Well, today is my last day of my internship with Girls on the Run of the Triangle. This week has been full of farewell lunches and final meetings, but yesterday I still managed to squeeze in a day trip to Charlotte to visit Girls on the Run International (GOTR-I)! As I’ve mentioned, I work for Girls on the Run of the Triangle – an independent council under the larger umbrella organization of GOTR-I. Girls on the Run has a federated structure, which is essentially a franchise model for nonprofits. GOTR-I headquarters employs 30 staff in a wide variety of areas – operations, engagement, finance and human resources, programming and evaluation, council development, and mission advancement – which are all intended to support and advance Girls on the Run councils across the country.

All of the light gray sections are areas served by a Girls on the Run council.

Mandy Murphy, the Founder and past Executive Director of Girls on the Run of the Triangle and the current Vice President of Training and Development at GOTR-I, works remotely out of the GOTR Triangle office here in Durham. When she discovered that I was interested in visiting headquarters, she was kind enough to hand-pick several staff members for me to talk to during my visit. Throughout the day, I was treated to a fun office tour by Deb Szeman, Events Manager. I then had informational interviews with four wonderful women who bring their talents to Girls on the Run each day.

I started out with a discussion with Theresa Miller, Chief Engagement Officer. Theresa and I had an instant connection because she is the senior employee who works with Girls on the Run’s national partners – including Gamma Phi Beta Sorority, which is my affiliated Greek organization and past employer. Theresa primarily oversees the fundraising and communications departments, and our conversation focused on the growth of Girls on the Run. I really appreciated hearing about how she works to develop high-level strategy and engage various stakeholders.

Next up was Kathryn Thompson, Chief Operating Officer. Kathryn and I talked quite a bit about what it’s like to work for a collaborative organization. We also had a lengthy conversation about the skills that are useful for going into the nonprofit sector – evaluation, communication, fundraising, and networking – and it was reaffirming to note that I am gaining all of these skills through the Carolina MPA program!

Then I moved on to Sequoya Mungo, Director of Access and Inclusion. We had the opportunity to talk about my access and inclusion project, and it was fantastic for Sequoya to also share with me the next steps for the GOTR-I Access and Inclusion Initiative. Really exciting things are coming, I can tell you that! Sequoya finished out with a great piece of advice – to be successful in the nonprofit sector, you need to work with communities and not for them.

Lastly, I spoke with Christina Traband, Development Manager. My meeting with Christina was a “walk and talk,” which is something we also do frequently at Girls on the Run of the Triangle! Christina has been with GOTR-I for about 5 years, so she had a great perspective on the organization as a whole. Christina was so incredibly passionate about the mission of Girls on the Run, and I could tell why working at headquarters is such a great fit for her.

Oh yes, Girls on the Run really is so much fun!

Today reminded me of the Girls on the Run value to “lead with an open heart and assume positive intent.” Each of the incredible women I met with today brings something unique to the table, but they all have something in common – the desire to make change in the community by leading with integrity and passion. I hope, one day, to embody that leadership style as well.

Although it’s bittersweet to be ending my internship, I’m very much looking forward to beginning the next phase of my MPA and professional journey! Thanks for sharing this part of my experience with me.

The opinions expressed here are solely my opinions. Content published here is not read or approved by Girls on the Run® International and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Girls on the Run® International.

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