This special Women Who Run This Business issue of Running Insight would not be complete without featuring the Women Who Run The Running Event! The seven women featured in these following pages make the industry’s largest and most important trade event run — from show management to education to marketing to social media. 

While of course there are quite a few men involved in the success of TRE – including the editor and writers for Running Insight as well as Glenn Dulberg and Daemon Filson on the sales side – there’s no disputing the impact these women have on the success of TRE every year. So here it is our pleasure to present the Women Who Run The Running Event in their own words.

Christina Henderson
Event Director and Publisher

Your work background … This will be my 10th year working with The Running Event. I’ve built my career in this industry and I consider myself incredibly fortunate for that. The people in this community have shaped how I view the world and there isn’t a stronger group I could have grown with.

Your role at The Running Event/Switchback … I lead The Running Event, Switchback and Running Insight team.

Your favorite part of the job … I’m passionate about fostering connection. I believe powerful things happen when you gather people. Our role is unique in that we get to learn and create positivity in two industries — the run specialty industry and the trade show industry. What we learn from the run specialty community then influences how we support other industries. Run specialty has influence beyond what it even realizes — and it’s all possible because of the passion and hard work of this team.

Lessons from run specialty … I have learned so much. The biggest thing is the importance of being able to adapt. Things rarely go as planned and I’ve seen the run specialty community step up and overcome change and challenges. They rally together and always come out stronger.

Something our readers should know about you … Running has played a major role in my life. I started running in the sixth grade, it led me to New York City where I attended college, it has cultivated most of my friendships and it continues to frame how I approach any opportunity or challenge. There’s not much I believe in more than the power of running and the community that surrounds it.

Beth Gordon
Director of New Business Development

Your work background … Outdoor Retailer: Director of Sales; World Shoe Association: Director of Sales; Formula 4 Media: VP–Sales; Contractor for MAGIC and TRE

Your role at The Running Event/Switchback: I handle sales for The Running event and I am responsible for the launch, development, and growth of Switchback at TRE.

Your favorite part of the job … Enjoying quality time with industry friends and those I’ve known for over 30 years

Lessons from run specialty … The importance of passion and inclusivity and how much everyone in the industry wants to see each other succeed. 

Something our readers should know about you … I’ve completed four marathons and several cross-country bike rides. Now, it’s all about  horseback riding, Peloton workouts and I’m currently learning to golf, which is arguably the hardest activity, ever.

Genae Salinas
Marketing Manager

Your work background … Since graduating college, my professional experience has been in the marketing world. I started out at a tech company in the Washington, DC area; next, I accepted a role at a news organization within their branded content team. After a couple of years, life took me to Portland, ME, which led me to Diversified Communications — the company that owns TRE. And here I am, five years later!

Your role at The Running Event/Switchback … Anyone reading this who is also in a marketing role likely knows “marketing” tends to be a catch-all for anything from public relations to graphic design, content generation, website management and more — which is likely why I enjoy it so much. My role with TRE is no different: each day brings something new, and I’m constantly switching between creative projects, big-picture strategy and smaller tasks. Ultimately, my role is to support, promote and share the value of TRE with retailers, brands, media and more.

Your favorite part of the job … Three things. First, the incredible team I feel lucky to work alongside each day. Next, the rare opportunity to combine a personal passion with my professional work. And finally, the inspiring people who comprise the running and outdoor industry — and getting to see them each year at TRE.

Lessons from run specialty … Resiliency. Running is a sport that requires so much resiliency. That carries over into the running industry, especially on the retail side. We saw it during the pandemic, we see it when stores’ communities are facing challenging times. The people within run specialty seem to always be asking themselves “how can we be better?” Being surrounded by that mindset and approach has been invaluable.

Something our readers should know about you … I love connecting with people and finding ways to grow and support the running and outdoor community. If you have ideas — get in touch. Outside of work (and running, of course) you’ll find me hiking, reading, cooking and traveling.

Caitlin Ewing
Conference Manager

Your work background … My background is quite diverse. I danced professionally with numerous contemporary dance companies and taught at many boarding schools and universities for about a decade. I eventually shifted into New York City hospitality where I ran the iconic Odeon restaurant in TriBeCa for six years. From there, I moved into a strategic planning role for conferences a couple years ago and have been really enjoying my work with Diversified Communications over the last few months.

Your role at The Running Event/Switchback … Conference Manager

Your favorite part of the job … I get to learn from subject matter experts all the time.

