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Transition Announcement

Letter from GOTREI's Board of Directors

As the Board of Directors of Girls on the Run Eastern Iowa, we value your participation, enthusiasm and support, and would like to keep you informed of some important changes within our organization.

Abbie Reuter, our executive director, is leaving her position at the end of the Spring season. As an organization, we would not be where we are today without Abbie’s brilliant and visionary leadership. During her seven year tenure,  Abbie has served as staff, volunteer, board member, and then Executive Director the past three years. With her passion and personal mission of creating spaces where people, especially girls and women, feel an intrinsic right to belong and see value in what they offer the world she has led this special organization, dedicated to keeping programs like ours available to the girls in our community. She will always be a treasured member of our GOTR community, and we wish her the very best in her next chapter. Her last day will be May 15, 2024, and don’t worry she will be at the 5K supporting our council! 

We’re excited to announce that we have named Heather Young as the new executive director of Girls on the Run Eastern Iowa, effective May 1, 2024. As our Program Director since December 2023, Heather has taken initiative to form partnerships and collaborations with potential coaches, organizations, and community members. Heather has a strong passion for Girls on the Run and her personal philosophy is to honor everyone. Her background in education will serve GOTR well in this new capacity. We’re delighted she has accepted this position and look forward to the many opportunities ahead.


Below, you’ll find a few words from both Abbie and Heather about this transition. We hope you’ll join us in thanking Abbie for her outstanding legacy of leadership (and leave her a special note on well wishes kudoboard) and in welcoming Heather to this new role. And of course, amidst these exciting changes, we invite you to consider how you might deepen your involvement in GOTR’s important work in the years ahead. 


With gratitude,

Girls on the Run Eastern Iowa Board of Directors

Ashley Lang, Chair

Evelyn Kinne, Vice Chair

Lydia Sax, Secretary/Treasurer

 Amanda Lensing, Jamie Klingman, Valarie Davidson


From Abbie Reuter, departing Executive Director:

Dear GOTREI Community,

When I accepted the role of Executive Director in February 2021, I was the mom of a 2.5 year old and 5 month old, and we were in the earliest days of COVID recovery and working to figure out what the new “normal” might be (both at home and at GOTR). It’s been a wild ride.

Even when it was on virtual or physically distanced teams, we have worked so hard together to make sure that Girls on the Run was here for girls to find joy in their connection and better understand their power and agency. And we’ve been successful! Over 10,000 girls have learned how to use their voices, stand up for themselves and others, and know that they are capable of leading in their own communities. It has been an honor to work with all of you who believe in the power of girls, to make sure that even throughout a pretty difficult time in our collective experience, Girls on the Run was here for them. 

Girls on the Run has seen a lot of changes in the last year. In addition to the learnings of the pandemic, the educational landscape in our state has experienced a lot of change which we’ve seen impact the implementation of Girls on the Run. The need and desire for programs like ours is incredibly high, but the impact of legislation is creating very real barriers for many of our partners, ultimately reducing access to participants we’ve typically served. Learning how to evolve our relationships with school districts, educators and community agencies will be a critical part of our path forward to ensure that every girl who wants to participate in GOTR has that opportunity. And a new path forward calls for new leadership. While leaving an organization I love and believe in so strongly will be hard, knowing that I am passing the baton to Heather Young makes it so much easier

Heather is an educator, a relationship builder and an advocate. She will be an outstanding executive director for this next phase as our council works to deepen partnerships and continues to ensure we are offering high-quality program and volunteer experiences. In our short time working together I have been impressed with her resourcefulness, her ability to foster relationships, can-do attitude, and the depth of her commitment to the youth in our community. Her leadership is exactly what we need as we work to grow our organization in the areas where we can be most impactful.

I’m excited about what is next for GOTREI with Heather at the helm and optimistic about my own next steps. I am looking forward to a period of real rest while exploring my next professional role. And, for the first time ever, I will actually get to experience the 5K this spring!

I could not be more proud of the work we have done to ensure Girls on the Run is here to impact girls across eastern Iowa for years to come. I’d personally like to thank you for your support over the last three years.

With Gratitude,


From Heather Young, incoming Executive Director:

I want to start by saying how much I appreciate Abbie sharing all of her GOTR expertise over the last several months. She is an invaluable resource for GOTREI. Her passion for Girls on the Run is readily apparent. I know that we will have a continued relationship with Abbie for many years to come.

I am excited for the new opportunity within Girls on the Run as the Executive Director. Thank you to the board for this amazing opportunity. I have been working with Girls on the Run as the Program Director and was a coach for the program as a community member. I have learned so much regarding the internal workings of GOTR. I have been an educator in the corridor for the last 20 years in a variety of capacities. My draw to Girls on the Run as a former Teacher is the Social Emotional Learning embedded in the curriculum. Girls learn how to manage situations, grow their confidence and find their voice. Developing these self regulation skills carries over into the classroom reducing the amount of time spent on behavior management. Girls on the Run is a great wrap around service. I am excited to partner with schools and community sites to build the leaders of tomorrow. 

I am anxious to facilitate continued growth and enthusiasm for Girls on the Run in eastern Iowa. I will continue to uphold our council with integrity and nurture the relationships with our stakeholders. Girls on the Run has the potential to help the girls in our community find their voices and confidence to make contributions and change in the communities and the world around them. I look forward to working with the board and community to continue our work towards deepening our impact and involvement in eastern Iowa. Thank you for believing in the GOTR mission, the community, and me! Together we can make a difference!

With Gratitude,

Heather Young



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We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. Non-profit girl empowerment after-school program for girls.

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