Staff

Ellen Carver
Executive Director
- ellen@gotrshr.org

Ellen holds a MA in Education Administration and Social Policy from Harvard University, a BA in French and Business from Sweet Briar College, and numerous certifications in youth leadership, team building, and school reform. She has worked with students for 32 years. Her scope of professional interests ranges from non-profit organizational advancement to youth empowerment. Of the many professional hats she has worn, her most inspirational experiences have been in leading students on domestic and international service-based learning projects. Ellen has co-authored a youth leadership curriculum for at risk high school students and served on multiple non-profit boards. She is committed to work and play that promotes access to education, healthcare, nutrition and housing for all peoples, and is humbled by the power of young girls who are voices for social change. You can reach Ellen at ellen@gotrshr.org

Meg Forsberg
Director of Marketing & Communications
- meg@gotrshr.org

Meg earned a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications with a special emphasis in Public Relations from Virginia Commonwealth University. Throughout college, she worked for a division of Landmark Communications. After an internship at The Martin Agency she joined Virginia Logos, Inc. as Sales Manager. She spent a few years at World Investor Link before moving to Norfolk in 2000. Dominion Enterprises is where Meg landed for 4 years working in several divisions. Later, Meg spent 10 years at Chartway Federal Credit Union's corporate office as a Marketing Manager and later as Director of Business Development. She is thrilled to be on staff with GOTRSHR, where her communications expertise is benefitting a terrific non-profit. Meg and her husband, Clay, enjoy spending time with their two dogs, hearing live music, plus going to the beach with friends and family. Meg can be reached at meg@gotrshr.org.

Lauren Logan
Program Director for Virginia Beach and 5K Director
- lauren@gotrshr.org

A true local, Lauren grew up in Virginia Beach. She is an alumna of Mary Baldwin College, a women's college, where she earned a BA in Business Administration. In college, she was the captain of the Swim and Lacrosse teams. Upon graduating, Lauren began her career as a consultant with various companies, including IBM. Longing to be involved in the sports world, she returned to school earning a Master’s in Sports Administration from Old Dominion University. Currently, Lauren coaches girl’s lacrosse, is an avid runner, and participates in several local races. She was so impressed with the power of GOTR when her identical twin daughters participated in the 2014 season that she now coordinates all the Virginia Beach teams and is our 5K Director. Giving girls the tools needed to be healthy, strong, independent women is her top priority. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time relaxing on the beach with her family and friends. Lauren can be reached at lauren@gotrsh.org

Erin Highton
Program Director for Suffolk, Portsmouth & Chesapeake and So
- erin@gotrshr.org

Erin Highton manages the Growth Cities for our GOTR council. She raised in Virginia Beach and attended Mary Washington College where she earned a B.A. in studio art. While in college, she achieved All-American field hockey honors. She went on to earn a PreK-8 teaching certification from Old Dominion University. Erin taught third and fourth grade at Providence Elementary and was awarded Teacher of the Year. She started a Girls on the Run team at Providence, after witnessing her daughter, Olivia, grow in confidence from participating in GOTR. Fall of 2017 will be her 7th year coaching, and she will be a 3rd time SoleMate. When Erin is not participating with Girls on the Run she is spending time with her husband, Will and their children. Erin serves Suffolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake and Western Tidewater. Erin can be reached at erin@gotrshr.org

Liz Neely
Program Director, Norfolk & Peninsula
- liz@gotrshr.org

Liz Neely earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from University of Alabama in Birmingham, Alabama. While teaching third and fourth grade at Adamsville Elementary School, Liz attended the University of Montevallo and earned a Master’s Degree in Education with a concentration in School Counseling. Liz has worked as a school counselor in the Jefferson County School System in Alabama for the past 10 years. She recently relocated to the Hampton Roads area. Her passion for encouraging and motivating young people to realize their full potential led her to Girls on the Run. She is excited to join the Girls on the Run Hampton Roads Council. In her free time, Liz enjoys spending time with her husband, exploring the Hampton Roads area, and running.

Board of Directors

Theresa Ceniccola
Board Chair

Theresa learned about Girls on the Run in 2010 when she started coaching her daughter’s team. After three years, her daughter moved on to middle school and Theresa just couldn’t let go of GOTR. So she joined the board where she gets to spread sparkle and joy as the social media manager. Theresa has successfully run a home based business as a freelance writer, communications professional and marketing consultant for more than 20 years. She considers herself blessed to make a living doing what she loves while putting family first. As the president and founder of the International Christian Mompreneur Network, she encourages and equips entrepreneurial moms to build profitable businesses that support their values. She is also a volunteer with the Girl Scout Council of Colonial Coast and St. John the Apostle Church. She enjoys running, biking, writing in her journal or eating sushi.

