Molly Barker

Yep…that’s me.   My two children know me as Mom. To some, I am a recovering alcoholic; to others a former Ironman triathlete.  To my beautifully tattooed yoga-mat-mates, I’m known as the woman who sweats alot and to my Girls on the Run colleagues and girls, I am more commonly referred to as Girls on the Run Founder..


I, however, am on a lifetime journey to figure out precisely what “me” is.  I’m hoping that somewhere my “me” is connected to your “you”.  The way I see it…there’s got to be a connection here somewhere or we wouldn’t be where we are right now…my typing these words and your reading them.  I believe these sorts of discoveries don’t happen by accident.  We asked for it…and now we’ve found each other. I’m hoping you will pack up and come along for the ride, reveal and evolve right along with me. To join in, read “Wander With Me”  to get the gist of what this is all about and then let’s get this show on the road.

(A more formal read of my bio looks something like this:)
Molly Barker, MSW, founded Girls on the Run in 1996 in Charlotte, North Carolina. A four-time Hawaii Ironman triathlete, she used her background in social work, counseling and teaching, along with research on adolescent issues, to develop the program. Today, there are Girls on the Run councils in over 210 cities across North America serving over 200,000 girls and women each year. (

The “Girl Box,” a phrase coined by Molly, describes the imaginary place many girls go around adolescence, where cultural and societal stereotypes limit choices as well as opportunities. Molly founded Girls on the Run to create a connected and safe “space” that invites girls and women to see, unravel from and eliminate their own and often unconscious buy-in to the Girl Box and its limiting messages.

A very strong interest of Molly’s is reframing our perceptions of leadership and encouraging dialogue which explores how we might broaden our current view to include joy, compassion, love and vulnerability. Now Molly is heading up The Red Boot Coalition…a project that takes the same message of authenticity and empowerment to the “rest of us” by inviting those who are willing to address the current fear, anger and hyperpolarized state of some of our largest systems: politics, religion, economics and ethnicity, by engaging in dialogue focused on the Eleven Red Boot Coalition Principles. Not afraid to ask the hard questions, Molly engages with humor, poignant stories, and rich demonstrations of the power possible when people collectively give voice and action to love, compassion and curious-inquiry in spite of the perceived chaos, fear and anger around us.

Molly has been featured in many media outlets including People, Runner’s World, Glamour, Shape, Redbook and Woman’s Day. She was recently selected by Fast Company to the League of Extraordinary Women, Women Truly Changing the World. ( In July, 2013, Molly was recognized by President Barack Obama and President George H.W. Bush at a ceremony in Washington DC, as a Daily Point of Light.

Molly has authored two books, “Girls on Track: A Parent’s Guide to Inspiring our Daughters to Achieve a Lifetime of Self-Esteem and Respect”, and “Girls Lit from Within” which is specifically for 3rd – 8th grade girls.

Molly is a positive role model. She enjoys writing, running and yoga but most enjoys the challenges which emerge in her own personal evolution and deep desire to live life outside the Boxes that might otherwise contain her. She is available for speaking engagements (something she loves as a matter of fact). If interested in bringing her to your next event please contact Lindsay Samakow at


20 Responses to Molly Barker

  1. Catherine says:

    What is the email adress I can contact you at? I have a poem that i would like to share with GOTR

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  4. dandelion says:

    Molly, I just read about the naked face project in an old USAtoday, 3/2012. Good job! I haven’t worn make-up or shaved anything for …. many years. It’s nearly impossible to put that across to young women. It takes great courage to stop shaving, to go against the societal rules like that. I think a large part of it is that young women don’t know what is important about being a woman. They don’t feel comfortable with their sexual maturity so they do whatever they can to both stay little girls (shaving everything) and to play dress up (waering make-up like their mothers do). I couldn’t even suceed with my own daughters. What to do? Anything? Or just wait for women to mature in themselves?

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  7. Permelia says:

    Molly, I enjoyed hearing you Saturday at Clemson! What an inspiring story you shared. I felt several times that my heart would burst out of my chest – I wanted to cry so bad! I believe that God sends us to the exact place we need to be in order to meet the exact people we need to meet at the exact time we need (in our lives) to meet them! So now I know why I went to the conference at Clemson, even though I didn’t really feel like going this time. Now I know – it was to hear you! The Madaline story was so awesome – please don’t forget to email it to me 🙂 I hope to see you again soon!

  8. Hi, my name is Christiana Haight.

    I am a Junior in Midland High School, from Midland, Michigan. I work for our school newspaper, The Focus. I have been pushing to do an article about Girls on the Run, and this month I finally got my chance to run with it! I have contacted some of our local coaches, township coordinator, and even some girls who are currently in the program. But the one person I am missing, is you.
    I would love to interview you over the phone or via email, and talk to you about your inspiration behind Girls on the Run!
    If you are at all interested, please email me at and let me know! I love your blog, and I find you to be an absolute inspiration.

  9. Hi Molly! I love the work GOTR does. I have never personally been involved but I have had close friends sit on some of the local chapter boards. I hope to be involved this year as my daughter is now in third grade. Over the years I have bought several, more than several copies, of Girls Lit From Within. I have passed them out to numerous friends whose daughters I thought would benefit. In fact several years ago this little yellow book dramatically changed a young lady’s life! I just went online to buy some more, but it appears to not be sold on the GOTR website or anywhere else! I did find one copy on Amazon. Any special hidden places where I can find more to buy? I just love that book. I am a fellow MSW/LCSW and have seen a lot over the years and I have called upon this book numerous times when working with clients. Please help SOS!

  10. Kristin Bublitz says:

    Quite a few years ago I was lucky enough to be a GOTR coach and got the book “Girls Lit From Within” for my daughter. I recently found it on her bookshelf and my two younger daughters read it. I had forgotten just what an amazing book it is! I am interested in purchasing quite a few copies of this book to give to a group of young girls who are on a team together. When I searched online I didn’t see a lot of options to purchase it. Is this book still in production? If so, where can I look into purchasing some?

    Thanks so much,

    Kristin Bublitz

  11. Morgan says:

    Hi Molly!

    My name is Morgan and I’m a senior in high school. I participated in Girls on the Run and on my last day I was given your book, Girls Lit from Within. The first time I read the book its meaning didn’t really resonate with me. It wasn’t until a few years later that the book’s message really hit home. In the seventh and eighth grade I really struggled to find who I was. I felt a lot of pressure to be someone I wasn’t. Your book helped me through that. I’ve realized lately that I might not be the person I am today if I hadn’t read your book. So I just wanted to thank you so much for being who you are and for writing your book. It definitely changed my life.

    Thank you so much,


  12. John Rogers says:

    Molly- Love your work and thankful for how you are representing Carolina well as an alum! I oversee the Presbyterian Campus Ministry at University Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill. I would love to host you in Chapel Hill if you have a Thursday night available for this spring in between February-April. Our student ministry is a group of about 50 students who meet every Thursday night school is in session for dinner and a program. I thought you might like a chance to be back at your alma mater. Am hopeful we can find a way to work this out. With thanks for all you are doing! -John

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  14. Molly, I met you on Sept. 26 in Sedona on a required timeshare tour. I felt that your work was the purpose of that meeting. We shared a bit… I am a Counselor in Private Practice. Tonight you came up in my FACEBOOK feed!! You are coming to Toledo!!! 35 minutes away… Can we connect while you are here.

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