Alicia Henderson, Executive Director

Alicia is quite possibly the world’s only true native of Miami, Florida, but has called Austin home since 2006. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University, where she majored in finance. After a three-year career as a stock broker, Alicia turned her eyes to the nonprofit world and has never looked back. She has over 12 years of experience in working with nonprofits in Miami, San Francisco, and Austin. Of those wonderful cities, she and her family are most happy to call Austin home. In her spare time, Alicia can be found engaging in one of Austin’s many outdoor activities with her husband and two children, or cuddled up with a good book and her cat, Minx.

An admitted exercise addict, Alicia turned to running as a default when her oldest child was born. She found that a long run not only soothed a colicky baby, but a sleep-deprived mother as well. In the past ten years, Alicia’s love for running has grown and has lead her to compete in several races, including the Austin Half Marathon.

Alicia has many role models, and is blessed to have friends and family members who each inspire her in different ways. Her motto is “do one thing each day that scares you,” in an effort to live outside of her comfort zone. She loves serving as Executive Director of Girls on the Run Austin, as its mission embodies her greatest hopes for her 12-year-old daughter. She is excited at the prospect of growing a program where girls can embrace their unique talents, support one another, and learn what they are truly capable of achieving!

Kristi “KB” Schatz, Board Chair and SoleMates Coordinator

KB grew up in St. Paul, MN and has lived in Austin since 2006. She attended Gustavus Adolphus College where she studied Speech Communications and Marketing. KB currently collaborates with architects and interior designers on behalf of Armstrong, a design and manufacturing company. KB was drawn to Austin by the eclectic and worldly culture, and immediately fell in love with Austin’s unique vibe. She and her husband love to try new recipes at home, take trips to see new places and spend time with their twin daughters and their chocolate lab, Chuma.

KB was not a runner in her youth, but she ran the Turkey Trot 5K in 1999 and has never looked back. Since then, she has run races all over the world. In addition to running marathons in Chicago, Boston and Berlin, she has also done dozens of triathlons. KB shakes her pre-race jitters by reminding herself to trust in her training and to enjoy every moment.

KB was a coach for Girls On The Run in Chicago for 5 years and in Austin for 2 years! She worked with an incredible group of women to create the GOTR Austin council in 2007 and has served on the Board of Directors since 2009. KB is currently the Board Chair and SoleMates Coordinator. She says the program is in her blood- she can’t imagine her life without Girls On The Run! She loves how GOTR has a positive impact on everyone who experiences the mission. KB believes the program shows girls how to be a better “them” by exposing them to powerful messages, great role models and a map of good choices. She hopes that every girl who is involved with GOTR will be empowered by their own capabilities.

KB’s role model is her mother, who has shown her such strength, independence, love, loyalty, commitment and selflessness. KB is also inspired by her running friends, the Rogue running community, and anyone who challenges themselves physically and mentally.

Melisa Leal, Board Member

Mel grew up in a small town called McAllen in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. After she studied business and public administration at Trinity University and the University of Kansas, she moved to Austin in 2003 to study law at UT. Mel currently works as an attorney for Metcalfe Wolff Stewart and Williams. In her spare time, Mel likes to explore new places, watch sports and go to live music shows. She’s a big fan of all that Austin has to offer, including the accessibility and central nature of the downtown trail.

Mel was on school and summer track teams when she was young. She feels she has become a stronger person, mentally and physically, because of running. As an adult, Mel has run a couple of marathons and half marathons, but her favorite thing about running life in Austin are the friends and relationships she has built. She prepares for a race by focusing on hydration and getting excited for all the run to be had at the event. Mel often thinks of a saying endorsed by New Balance, “The only thing harder than running is not running.” Her German Shepherd, Oso, agrees!

Mel has served as Legal Advisor and Record Keeper on the Board of Directors since 2012. She also sits on the 5K/Fundraising Event Committee. She loves to see the proud and smiling faces on girls when they cross the finish line of their first 5K. Mel feels Girls on the Run gives young runners a lesson in self confidence, independence and accomplishment; Mel knows you can use running to guide a girl to believe in the power or herself. Mel hopes every GOTR girl in Austin finds joy in running and in life.

Mel has a lot of role models, all very strong women who are close to her, including her mother, sister and best friends. Mel is inspired by women who epitomize what it is to be a strong, independent, fun-loving woman; ladies who are familiar with working hard, being positive, smiling through tears, and gong the extra mile even when they are not really required to do so. Mel considers Ann Richards to be one of her leadership heroines, with fearless intelligence, strength and humor.

Carrie Rupprath, Board Member

Carrie grew up in Houston, TX, but has lived in Austin for about 20 years.  She came to Austin to attend the University of Texas and graduated with a BBA degree in Finance in 2000.  She later attended UT for Law School as well and graduated with a JD in 2005.  Carrie is a Shareholder at Winstead PC and practices regulatory law in the insurance and environmental industries.  She and her husband love living in Austin and enjoy everything this city has to offer (except the traffic!).  You will often find them, along with their daughter and dog, out on Lady Bird Lake or hiking along the Greenbelt.  An avid sports fan, Carrie is also often out supporting her beloved Longhorns!

