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Gina Lichte is chief executive officer and president of Girls on the Run-Kansas City, a nonprofit organization focused on empowering girls in third through eighth grades to live joyful and healthy lives through an eight-week after-school curriculum that involves running with a team. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Gina Lichte is chief executive officer and president of Girls on the Run-Kansas City, a nonprofit organization focused on empowering girls in third through eighth grades to live joyful and healthy lives through an eight-week after-school curriculum that involves running with a team. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Jan. 10, 2022

Running the Show: Lichte empowering young women in Kansas City

By Kourtnie Stenwall, communication assistant


Gina Lichte ’06 found a love for empowering the people in her community when she came to Northwest and became involved in student life. She has carried that love with her throughout her career.

Lichte grew up in Lexington, Missouri, and continued to discover who she was as an individual when she stepped onto the Northwest campus. Her involvement in numerous campus organizations — including as a student mentor with TRIO, Student Support Services and mass media honor societies — exposed her to different people and a desire to support others.

In 2013, she started her non-profit career in Kansas City, Missouri, with Women Leaders in College Sports. The organization helps promote the growth, leadership and success of women in intercollegiate athletics. Lichte’s work with Women Leaders allowed her to meet women with amazing careers and backgrounds who needed help building a foundation of confidence for leadership roles.

At a Women Leaders leadership development session five years ago, women were introducing themselves and their dream jobs. When it was Lichte’s turn to speak, she shared her desire to invest in a community and lead a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young women.

“I hugely believe in putting out into the world what it is that you want for yourself,” Lichte said. “Always be ready to take your shot.”

Soon after, Lichte received a call with an interview offer to become chief executive officer and president of Girls on the Run-Kansas City, a nonprofit organization focused on empowering girls in third through eighth grades to live joyful and healthy lives through an eight-week after-school curriculum that involves running with a team. Girls are paired with mentors who cheer them on to be bigger, bolder versions of themselves while helping the girls discover their own values and find their voices.

As CEO and president, Lichte serves as an ambassador for the organization. She not only empowers her team but the young women in her community. She says one of her favorite events is a community 5k run at the end of each season that celebrates everything the girls learned.

“Our 5K is the largest display of collective joy you will ever experience,” Lichte said. “It’s about the girls feeling the pride of doing something that was outside their realm of what they thought was possible. I love our people, from my amazing team to being with the girls during practices, being with our families and volunteers who are dedicated to our mission. It’s hard, obviously, to name just one aspect of this work that I love.”

Lichte believes her time at Northwest and campus involvement helped prepare her to enter her career field. Her experience working with diverse groups of people, talking with potential students and helping them figure out their own paths helped her find her passion for empowering others.

“I really try to live life always learning from every experience and really not say there is ever a regret,” Lichte said. “My experience at Northwest helped me figure out more of who I am. I always love to be green and growing, always learning and evolving, and I feel like my time at Northwest continued me on that path and really helped open me to who I am.”

Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704