colleenkellyhoward-headshot-2Philly Happening has been hard at work naming the top 10 Movers and Shakers of 2016 and the much anticipated list is out!

We’re taking the opportunity to shine the spotlight on each one of the amazing people who made this years list.

Colleen Kelly Howard is a dedicated mother of three girls and the executive director of Girls on the Run Philadelphia. Girls on the run is a non-profit program for girls in 3rd through 8th grade.  Colleen is dedicated to fulfilling the programs mission, to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.  She took some time to answer some of our questions.

PH: What town do you live in?

CH: Philadelphia

PH: Where did you attend school?

CH: High School – Madison, WI, Undergrad – Saint Olaf College, Northfields, MN, Graduate School – The George Washington University, Washington DC

PH: What motivates you every morning?

CH: The prospect of making an impact in my community.

PH: What would you say is your idea of a perfect day?

CH: Attending soccer/field hockey/softball/lacrosse games for each of my daughters, none of which overlap (meaning I get to see the entire game) and all of which have plenty of travel and snack time in between them. Followed by a big family dinner that I didn’t cook!

PH: Who inspires you?

CH: My girlfriends. All of them are amazing and successful in so many unique ways. So many of them have been knocked down and gotten back up stronger each time. I find myself channeling their strength all the time.

PH: How did you decide to go into your business/profession/service?

CH: After taking an eight-year break from my career in Art History to raise my daughters, my current profession found me. I came to Girls on the Run as a volunteer coach, bringing the program to my daughter’s school and coaching her team. I fell in love with the program and in a serendipitous turn of events, the previous executive director stepped down from her role during my first season volunteering as a coach. The position, which was part-time initially appealed to me on so many different levels. I’m grateful everyday for the opportunity to bring a program that has had a positive impact on our family to girls all over Philadelphia.

PH: Which achievement are you most proud of?

CH: Completing my Master’s thesis. I hate spending time alone and writing my thesis required spending hours of time by myself. It took an enormous amount of self-discipline, which I know has served me well in other aspects of my life.

PH: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?

CH: Fear of public speaking (not sure if I’ve completely overcome it yet, but I’m working on it!)

PH: What is the biggest accomplishment that you’d like to achieve over the next 5 years?

CH: I’d like to be able to say I had raised three independent, gracious, ambitious girls.

PH: How do you think your friends & coworkers would describe you?

CH: Diligent and compassionate

PH: Where’s your favorite place to go in Philadelphia?

CH: Forbidden Drive for a run

PH: If you could take a time machine back to visit yourself 10 years ago. What advice would you give?

CH: Your professional life will still be there when you’re ready to return to it. I spent a lot of time worrying about the negative impact my time away from work would have on my career. In the end, my time away led me to a role that is more fulfilling than I could have ever imagined.

PH: Same question 10 years in the future.

CH: Be forgiving–children–even grown children–will make mistakes, just like you did.