Carrie is not an avid runner, but she loves fitness and finding new ways to stay healthy.  She loves Girls on the Run because of the impact it has on the young girls.  The joy and confidence in their faces when the complete the season-ending 5K speaks volumes for what this program gives to the girls.  After having a daughter of her own, Carrie wanted to participate in an organization that helps girls feel great about themselves and have the self-confidence and fortitude to know they can overcome any challenge.

Dawn Piscitelli, Board Member

Dawn is originally from Florida and lived all over the United States before calling Austin her home in 2014.  She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and her MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA.  She currently heads up Marketing and Business Development at My Fit Foods, a local Austin company.  She spends her free time running, reading and wrangling her two young boys.

Dawn ran her first marathon in 1996 and became hooked on the way running relieves stress, opens the mind and enables her to start her day off right.  She loves running around Lady Bird Lake, has participated in local half marathons and has even raced in a few nearby triathlons.  Her husband shares her love for running and she hopes her boys will, too.

Inspired by the impact that running has had on her life; Dawn was excited to join the board of Girls on the Run.  She hopes to share her love of running with other young girls so they can build positive self-esteem and be exposed to supportive role models.

Nina Buoy Golder, Board Member

Nina grew up in Houston, TX and has lived in Austin since 2011. She came here to attend the University of Texas for her undergraduate studies in Chemical Engineering from 1999-2003. She later earned an MBA from Drexel University in Philadelphia and now she is a Business Development Leader with Emerson Process Management. Nina and her husband have two beautiful daughters and a rescue dog named Otis. In her free time, Nina enjoys spending time with her family, reading books, and trying one of Austin’s many delicious restaurants.

Though she is predominantly a soccer and Ultimate Frisbee player, Nina ran her first official races after college in an effort to make new friends and stay fit. She’s not your typical runner- she does it to be social and because she likes to stay in shape.

Nina has served as the Board Liaison since 2013. She is responsible for developing the Board strategy and for communicating between Girls On The Run International and the Austin Board Chair. Nina was inspired to become a coach at the JCC site after she witnessed how the GOTR Austin program changed her cousin’s life and empowered her to become the self-confident, motivated and inclusive person she is today. Nina loves that GOTR inspires confidence in girls and gives them a sense of accomplishment and achievement at a young age while promoting healthy habits. As a new mother, Nina is motivated to spread positive self-image to young girls through her work with Girls On The Run.

Jackie Culp, Board Member

Jackie grew up in Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania where she attended the University Of Pittsburgh and met her husband of thirty-two years. To this day she still refers to him as “her favorite running partner!” As a young retiree from a sales and marketing career with a major cosmetic company, Jackie was looking for a way to fill her time and give back to her community. When she learned about Girls On The Run, she knew it was a perfect fit! Sharing her passion for running while empowering young women–something that is very important to her. Jackie said she has been inspired by strong,independent women all her life, and it’s important to pass the torch on to these young ladies.

Having run fourteen marathons and countless half marathons, she says her favorite part is the training. No one sees you out their at five am putting in the time! There are no short cuts—as in life! This will be Jackie’s third year as a coach for Girls On The Run and she’s very excited about joining the board,and making a bigger impact on these young ladies who benefit so much from the program. 

Sunaina Kavi, Board Member

Sunaina hails from Plano, TX and came to Austin for college where she pursued a Biomedical Engineering degree. She now works for National Instruments as a Product Manager and enjoys pasta, lots of pasta, and crafting things.

She happened upon running while part of the swim team when she realized she enjoyed dry land days more than swimming! Fortunately, she was able to join track in 6th grade and could run laps and laps. One of the coaches let her know there was a sport for running long distances called cross country. She fell in love with the sport and the other people who considered waking up at 6am, 6 days a week normal.

What she really enjoyed was how running allowed her to meet people but also see a city. Originally when she moved to Austin to go to UT, she was quite homesick. However, she used running to manage her stress and also to explore the ins and outs of the city. She now calls Austin home.

She loves Girls on the Run because of something her coach once said. He said if you can run “20 200’s (200m), you can do anything.” This is so true and why she loves that the semester ends with a 5k because she knows the girls have proven to themselves that they can do anything.

Melissa Goraj, Board Member

Melissa moved to Austin from Vermont in April 2016.  She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont before moving to Boston where she received an MBA from Brandeis University and a Graduate Certificate in Accountancy from Bentley University.  Melissa holds CPA licenses in both Massachusetts and Vermont.  Melissa has over five years of experience working with not-for-profit organizations as a CPA, internal accountant, and board member.

Melissa started running after graduate school in 2014 to meet new people and to be active during the Vermont winter.  She has since run several marathons and enjoys long training runs.  Melissa is a member of the Oiselle Volee running club.

Melissa began coaching with Girls on the Run in Austin in 2016.  She had previously volunteered at the 5k in Burlington, Vermont.  She loves how the program helps the girls become the best version of themselves.  The first practice 5k is always her favorite moment throughout the season, because the girls are always so proud of what they’ve accomplished.  They realize that if they can run 5k in 80 degree heat, they can do anything!