm

PR Chair

Brand Networks

At the heart of Girls on the Run are amazing volunteers whose commitment and passion impact the lives of girls each year.

Board Opportunities

Girls on the Run-Chicago
1415 N. Dayton St.
Suite 112
Chicago, IL 60642

(773) 342-1250