Blog List


Publicación reciente

20 Questions with Executive Director, Andrea Gomes Morrison

Executive Director Andrea Gomes Morrison and her daughter, Amalia

Written by Kara Witsoe

  • Coffee or tea?  
  • What’s your favorite meal?
    Arroz de Peixe, my mom’s Portuguese seafood rice with shrimp, crab, clams, and mussels with a tomato base
  • What’s your favorite Seattle sports team?
    The Reign
  • Where did you grow up and go to college?
    I grew up in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle and went to the University of Washington (UW) for undergrad. Then I got my master’s in non-profit management there. 
  • How did you meet your husband, Brian?  
    I went to a party in Bellingham with my friend during my senior year in college. We met and instantly connected. 
  • How old are your children?
    Amalia is 10 and in fourth grade, and Jack is 13 and in eighth grade. Both attend Seattle Public Schools.  
  • What’s your favorite: TV show or movie?
    Murder She Wrote. Song? Unthought Known by Pearl Jam. Book? The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho.
  • Where did you work before becoming the Executive Director at Girls on the Run (GOTR)?
    I did community outreach and marketing for Fleet Feet (shoe store) in Ballard and Capitol Hill. Prior to that, I was the director of the Obliteride, the fundraising bike ride, at Fred Hutch Cancer Center. I worked for UW and other Seattle nonprofits before that. 
  • How did you first get involved with Girls on the Run?  
    Brian was working at the Seattle Running Company many years ago, and they’d partner with Girls on the Run. Then I was a community running buddy in 2011. I’ve known about GOTR a long time. Amalia started the program in 4th grade. This past fall was her third season, and she’s already signed up for the spring season.
  • Why do you work at GOTR?
    I feel incredibly grateful to have this role at this time in my life. Not only is the mission hard to beat, but I’m surrounded by a community that is 21 years in the making and filled with so many GOTR cheerleaders. Hearing from parents of alumni or adult women who are alumni, that this toolbox of lessons and teachings stays with the girls throughout their lives, that is why I work here. This work has so much impact on the individual lives of girls working through our program and connecting with their community. And if that wasn’t enough, my work directly benefits my daughter every single day. As a participant in our program, my work empowers her to unleash her limitless potential! Now that’s pretty awesome!
  • When did you start running and why do you like it?
    I was going to do cross country during my senior year in high school but had a knee injury. Then I met Brian and he’s a big runner so I started running a little here and there. He encouraged me to do a half-marathon after my son was born. Since then, I’ve run three trail 50ks (31 miles). I’m a social runner, and my favorite thing is spending time running with my friends. 
  • What was your first coaching experience like?
    It was awesome. I’d just started my job as the Executive Director three weeks prior when I coached Amalia’s team. Seeing the girls grow throughout the season –seeing them open up more and have more in-depth conversations– was very special. There were third, fourth and fifth graders in the program and they always sat with the girls in their own grade. By the end of the season, you could see that they had friends and connections with girls in different grades. Girls on the Run builds community within the school and I saw that. 
  • What value does GOTR bring to girls?
    It really is a tool kit of skills that helps them be better friends, show up in their community and be more confident. These skills will stay with them. We introduce them to running and physical activity in a way that’s fun, easy and comfortable so that the girls are comfortable in their bodies. One of the things I love about Girls on the Run is that when families sign up their girls and indicate that their girl needs shoes, we’ll give them a pair of brand-new running shoes. We’ll also give them sports bras and sports hijabs if they need them. We want to take away all those discomforts so that their feet are comfortable, and they feel comfortable in their bodies so they can just move. We want them to identify early on what it feels like to be comfortable in their bodies. We want them to think ‘running feels good’ and hope that sticks.
  • What did you want to be when you grew up?  
    Since I was little, I wanted to be an international businesswoman so I could work between the US and Portugal, where my family is from. I never considered anything else. I studied international business in college. I worked at the Global Business Center at the UW Foster School of Business and even got to travel to Portugal. Then I got into non-profit management. 
  • What did you struggle with during adolescence?
    I’m an introvert and always thought I was shy and not confident enough. I didn’t put myself out there or think I could be a leader.
  • How could GOTR have helped you then?  
    The work that we talk about with star power and clouds – now I realize that it would have helped put into words to what I was thinking and feeling - and realizing that it didn’t have to be that way. [Star power is the unique positive force within every girl and the ability to shine. Clouds are obstacles and negative thoughts and feelings.] Some of the stats I learned at Girls on the Run really broke my heart. Girls start to lose self-confidence at age 9 and become less physically active at age 10. Knowing that there are all these 9-, 10- and 11-year-olds who are having these struggles and negative thoughts about themselves is so sad. We give them the tools to stop and recognize that it’s a cloud coming over them and how to use their star power to take the clouds away. It can make them think about who they are and who they want to be. If I’d done this program, it would have been an earlier intervention in elementary school to learn how to be more confident and learn the tools to use if things got hard or challenging. They can also learn that running can be fun. You don’t have to be in an organized sport, you can always go for a run. 
  • What are some of your hobbies?  
    Running with friends, hiking and backpacking with my family, and going to the beach
  • What do you want to achieve in your role as Executive Director?  
    I feel really lucky coming into this organization in this 21st year. I’d love to see the program as strong as possible and for our staff to be supported and nurtured. I want to show up every day and work really hard to keep pushing us forward to give the opportunity to girls who can truly benefit from this program.  
  • Who have been the strongest influences in your life?  
    One person is my husband. He’s a really kind and thoughtful person. He’s very adventurous, and I love seeing the world through his eyes. I feel like I’m becoming a better person and more adventurous because of him. I also have this line of very strong, hard-working women in my family - my grandmas and aunts and my mom. She was so brave. She came here from Portugal to be with my dad, and she didn’t know a word of English. She’s really strong. 
  • What’s your favorite GOTR cheer?
    My favorite cheer is ‘Girls, girls, girls on the run, Girls on the Run is so much fun!’ I also love the ‘fan-tastic’ energy award. [Every GOTR practice ends with a series of high-energy cheers and a special energy award honoring one girl for her leadership, effort and participation.]

¡Compartir esta publicación!

Acerca del consejo

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.

Publicación sobre Girls on the Run International