Feb 1, 2011

Posted in Blog

Let’s Hear it for the Board

JTMoore GOTR Coach Julie Hanna Smith and GOTR Board Director Ryan Smith

February 2011

I am SO happy to report that GOTR Nashville has recently been the beneficiary of generous gifts from the Reynolds Family Foundation (thank you Molly and Allen), the Pechter Foundation (thank you Ryan Smith and Richard Pechter), a $1,000 Scholarship grant from the Womens Fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee (thank you Virginia Fontenella), the continued support of the Nashville Striders (thank you Diana Bibeau and Peter Pressman), and (drum roll, please) , from the Ansley Fund of the Frist Foundation, our largest grant to date, to fund our first office — at the YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee — for one year!

The office is a dream come true. YWCA President & CEO Pat Shea gave us an amazing space at a reduced “partner” rate. It feels like we are home, like we have found our place in the Nashville community of women (and girls), and the non profit organizations who serve them. Frist Foundation President Peter Bird, Jr. said the grant was awarded based on the strength of the GOTR Board of Directors. He said with leadership like ours, he knew the organization would succeed.

So I’d like to shout them out! Starting with our fearless leader, Board Chair/Tennessean reporter Jessica Bliss, who works tirelessly and often functions as an unpaid employee: not only does she direct the Board of Directors, she elevates all aspects of programs—from coaches trainings to newsletters, www.gotrnashville to Twitter. Nothing goes out in writing without her having improved it with her talented imprint. Jessica Bliss ROCKS!

Jessica and I can’t believe our luck that fellow founding Board member Vanderbilt University Head Coach Steve Keith remains with us, such a strong supporter. GOTR Founder Molly Barker says “Trust in the Process”. Over time, our mission has drawn the expertise of Original Running Buddy/Vanderbilt Sports Medicine Dr. Rachel Biber Brewer, BOD Treasurer Susan Keffer, Secretary Diane Crosier, Development Chair Kim Carpenter Drake (mom of Girl on the Run Harris), Smithson Craighead Academy Principal Janelle Glover, lawyer and runner extraordinaire Trey Harwell, Volunteer Committee Chair Jennifer Schott, and Dollar General Senior Director, Process Improvement Ryan Smith. We have been most expertly and lovingly guided by the wisest woman in non profits, Strategic Planning/Board Recruitment Chair/Senior Olympic triathlete Janet Jernigan, Executive Director of Fifty Forward; Janet brought on board professionals from SunTrust Bank (Mandy Gallagher), Caterpillar Finance (Kim Mayes) and Cracker Barrel (Kendra Chinda), who have not only been active on committees but also in program participation.

Development Chair Kim Carpenter Drake and GOTR daughter Harris

GOTR Nashville is so fortunate to have found such outstanding leaders, committed to controlled consistant growth of programs, effective partnerships, volunteer involvement, and financial sustainability. Under their guidance, we are well poised to fulfill our mission to inspire, educate and prepare girls for a lifetime of self-respect, positive relationships, and healthy active living, and to pass that mission from one generation to the next.

The walls outside our new office are lined with photos of past YWCA board members, a veritable Who’s Who of local women leaders. Right across from our door is 1960 Olympic medal winner Wilma Rudolph. We think she’s watching over us.

And it’s so good to be among friends.


Jennifer Kimball, Girls on the Run Nashville Council Director, was reading Runner’s World one day when she saw a photo of Girls on the Run founder Molly Barker surrounded by a sea of young girls, all jumping in the air with huge grins on their faces and thought to herself, “I want to do that.” And, with the help of many other interested women (and a few good men), she did. In the fall of 2007 Girls on the Run Nashville began with 15 girls at Percy Priest Elementary and now Jennifer is the one surrounded by hundreds of young girls’ happy faces. Jennifer always has a smile for the girls who she says both surprise, inspire her and make her laugh. Her passion, energy, care, determination and love for the girls and the program is truly contagious.