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Staff

Jennifer Naegele
Council Director

Jennifer joined Girls on the Run Saginaw Bay as a coach in early 2011 and later that year accepted a position as Program Coordinator. In 2013 Jennifer transitioned to Council Director. Jennifer loves the inclusivity and authenticity that Girls on the Run fosters. She is passionate about the fun that GOTR brings while inspiring girls to embrace their own – and each other’s – uniqueness, strength, limitless potential, and beauty. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Women's Studies from University of Michigan Ann Arbor. When she is not at Girls on the Run, she can be found singing, songwriting and strumming her guitar or ukulele; she enjoys combining her love of music with her love of community and performs annually at various events in the area.

Council Board

Christine Benecke
Board Member

Michele Fleming

Michele first became involved with Girls on the Run as a coach. She was inspired not only by the physical progress the girls made, but by how much confidence they gained. Working in law enforcement, Michele sees the benefit of building girls’ self-esteem and teaching them tools to make healthy choices. As a board member, Michele has the opportunity to not only influence the girls, but to see all of their smiley faces when they come across the finish line! Michele graduated from Delta College with an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice. She later moved on to Saginaw Valley State University where she earned Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a Masters of Public Administration. Michele currently works as a Sergeant with a local police department.

Valerie Hoffman
Board Member

Valerie, with over 38 years of business management experience, has been the president/CEO of Underground Railroad, Inc. since 1994. She is active on several boards, taskforces, and workgroups in Michigan, including the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force, Saginaw Township Business Association and Zonta Club of Saginaw. She presents on Financial Management and Human Resource Administration to the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence and sits on various panels for Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Stalking, Violence Against Women, and Human Trafficking.

Kate Hofmann

Kate joined Girls on the Run Saginaw Bay as an assistant coach and board member in August 2015. As someone who runs sometimes but is not a “runner,” Kate was drawn to Girls on the Run’s focus to encourage girls to be confident, healthy and active even if (especially if!) they are not a natural athlete. Kate has a Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing with a minor in graphic design from Saginaw Valley State University, and enjoys the ability to stretch her creative muscles by helping create promotional materials for Girls on the Run! After looking for ways to become more active in the community, Kate has been inspired by the impact Girls on the Run can make on young girls in just 10 short weeks while helping them grow into strong, joyful and confident women. In her free time, Kate enjoys biking, hand lettering and strong coffee.

Kristin Knoll
Board Chair & Race Director

Born and raised in Saginaw(esome), Kristin has always been passionate about her community. She has been with Girls on the Run Saginaw Bay since its inception, connecting with several other motivated and enthusiastic women looking to make a positive difference in the lives of young girls. Kristin loves that Girls on the Run impacts both the youth and adults involved with the program; from important life lessons to the thrill of completing a 5k, the program improves the lives of all involved. Kristin has a bachelor of arts in Communications and Spanish from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and a Master of Business Administration from Northwood University. By day, she is responsible for media relations, social media, and public relations. While off-duty, Kristin serves in various roles on nonprofits throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region the Saginaw Valley Young Professionals Network, Child & Family Services, Saginaw Community Foundation, and United Way of Saginaw, and of course, Girls on the Run. She enjoys international and pure Michigan travel and is happily married to her husband, Josh. Their son Jonah was born November 2013, joining their “fur babies”- Howard (the golden lab) and Charlie (the curious cat).

Brian Lechel

Brian Lechel is a Saginaw native who joins the GOTR Board as the current Director of Saginaw County Parks and Recreation. His passion for coaching, mentoring, youth wellness programs led him to become involved with GOTR Saginaw Bay. Although he is still developing his personal passion for running, he did complete his first half marathon in 2015. Brian would like to remind men in the region that they can serve as assistant coaches for the program, as well as volunteer with the various special events throughout the year. Brian currently coaches the Varsity Boys Soccer program at Heritage and his other community involvement includes serving on the Positive Results Downtown Saginaw and Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy Boards of Directors, the Great Lakes Bay Regional Trail, Run For Your Heart Community Races and the YPN Steering committees.

Ashley Lewis
Board Member

Mari McKenzie
Board Member

Mari’s focus is on helping girls harness their confidence and inner strength. Having to fight in high school to play sports and in college to choose her major (“girls don’t major in accounting!”), Mari discovered that butting up against issues that can rock girls’ self-esteem did the opposite for her: it made her stronger and more determined. It is this strength that she wants for all girls, and she feels that Girls on the Run provides an avenue through which girls can discover it. Mari is a retired principal of Yeo & Yeo CPAs and Business Consultants. She specialized in auditing and business and tax consulting for not-for-profit entities for 36 years. She continues to provide quality control reviews of school districts for Yeo & Yeo and technical reviews for the Michigan Association of CPAs Peer Review Program. Mari uses her leadership and accounting skills to volunteer for several not-for-profit entities. She has been a board member and volunteer for the Underground Railroad since 1983. She develops and presents seminars on a variety of topics including 501 (c) 3 requirements, reading financial statements, accounting issues and board governance.

Kara Stark
Board Member

Kara is a Fourth Grade teacher and Girls on the Run coach. Kara joined Girls on the Run because she is passionate about empowering and instilling life values to young girls. Girls on the Run has reminded her of the importance of distinguishing the uniqueness in one another and embracing the beauty that comes from within us. Kara loves that Girls on the Run integrates teaching one how to live a healthy and confident life with setting a goal to run a 5K! As a runner herself, she knows the overwhelming bliss of crossing a finish line; recognizing that it does not matter how she got there, but that she achieved the goal she set for herself. Throughout life, we are faced with challenges…Kara believes that Girls on the Run provides young girls a healthy and optimistic way to overcome those challenges.

Tina Swanton
Board Member

As an overweight child who was picked on and self-conscious, Tina always wanted to help change the self-image of young girls. She started coaching Girls on the Run while she was attending college for Health Fitness and watched many girls light up as they went through this program. After college, in addition to working in the fitness industry, she has competed in events from a 5k run to a marathon, and most recently a half ironman. Tina loves to be active and to educate others on how to live a healthy lifestyle. Being part of this program continues to make an impact on her life as she watches many positive changes in young girls in our community.

Victoria Trevino

Victoria Trevino has resided in beautiful Saginaw all her life. She earned her Associates in Science from Delta College and her Bachelors in Business Administration in Management from Saginaw Valley State University. She now works as a Member Service Specialist at Team One Credit Union and teaches fitness classes after work. Victoria wasn’t always into fitness. A little overweight growing up and an introvert by nature, she didn’t attend many school functions or hang out with friends. She never really felt like she fit in and as a result turned to food as a comfort. It wasn’t until her college years that she made a conscious decision to take back her life and lead a healthy lifestyle, gaining an immense amount of confidence along the way. During college she became a tutor and mentor for young girls. After hearing about Girls on the Run, she decided to gather a group of girls to run/walk their first 5k. The sense of accomplishment on their faces left Victoria longing to get involved in the program, and in August 2015 she joined the Girls on the Run Saginaw Bay Board