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Esther Baker, Executive Director, is a graduate of Michigan State University with a master’s degree in Communication from MSU and an MBA from the Tippie School of Management at the University of Iowa. Originally from Detroit, MI, Esther started her career in radio news, and then worked for a number of years in communication, public relations, and program management at Michigan State University, Cornell University, and the University of Iowa. She is delighted to join the Girls on the Run team!
Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, Abbie has a background in leadership development, curriculum design and facilitation and nonprofit management. Abbie holds a master’s degree in education and human development from the George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in English and women’s studies from Elon University. She loves helping young people discover and grow their talents and is proud to be a member of the Girls on The Run Team.
Noreen Thurston lives in Cedar Rapids where she raises her two active young boys. Noreen graduated from the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business with a BA in Marketing. After achieving success in her marketing careers, she left the corporate world after 15 years to pursue her dream of launching her own business, BinxBerry. Noreen coached GOTR for two seasons at Hiawatha Elementary before officially joining the team. She is thrilled to be part of the amazing work that the organization is doing to help young girls gain confidence in their lives. Noreen enjoys cooking, running, watching her boys’ activities and spending time with family!
Kelly Teeselink grew up in northern Iowa and studied journalism and political science at the University of Iowa, where she now works as marketing coordinator for Recreational Services department. She first learned about Girls on the Run when she spotted a few people in brightly colored GOTR t-shirts at a local 5k and quickly became a volunteer coach. “Girls on the Run allows me to share the importance of being active with a generation of girls who are constantly bombarded with negative messages. I am thrilled to be apart of an organization that provides young girls the tools to live a confident and healthy lifestyle – something I wish I had at that age,” she says.
Dan Vondra is a practicing attorney in Iowa City, and the proud father of two active girls. Dan enjoys running, scuba diving, and combining those activities on family vacations -- so if he is away from the office, a good place to look for him would be running on trails in the woods, or at the bottom of an ocean. Dan grew up in Decorah, IA, and attended law school at the University of Iowa. Dan is excited to be part of the GOTR team so that he can help spread the program's positive mission in Eastern Iowa.
Chelsea Archibald lives in Hiawatha with her husband, Rob and two girls, Alexis and Amelia. Chelsea is from the Cedar Rapids area and a graduate of the University of Iowa – Go Hawks!! Chelsea is an HR Manager at Transamerica and has been at Transamerica since 2005. She loves the mission of Girls on the Run and is excited to get involved in growing the Linn County presence. Chelsea enjoys spending time with her family and friends, getting outside, being active in the community and is awaiting the arrival of their third child.
Kelly Wells Sittig is a mom to two outrageously beautiful souls, including a daughter who has benefited from the positive messages and influence of Girls on the Run. Kelly spends her work time at the Iowa Cancer Consortium communicating with Iowa citizens, professionals and cancer advocates about how we can all work together to make cancer less of a burden on our state. Kelly has degrees in public administration and music from the University of Northern Iowa and is a Certified Communicator in Public Health. Running, wellness and girl power are central in Kelly's life and why she finds the Girls on the Run mission so compelling.
Nick Bergus loves running, and, as the parent of a young Girls on the Run runner, fell in love the program's message and mission. He grew up in Iowa City and, after earning his master's from the University of Iowa, now serves as communications director for the City of North Liberty, where he works with the community, media, staff, and elected officials to promote projects and programs and help the community connect with its local government. It's taken a quarter century, and marriage to an Iowa City native, but his conversion to Midwesterner is complete; he's accepted that walking tacos are pretty delicious.
Rebecca O’Rourke attended Iowa State University for undergraduate studies where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and a Minor in Hotel, Restaurant, and Institute Management. Rebecca then made the switch from a Cyclone to Hawkeye, earning a Master of Health Administration and Master of Public Health from the University of Iowa. After completing an administrative fellowship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinic (UIHC), Rebecca has held several leadership positions throughout the organization. She is currently Assistant Hospital Director for Clinical Services at UIHC. Rebecca grew up in Sigourney, Iowa. She is the fun, crazy aunt to seven nephews and nieces. Rebecca is often found on the beaches of Florida or enjoying the lights of a big city. She enjoys traveling, running, biking (she’s a RAGBRAI enthusiast), yoga, and golf. Rebecca is excited to be a part of the GOTR team, inspiring girls throughout Eastern Iowa.
A Winterset, IA native, Abby Stamp played basketball at the University of Iowa, where she also currently works as the Director of Player Development for the Women’s program. She is on track to earn an MBA degree from the U of I in December (2017). Abby and her husband, Quinn, reside in Iowa City and enjoy an active lifestyle. Abby is a runner, cyclist (a RAGBRAI regular), hiker, and a genuine lover of nature. She has a heart for seeing people become the best version of themselves, and she believes strongly in the mission of GOTR. Abby has also never met a cinnamon roll she doesn’t like.
Melissa Payne graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Psychology. She lives in Iowa City with her husband, Mick, and has worked at MidWestOne Bank since 2004. Melissa enjoys spending time with her family, taking her puppy, Wally, on walks, reading, traveling, and going to concerts. She is excited to be part of the GOTR team and help spread GOTR’s message of empowerment!