Board of Directors

Pamela Olsen : Board President

Pamela Olsen

Board President

Pam was first introduced to Girls on the Run by her daughter, Nicole, who has a career in early education. There was an immediate desire to be involved with the organization because of its mission and goals. Having raised two successful children, Pam has a strong belief in the relationship between being physically active as kids and increased self-esteem as adults. Pam is an avid cyclist, loves stand-up paddling, hiking and taking long walks with her husband, and Labrador Winston.

Being in a leadership role in the grocery industry, Pam developed a women’s affinity group with the mission of developing future leaders. The connection of the women’s group and GOTR was an easy fit which led to QFC’s sponsorship. With the members of QFC’s women’s affinity group, Pam organized a group to volunteer at the 5Ks, was a Running Buddy and has volunteered at events with her son, daughter and husband.

Two years ago, Pam moved to Southern California to work for another Kroger Division as the Natural Foods Sales Manager. Recently, she returned to Seattle to be closer to her grown children and get back to the Pacific Northwest. Upon her recent return, one of her first calls was to see how she could get involved with Girls on the Run again. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree at Concordia this past August and recently accepted a position at Advantage Sales and Marketing in Seattle.

Jill Anderson : Vice President

Jill Anderson

Vice President

Jill Anderson first learned of Girls on the Run in 2010 and she knew immediately she wanted to contribute to the goals of the organization. She joined the 5K Committee in 2011 and successfully led three consecutive 5Ks as a co-chair. Helping plan and execute the 5K races solidified her commitment to the tenants of GOTRPS. She joined Board in 2013, inspired by the growth of the organization over the last two years motivated by the endless possibilities for the future of GOTRPS.

A graduate of the University of Washington, Jill studied Law, Societies, and Justice and was also a Spanish major. Her courses there taught her the importance of community involvement and volunteering. Jill is a Commercialization Manager for new product launches at Starbucks Coffee Company. She enjoys all sorts of physical activity, including running, yoga and Cross Fit.

She strives to do her best for Girls on the Run because she wishes a program like this had existed when she was in elementary school. She believes positive self-image is the most important tool for young girls and women

Jo Bader : Secretary

Jo Bader

Secretary

Jo Bader rediscovered running after a 25 year hiatus. Tired of feeling tired and overweight, she trained with a girlfriend for the 2008 Seattle Half Marathon. The experience reignited a love of running that drives her today. She ran six marathons in the past 3 years and engages in volunteer activities that combine her love of running with a passion for helping women, youth, and girls.

Jo first became involved with Girls on the Run in 2009. As a running buddy and coach, she has experienced first hand the impact that Girls on the Run has on our community. Jo is starting her fifth year on the GOTR board and looks forward to helping the program expand to reach more girls in the future.

Jo has spent 25 year in the tech industry at Microsoft, F5 Networks, and other local companies and is currently a freelance learning consultant. She also loves traveling and sharing new experiences with her husband. She has an adult son and daughter and is enjoying watching them find their passions in life.

Caroline Koplowitz : Treasurer

Caroline Koplowitz

Treasurer

Caroline grew up as a swimmer and competed at the collegiate level through her undergraduate years at Emory University. Running was always a dreaded form of cross-training until adult life, when Caroline began to appreciate the mental clarity and competitive outlet that running provided. She attributes much of her success to the discipline and self-confidence that participation in sports fostered as a child.

Although she believed in the mission and vision of Girls of the Run from the get-go, observing a lesson on site solidified her commitment to furthering the values of the organization and she signed up to be a running buddy immediately. She looks forward to serving the organization to the best of her capacity, and her next season as a running buddy.

Caroline currently works at Amazon in Financial Reporting and previously worked for a public accounting firm in Seattle. She is a proud Seattle native and also volunteers for the Seattle Art Museum.

Rebecca Gerben Mehta :

Rebecca Gerben Mehta

Rebecca has been a volunteer with Girls on the Run since 2002. Her dedication to this organization led her to join the board in Seattle in 2012. She currently serves as chair of the fundraising committee.

Rebecca cannot recall a time in her life when sports did not play a major role. Some of her earliest memories include playing outdoor games with the neighborhood kids, golfing with her dad, and training for 5Ks with her mom. She believes sports – both individual and team – teach not only what you’re capable of, but also challenge you to achieve even greater things than you ever felt possible. She loves how Girls on the Run helps girls learn life lessons through active experiences, culminating in the girls completing their first 5K – something that provides the girls with a great sense of accomplishment and confidence. Given her experiences watching girls become more confident, self-aware, and physically and emotionally strong during the program, Rebecca has fully bought into the power of the curriculum and loves to share the Girls on the Run message with anyone who will listen.

