Episode 011 – Laura Moore, Executive Director – Girls on the Run Tampa Bay

Laura Moore

Bobbi-Sue Doyle-Hazard speaks with the Executive Director of Girls on the Run Tampa Bay, Laura Moore. Girls on the Run is an organization that uses running to teach girls in 3rd – 5th grades life skills such as confidence, balance, and emotional control. Laura has built the Tampa Bay council from 6 locations to 40 in just 4 years! With a master’s degree in non-profit management, Laura started off at a domestic violence transition program. The women talk about non-profit management, running, domestic violence, and how people can get involved with a non-profit.  Zoey (Bobbi-Sue’s youngest furbaby) makes an appearance from time to time. Bobbi-Sue shares a story about her hooligan days as a track star. It’s a fun conversation with the very bouncy and smart, Laura Moore. Zoey, Bobbi-Sue’s cat, makes an “appearance” from time to time.

Content warning: The women discuss Laura’s past working at a shelter for women and children in domestic violence situations

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  • GOTR is an afterschool program that uses running to teach girls life skills. There are about 200,000 girls served each year nationally.
  • Laura started out in the for-profit world working on energy efficiency. She got frustrated because colleagues did great work but didn’t care about the mission.
  • She went back to school to get her masters in non-profit management and then worked for a domestic violence shelter.
    • It was a big change and difficult. She said all the typical things that you aren’t supposed to say.
  • GOTR was a great combination of running and empowering girls.
  • Laura was a soccer player growing up and in college. Running came into her world right after college.
  • She majored in English and Spanish at Spring Hill but didn’t know what kind of job that would translate into.
  • Bobbi-Sue and Laura talk about how bad their Spanish has gotten without practice.
  • GOTR does have resources for Spanish-speaking families so that they can follow along with the program and make language not a barrier.
  • Laura first interned at the domestic violence shelter while in school and then stayed on.
    • It was a transitional housing program for women and children. Initial shelters are 30-90 days.
    • It helps the clients get their lives sorted out, legally.
  • The hardest day at work: There was a woman in her program whose partner was on trial for attempted murder, a document got over to him that the program wasn’t sure if the address of their location had been blacked out. It was the first time that Laura felt the fear that the women feel every day.
  • Most important lesson: We think of domestic violence as a choice but really there’s no choice involved.
  • Working there made Laura much more aware when it comes to friends and family. She recognizes abusive behavior and tries to break the isolation that occurs in these instances.
  • In coach’s training, they talk about making GOTR a safe space. The girls may tell the coach uncomfortable things, and the reaction of the coach is very important. GOTR is not a crisis management organization but will get other organization and resources involved when needed. [In Tampa, there’s the Crisis Center of Tampa and The Spring.]
  • What should we all do when we notice something with a friend or neighborhood kid? Get in touch with your local crisis center type of organization. Also, being supportive of friends/family is most important, not letting that isolation happen.
  • During her master’s program, she knew she should get some board experience and she reached out to GOTR St. Louis.
  • How do people go about getting on a board? Board thinks about what they need skill-wise, reach out to their own networks, then an application process. Those interested should figure out what they’re passionate about and then use their network.
  • Bobbi-Sue talks about volunteering at Quincy Animal Shelter and being groomed for the board.
  • GOTR is a Physical Activity Based Positive Youth Development program. Not a competitive running program. Running is just the tool to teach the lessons. Helps girls figure out who they are, what their values are, and give them tools to live that way. One of the exercises is on empathy and how to practice it. Another exercise is about balance. 10 week-long program, meet twice a week, and evidence-based teaching. Ends with a 5k.
  • Volunteering opportunities: coaching (there’s a national coaching training that everyone goes through), one-day events, organizing of race, etc.
  • Being at the race to support the girls, is the best feeling. Hang out at the finish line to watch the girls finish.
  • Things that the Tampa Bay council has accomplished: went from 4 to 40 locations, created a strategic plan, created a budget, built up the race to large enough that they close streets. This fall season, they gave away $30,000 in scholarships for girls to be able to participate.
  • Laura goes into some of the details of her day-to-day. She’s always doing something different!
  • What characteristics make Laura so successful: positive attitude, persistence, business skills, grant writing skills.
  • Laura talks about how GOTR makes sure that their employees are paid market value. Often women will work in non-profits for less than market value because of the cause or feeling of desire to help. This goes into the gender wage gap as more women than men work in the non-profit world.
  • Independent scientific study of GOTR: The girls who participated in GOTR were growing not just over the 10 weeks but months after. Girls who were least active at the beginning of the program increased their activity by 40% and continued after the program.
  • Heart & Soul program: Program with middle school aged girls. Different than Girls on the Run, a different approach.
  • Come out and volunteer for the 5k – St. Pete, Poynter Park
  • Self-care: Sets rules for finishing work (she works from home) – No reading email in bed, close laptop at a certain time of night, etc. Running with no music. Making time for friends and when out don’t check email. Cook.
  • Breakfast every morning: Almond milk, walnuts, spinach, frozen mango smoothie
  • You can donate gear to the girls! Go to the website and check out the wish list.
  • Bobbi-Sue ends the conversation by talking about how she would steal mini cones from the Falmouth Invitational each year in high school.


Girls on the Run Tampa Bay Race December 19, 2017

Quotable moments:

  • “Girls on the Run is absolutely life-changing.”
  • “I want to save the world!” – in response to her friend asking her what she wants to do, figuring out careers
  • “No one can rebuild their life in 30 to 90 days. That’s insane.”
  • “If you choose to go, he’s going to kill you. If you choose to stay, he’s going to kill you. So there’s really no choice.”
  • “Anything they asked me to do, I just did it because I loved it.” – GOTR St. Louis
  • “It’s up to us as adults to guide our girls through growing up in a positive way.”
  • “Girls on the Run is the largest 5k series by number of events.”
  • “When our girls… get herself across the finish line, it’s incredible… Eyes are bright, shoulders are back…”
  • “The message to our girls… you are SO important we are shutting streets down for you.”
  • “The specifics of what each of our girls is going through may be different but the themes are the same.”
  • “That’s the thing I’m probably most proud of is our diversity of sites.”
  • “One thing that I have found that Girls on the Run as a whole organization has been AMAZING about is making sure their employees are paid market value.”
  • “I’ve known in my heart that Girls on the Run works… but now I know on paper that it works.” – regarding the independent scientific study

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