Kimberly Denton
Board Vice Chair

Kimberly became involved with GOTR in 2013 when she volunteered to coach her daughters’ team. She and her daughters had such a great time forging new friendships, she continued to coach for three more seasons! As a Realtor® with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Towne Realty, Kimberly led the company’s annual charity event to benefit GOTR for two years. She is passionate about watching the program grow as it helps young girls build self-esteem and strength, while creating lifelong memories. She has seen firsthand how GOTR empowers its participants! Kimberly graduated from Virginia Tech with a BS in Hospitality and Tourism Management. When she’s not making realty dreams a reality, you can find her enjoying life and laughing with family and friends!

Emily Robbins
Treasurer

Emily became interested in GOTR while pregnant with her daughter. The positive message and essential programming was important to her as she thought about what it takes to raise a daughter. Emily received a Bachelor's of Arts from James Madison University in 2002. She has been in the banking and finance industry for over 10 years. She earned her Professional Financial Planner Certificate from Old Dominion University in 2007. She currently holds a Series 7 and 66 registration as well as personal insurance licenses for life, health, long term care and disability insurance. Emily is an Account Vice President with Virginia Asset Group, where she is intent on helping clients achieve their financial goals. She is an active board member of the Southeast Virginia Community Foundation and Norfolk Court Appointed Special Advocates. Emily lives in Chesapeake with her husband, Michael and their two children, William and Lily.

Edmarie Leatherman
Secretary

Edmarie lived her early years in Puerto Rico and moved to Norfolk for grade school. She ran her first race in 2013 and it quickly became a love affair, crossing the finish line of countless races including 9 half marathons. Edmarie received her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Old Dominion University, but chose to enter the financial industry in 2008. Recently, Edmarie decided to pursue a second Bachelor degree at ODU’s Strome College of Business. In 2015 Edmarie left a management position at Wells Fargo for a new career with Capital Group. At Capital, Edmarie has competed and won Speech Contests through Toastmasters and joined the Board of Girls on the Run. She has a passion for female empowerment. Being the mother to two young girls, the message of confidence and positivity is a constant theme in her household, and GOTR personifies that perfectly. Edmarie spends her free time supporting her husband, Brent, as a law enforcement wife and running races with her daughters Avery and Charlie.

Dwanda Palmore
Board Member

Dwanda became involved with Girls on the Run in 2017 when her husband, Robert, read an article about their efforts on Tidewater Striders’ private Facebook group page. Dwanda vaguely heard about the group previously, but her interest wasn’t sparked until after learning what GOTR was truly about. Shortly thereafter, she joined the board and assumed the lively and vivacious duties as the volunteer coordinator. Dwanda is a Navy veteran and now a civil servant with Department of Homeland Security, where she’s an intelligence analyst with the Coast Guard. As a fibromyalgia fighter, Dwanda is very passionate about mentoring and encouraging our young girls to have control of their bodies and lives as she believes physical activity along with healthy eating, naturally assists with combating most of today’s chronic ailments. Dwanda is also a volunteer with the U.S.O. Hampton Roads – Central Virginia as well as a board member of Sickle Cell Association of Hampton Roads. She enjoys training for and completing triathlons, roller-skating, dancing, karaoke and hanging with her friends and family.

Paula Rogers
Board Member

An entrepreneur at heart, Paula is passionate about diversity, empowerment and social inclusion. She was introduced to GOTR in March of 2017 and decided to bring her professional expertise to help inspire young girls to be confident and to maintain a positive and healthy self-image. As the founder of a professional management and consulting firm, Paula uses her expertise in strategic planning and business development to serve the community and to provide an outlet for her daughters to experience positive social interactions. Paula is a two-time graduate of Old Dominion University, holding a Master’s in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Paula lives in Virginia Beach with her husband and two girls (8 and 13). She is also obsessed with couponing (YES, it’s a real thing!) and will probably recruit you to start saving money as well.

Amy Walton
Board Member

As a former runner, (now a committed power walker, weight lifter, and yogi), Amy became interested in GOTR's approach to healthy living. A magna cum laude graduate of University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Amy has been an educator, writer, speaker, and non profit director of development. She has served as president of several local organizations, including Virginia Beach Toastmasters, Great Neck Middle School PTA, and South Hampton Roads Museums Forum and as Vice-Chair of others, such as Virginia Beach Mayor's Committee for Persons with Disabilities. A certified life coach, Amy pours her passions into her own practice, Amy Walton Coaching. She works with women to help them become the best versions of themselves they can possibly be. She is excited to be a part of GOTR to help girls make healthy choices a lifelong commitment. Amy is proud mom and grandmother of two sons and three beautiful granddaughters. She enjoys working out, exploring new places, reading and writing, and hearing people's life stories.

