Founder of Red Boot Coalition and Girls On the Run
Molly Barker never rests.
Three years ago she “retired.” Today she is at full speed again, heading up the Red Boot Coalition and preparing to hit the road for an 11-city tour to tout her latest endeavor.
The Red Boot Coalition was born out of a soul-searching cross-country trip by Barker several years ago. She came away from that trip with a greater appreciation of the value of listening and the need of people to be heard.
Founded in 2014 by Barker, The Red Boot Coalition believes listening is the key to understanding. Through community meetings held nationwide, the nonprofit educates about the power of listening without opinion. Honest listening builds trust, which in turn leads to useful solutions.
This summer, along with seven others, Barker will take The Boot Coalition’s message on the road with The Red Boot Ride, a trek to 11 cities across the nation.
Successful adventures like The Red Boot Coalition are nothing new to Barker. In 1996 she formed Girls on the Run, a program to help young girls embrace their individual strengths and successfully navigate life experiences. Girls on the Run, which incorporates physical fitness in its plan, has reached over one million girls and has chapters in more than 220 cities.
Barker retired from Girls on the Run in 2013.
Barker, who resides in Charlotte, is the author of 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.
In 2013 Barker was recognized by President Barack Obama and President George H.W. Bush at a ceremony in Washington, DC, as a Daily Point of Light. In 2015 she was honored by Runner’s World as one of the “Top 50 Most Influential People In Running.”
She is also the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Barker is a four-time Hawaii Ironman triathlete.
She has a background in social work, counseling and teaching, along with research on adolescent issues.
Barker enjoys writing, running and yoga.