CORRECTION WNBA star Nneka Ogwumike joins board

Charlotte, October 6, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CORRECTION: Ogwumike’s last quote has been corrected for clarity.

Today, Girls on the Run International, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering young girls, announced that Stanford University graduate and WNBA star Nneka Ogwumike will join their leadership team. Ogwumike (pronounced Ah-gwoo-ma-kay) plays for the Los Angeles Sparks and is President of the Women’s National Basketball Players Association. Now, she will combine her star power on and off the pitch to serve as a Board Member for Girls on the Run International beginning October 1, 2022.

“At 6ft 2in girls literally and figuratively look up to Nneka. She is a great role model and embodies so many of the things we strengthen in our curriculum: leadership, teamwork, resilience and confidence,” said Elizabeth Kunz, CEO of Girls on the Run International. “She has done so much for our organization over the years and she brings both her head and heart to our mission. Now our Board of Directors, our entire organization, and the hundreds of thousands of girls we serve each year will benefit from her perspective and leadership.”

Ogwumike has been generously supporting Girls on the Run (GOTR) for the past three years. In 2019, she cheered on competitors in end-of-season 5K events for the Girls on the Run Councils in Charlotte, NC and Los Angeles. When the world was on hiatus at the start of the pandemic, she created a GOTR at Home video for the Spring 2020 season. In 2021, she helped raise a $50,000 donation from Pepsi for GOTR Los Angeles and also participated as a panelist at GOTR’s 25th Anniversary event, which raised more than $250,000.

“I am incredibly honored to join the Girls on the Run Board of Directors. I do what I do today thanks to role models before me – role models who looked like me and opened my mind and heart to the many possibilities of being phenomenal. I hope, in my own way as an athlete and advocate, to be able to serve as a role model for young aspirants who also want to see, identify and ultimately be empowered to be great,” said Ogwumike.

Ogwumike graduated from Stanford University in 2012 and was the first overall pick in the WNBA draft that year. She just finished her tenth season as a power forward with the Los Angeles Sparks. In 2016, she led the Sparks to the WNBA Championship and was named the 2016 WNBA Most Valuable Player. Ogwumike was elected President of the WNBA Players Association in 2016 and re-elected to a new three-year term in 2019. In 2021, the WNBA’s 25th season, she was named to The W25 as one of the top 25 players in league history.

Her success on and off the pitch makes her a fantastic team and board member. Sport helps develop leadership skills such as team building, decision making, communication and discipline, among others. According to a study, 54% of girls cite increased leadership skills as one of the top benefits of exercise. For example, a 2013 survey of 821 top female executives found that 90% of them played sports at some level as a child. That percentage rose to 96% when women were now CEOs.

Girls on the Run helps girls gain confidence and become leaders, just like Nneka Ogwumike. Its programs have a proven impact, with 97% of participants reporting they learned important life skills from the research-based curriculum. From increased physical activity to character development, GOTR girls experience life-changing positive effects.

Ogwumike added, “There is no box big enough to contain the potential of these girls. By getting involved with Girls on the Run, I want to help remind them so they can go where they want and be who they want.”

About girls on the run

Girls on the Run International (GOTRI) develops programs that strengthen the social, emotional, physical, and behavioral skills of girls in third through eighth grades to successfully navigate life experiences. Each year, more than 200,000 girls ages 8 to 13 participate in fellowships across the United States and Canada. Since its inception in 1996, more than 2 million girls have participated in the program. The curriculum reaches girls at a critical juncture, boosting their confidence at a time when society is starting to tell them they can’t. The program emphasizes the important connection between physical and emotional health and speaks to the whole girl when she needs it most. The results show that GOTRI programs inspire and empower girls to build healthy physical and mental habits that last well beyond the program. According to a longitudinal study conducted by the University of Minnesota, 97% of Girls on the Run participants reported learning important life skills, including resolving conflicts, helping others, or making conscious decisions; and 94% of parents said it was a valuable experience for their girl. To learn more about this international non-profit organization, visit www.girlsontherun.org

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