Rebecca is a marketing and branding professional with a BA from University of Notre Dame and a MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Rebecca is thrilled to bring her business skills, passion for health and fitness, and desire to empower girls in her community to Girls on the Run of Puget Sound.

Ninica (Niki) Howard :

Ninica (Niki) Howard

Ninica Howard, Niki, has served on the Board and the Program Committee since 2011.  Niki is also a volunteer Running Buddy – which she absolutely loves to do!  As an occupational health and safety researcher, Niki has dedicated her career to determine the causes and solutions to occupational injuries.  This requires listening and observing carefully and working with diverse groups of people ranging from fellow researchers, workers, managers, company owners, and health professionals.  She also assesses the effectiveness of occupational safety programs.  Niki feels that her industry experience allows her to make contributions to the GOTR BOD, particularly with the goals of quality and metrics.  With her knowledge and skills, she can assist the organization in ensuring a quality experience to the girls it serves and the volunteers who participate, as well as promoting the mission of the program.

I have volunteered for several organizations over the years but I never felt like it was good fit.  When a girlfriend sent me an email asking for running buddies and coaches and I read about GOTR, I knew I had found the right fit.  GOTR marries two aspects that are extremely important to me, being physically active and helping kids, more specifically girls.  After volunteering as a running buddy for the first time, I knew that I wanted to contribute more to this organization.

I have always been physically active.  And when I was growing up and was going through rough times, sports were my constant.  I’ve developed confidence, self-esteem and a sense of self through physical activity. It has taught me team work, companionship and sharing.  I have met my closest and dearest friends through sports.  I understand the importance that physical activity can have in a girl’s life, one that goes beyond being healthy and fit and I believe that GOTR teaches this. There are so many influences, both good and bad, in a girl’s life and GOTR is a positive one that can have an impact for the rest of their lives.”

Sherry Williams :

Sherry Williams

As Community Affairs Director for Swedish Medical Center, Sherry’s role is to engage organizations that support the community health needs of Seattle and King County. That is how Sherry was introduced to Girls on the Run in 2010. Kerin (GOTR E.D.) and Sherry met to discuss the needs of the girls from the Tukwila and SeaTac school districts and how Swedish can provide access to GOTR programs for more girls. Four years later Sherry became interested in the core values of GOTR at the board level and wanted to contribute to the important work to develop self-confidence and pride in girls. She has participated as a Running Buddy, a member of an early morning event set-up team and a booth sponsor at the spring and winter runs. Sherry has completed two Mercer Island half marathons and still runs and works out at Cappy’s Boxing Gym. Sherry has also recruited many Swedish employees to become Running Buddies!

“Swedish provides sponsorship to a large number of community-based organizations that do good in our community. But when it comes to giving my personal time I am willing to invest in GOTR because they are passionate about giving girls the tools to be successful and to use their hearts, minds and bodies to grow and believe in themselves.”

Sherry has a BS from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a MPA from Seattle University. Sherry is married to Raymond and her daughter is attending Emory University in Atlanta, GA

Marilyn Albizo :

Marilyn Albizo

Growing up in Houston, Texas, Marilyn actively participated in theatre arts and leadership afterschool programs such as Ballet Folklórico and Model United Nations (UN) but never saw any opportunities specifically targeting girls and/or promoting a healthy lifestyle. She never doubted her athletic capabilities but she also never had somebody challenge her physically by trying out a sport. Inspired by her dad’s passion and commitment to softball, she started running as an undergraduate student and took yoga as an elective sparking an interest in the transformative power of mindfulness, and the outdoors.

In 2014, she met Kerin Brasch through Seattle U’s Master of Nonprofit Leadership program and completed her practicum at GOTR by providing program evaluation consultation for their Heart & Sole middle-school age program. Thereafter, Marilyn was recruited to join the Board of Directors due to her wide-ranging background in youth development and concentrated commitment to empowering girls (of color). Intrigued by the curriculum, Marilyn also volunteered to Co-Coach the 2016 Spring Season of Heart & Sole at Washington MS to gain a better understanding of the program and girls’ needs.

Marilyn works as a 7th – 9th Grade Academic Counselor at Rainier Scholars and previously worked for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Houston, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Houston, and interned at the LIVESTRONG Foundation. Marilyn graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor’s degree in History and a minor in Mexican American Studies and received her Master’s in Nonprofit Leadership from Seattle University. Marilyn enjoys taking spontaneous trail hikes, hot yoga (because it reminds her of that Texas heat), running, and playing co-ed soccer with her fiancé.