Hobie Ritzel
Board Member

Hobie Ritzel is Director of Marketing for Cox Communications and has worked there for 13 years. He has a B.B.A. in Marketing from Radford University and an M.B.A. from Georgia Southern University. Hobie is an avid runner, having started this hobby with the Mount Trashmore 5K in 1996 and going up to longer races as his abilities and confidence grew. After a 10 mile race in the 1999, he promised he would never run that far again. The next day he decided to training for a half marathon, because “it’s just a little bit further”. Since that fateful day he has run more than 30 half marathons and three marathons. He is the President of the Witchduck Civic League, and serves on the Advisory Council for the Radford University College of Business & Economics. He is also a Running Ambassador for J&A Racing and a 2015 graduate of LEAD Hampton Roads. Hobie has four grown daughters and believes that developing one’s self esteem and healthy habits early in life are important for a happy and successful life. He has two dogs who think his food preparation skills are beyond reproach and a cat that is indifferent to his commands.

Janet Mercadante
Board Member

Janet has been a financial advisor for over 25 years. She is a Senior Vice President with BB&T Scott & Stringfellow. She grew up in New Jersey, graduated from the University of Rochester, and has lived in Virginia Beach for close to 30 years. Janet has always been a believer in girl power! Her mom was a well-respected financial journalist and author, and her dad used to tell her, "don't marry a brain surgeon, BE a brain surgeon!" Janet thinks that the Girls on the Run vision is a critical one, especially in our current culture, and is gratified to be able to be a part of such a phenomenal organization!

Radlyn Mendoza
Board Member

Radlyn has been an Immigration Attorney for over 17 years, with most of those years at Gardner & Mendoza, a law firm she co-founded in 2000. Prior to this she worked at Kaufman & Canoles, P.C. She enjoys helping a people get Lawful Permanent Residency through employment or family immigration or watching one of her clients get sworn in after she’s assisted them in the process to become a U.S. Citizen. Her specialties include investor visas, deportation and consequences of criminal convictions on immigration status. Radlyn graduated from the Seton Hall University School of Law and the college of Business and Public Administration at Old Dominion University.

Caitlin Stojanovich
Board Member

Caitlin graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and General Business Administration. She is currently the Director of Strategic Initiatives and Communications at ADS, Inc. where she has worked since 2011. An experienced strategic development professional with a track record of success in the creation and implementation of business plans and corporate initiatives. Caitlin has served on the branding committee for THRIVE, the young professionals of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce as well as the Community Impact Development Committee for the Junior League of Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

EMERITUS BOARD MEMBERS

Mary McChesney
Emeritus Board Member

Mary found GOTR and coached her daughter's Middle School team. She grew up on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and moved to Virginia Beach in the late 90's. She ran her first 5k at 8 years old, was a North Carolina state-level cross country competitor in High School, and has completed many races over the last 30 years including 3 half marathons. Mary attended Old Dominion University for Journalism and Communications. She is currently with The Virginian-Pilot in marketing and audience development. Prior to that Mary was a corporate trainer and manager in the hotel and hospitality business. Mary has served on the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce Board, The Downtown 100, The United Way Young Leaders Society Council (past chair) and has been a member of many other non-profit committees and volunteer groups throughout Hampton Roads. In addition to her work with Girls on The Run she currently sits on the board of directors for the Women's Leadership Council of the United Way. When not working or volunteering

Jo Ann Coauette
Emeritus Board Member

Jo Ann started coaching GOTR at Holland Elementary School in 2009. Due to the positive impact it had on many girls, as well as herself, Jo Ann joined the Board of Directors. She has been with Virginia Beach City Public Schools for 16 years. Her passion is nurturing children into being successful academically, as well as instilling a sense of pride and self-confidence from within. A transplant from New York, she lives with her husband in Virginia Beach. She has two daughters, three granchildren, and two step-children. Jo Ann is looking forward to running a GOTR 5K with her granddaughter in the years ahead.

Jen Edwards
Emeritus Board Member

Jen Edwards serves as the Vice President of Human Resources for ADS Inc, the world’s largest provider of tactical & operations equipment and solutions to the US DOD. Prior to ADS, Jen has overseen HR in the telecom, internet, and fashion industries. She started her career in HR on Wall Street. As a mother of a GOTR girl, Jen is extremely proud to be a part of the Board and help grow the program to reach more girls here in Hampton Roads. She believes that fitness breeds confidence and confidence creates long term success. In addition to working with GOTR, Jen is active in thr Hampton Roads community through the ADS Mission Give Back program. She is a graduate of the University of Florida. Go Gators!

Mandy McCall
Emeritus Board Member

Mandy is a graduate of Raymond A. Mason School of Business at William & Mary. Afterwards, she earned a Masters from the Strome College of Business at Old Dominion University. She currently serves as the Senior Business Leader of StarChase, LLC. where she focuses on corporate growth, leading all communications and marketing efforts. Before joining the team at StarChase, Mandy was the Manager of International Business Development at Operation Smile for four years. With a deep knowledge of budgeting and forecast modeling combined with the capability to manage daily financial functions, she’s been a valuable asset to the GOTR board.