Irena Netik :

Irena Netik

When Irena was eleven years old, her family emigrated from Czech Republic. They spent time in Austria before eventually settling in Canada. After college she moved to the US. During the many transitions and moves, she faced challenges such as learning a new language and connecting with new friends. Playing sports has always been central to her life and through sports she found community, friends and self-confidence. Sports broke down barriers and created a way to communicate even when she did not speak the language. Irena believes that the Girls on the Run program is perfectly positioned to empower girls and help them discover their passion and talent just like she has found hers through sports.

Irena works for Puget Sound Energy as the director of hydroelectric and wind resources. Her job takes her around Washington State visiting hydro and wind projects. Outside of the office, Irena can be found looking for mid-week adventures with her German Shepherd dog, Bella, and seeking the mountains on the weekends; skiing in the winter and hiking, biking, running in the summer.

Joan Raymond :

Joan Raymond

Joan was introduced to Girls on the Run by friend, neighbor and fellow Board Member, Pam Olsen, in 2015. She attended the 2015 5K run at Magnuson Park, the 2015 Auction, and then participated as Volunteer Coordinator for the 2016 Auction.

These activities provided an opportunity to witness the strength and commitment of those supporting GOTR, and interact with the participants who have demonstrated personal growth and strength through this experience.

“I'm interested in supporting the great efforts of this organization in providing positive encouragement and support for young girls.   I have observed personally with my daughter and her friends, the impacts of such programs in creating self-confidence, ambition, and personal strength for elementary and middle school girls.”

Joan worked at Metro/King County for 30+ years and is now retired. The last 20 years were focused on financial system replacement project management - implementing new computer systems that impacted employee job responsibilities and tasks.  A key component of these implementations was change management and assisting employees/departments in understanding and incorporating new responsibilities and addressing system requirements with confidence.  With her retirement, Joan has been able to pursue community service opportunities including volunteering at a local Food Bank, serving as an Advisory Board member for a gifting Fund managed by the Seattle Foundation, and fundraising efforts for Outdoors For All, an organization that provides recreational opportunities for people with disabilities.

Jake Gustafson :

Jake Gustafson

Jake was first introduced to Girls on the Run in 2015 through his role as the Director of Community Outreach & Partnerships at Virginia Mason. After meeting with GOTR staff, he quickly wanted to experience a practice first hand. Jake spent an afternoon running around (sprinting would be more accurate; those girls are fast!) and seeing the curriculum in action and was hooked.

“Growing up an athlete and competing up through the collegiate level, I had the opportunity to experience the positive physical, emotional and social impacts that running and other sports can provide. I was also able to do so free from barriers to entry. I believe that this should be the case for anyone.

The disparity in accessibility and opportunity that exist in society today based on gender, race, sexuality, and social class are unacceptable. Not having faced any of those barriers myself, I feel it is imperative that individuals like me not only acknowledge they exist, but be moved to action to eliminate them. As the father of a young daughter, I see the power of this program and how it is foundational for these young ladies as the next generation of leaders, influencers, and innovators. I love the vision of GOTR where ‘we envision a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.’

I am both humbled and honored to be a member of this amazing Board for such a fantastic organization.”

Jake has a BS in Business Management from the United States Coast Guard Academy and his MBA from WGU of Washington. Jake is married to his wife, Kalyn, and they have two wonderful kids. He enjoys spending time with his family and getting out to golf when the weather is nice.

Susan :

Susan

Susan first joined Girls on the Run as a coach in 2011, and was blown over by the enthusiasm and potential of every girl on the team. GOTR was clearly a positive, supportive group highly involved in the communities of the Seattle area, and Susan sought opportunities to become more involved in the organization. She soon after joined the Finance Committee, learning more about the strength of GOTR from a fiscal viewpoint, which is equally as impressive as the positive community impact. In this role, she led the budgeting process and improved reporting. Returning from a hiatus after having her second son, Susan was excited to join the board as of February 2017.

“The skills and lessons taught in Girls on the Run are applicable for all stages of life. This program reminds me to continually set goals, make healthy choices to support those goals, and prioritize.” With this mindset Susan has completed four half-marathons, biked Lake Washington several times, and is regularly looking for new ways to challenge herself, both physically and mentally (including joining the GOTR board!)

Susan has a background in hospitality, graduating from Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration before working in the industry for 10 years. Susan most recently works for Starbucks as a National Account Executive. While originally from Vermont, she has lived in Seattle since 2005 and is proud to call Washington home.

 

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