Lesson from run specialty … The community aspect stands out to me in a big way. And the passion. These people love running!

Something our readers should know about you … 300M hurdles was my sport in grade school. I’ve run two half marathons. I enjoy epic hikes and yoga at this point. Dancing put a toll on my body over the years, but it was worth it.

Emma Galeckas
Attendee Relations Coordinator

Your work background … Last May, I graduated from Providence College with a degree in Marketing. Go Friars! Prior to my involvement with The Running Event, I worked a handful of jobs and internships — from a devoted waitress for many years to a Retail Banking Intern, my diverse experiences have enriched my skills set and professional outlook.

Your role at The Running Event/Switchback … I collaborate with our marketing team in crafting initiatives aimed at both drawing in new attendees and ensuring the loyalty of past attendees. My responsibilities extend to devising strategies that amplify attendee involvement before, during and after our events. Day-to-day I communicate with many of our attendees, answering questions and doing personal promotional outreach.

Your favorite part of the job … Meeting all our wonderful attendees! Fostering these connections and relationships both online and in person has truly fulfilled me. I love being able to communicate directly with the attendees, especially in person at TRE. Make sure to say hello at TRE 2024!

Lessons from run specialty … While working in the run specialty industry I have learned about the continuous commitment towards inclusivity. Runners have diverse preferences, styles and needs. Keeping up with innovations that cater to a wide range of runners, including causal joggers, marathon enthusiasts, trail runners and beginners ensures that the industry remains inclusive. It makes me so happy to see how inclusive our retailers are.

Something our readers should know about you … I used to run track when was younger and now working in this industry has made me consider picking it back up. Being raised in southern Maine, I have the privilege of calling this beautiful state home. Outside of work, you’ll find me spending time with my family and friends, going to cycling classes and of course obsessing over my dog, Teddy — he’s a mix of 14 different breeds.

Julie Roopenian
Event Manager

Your work background … I have more than 15 years of experience in event management, most of it spent working for luxury fashion brands and magazines. I moved to Maine six years ago and started working for Diversified on many different tradeshows and conferences before getting the opportunity to become part of The Running Event team.

Your role at The Running Event/Switchback … My role as event manager touches on a little bit of everything, so there’s never a dull moment! My focus areas are the planning and execution of all special events at TRE (trail cleanup, Indie 5k, receptions), programming for TRE managed areas on the show floor, strategic partnerships, and the Best Running Stores program and Industry Awards Dinner.

 Your favorite part of the job … Hand downs, the people. Not only do I get to work with the best team every day, but The Running Event community is one of a kind. I’m continuously impressed and inspired by the passion, dedication, and authenticity I’m surrounded by working with this industry.

Lessons from run specialty … Maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but I knew very little about running and the running industry when I started working on TRE a few years ago. I’ve learned an immeasurable amount, but I think my biggest takeaway is less about running and more about people and business in general. I’ve learned from this group that you can prioritize your community, your employees and the industry as a whole without compromising the success of your business —something I never really witnessed before professionally.

Something our readers should know about you … Outside of work I spend most of my time with my two-year-old daughter, Marlowe, and our cat, Goose. I love to get out and explore Maine (during the tolerable months), travel, and will never say no to a good margarita. Fun fact: I’m one of the few people on the team that isn’t a runner, but the peer pressure is getting to me! Maybe you’ll see me running the Indie 5k this year if my knees can handle it.

Hailey Morrill
Sales Coordinator

Your work background … After graduating from the University of Maine last year with a degree in marketing and management, I started working with The Running Event. While I was in school, I had internships in both sports marketing and HR information systems.

Your role at The Running Event/Switchback … It includes connecting with brands in order to coordinate sponsorships such as the new product showcase, the sock bar and private meeting rooms.

Your favorite part of the job … Learning about and connecting with the running industry. At my first TRE this past November, I was blown away by the passion that both the attendees and the brands have for the sport and their business. Although I’m not an avid runner, being at the show inspired me to start integrating running into my own lifestyle.

Lessons from run specialty … I have learned about the value that is placed in networking. TRE is not only an opportunity to connect retailers and brands, but an opportunity for people everywhere in the running industry to gather to share ideas, catch up and ultimately learn from one another. I think this excitement to engage and connect makes the industry really special. 

Something our readers should know about you … This winter I have been enjoying skiing here in Maine, as well as trying new classes such as yoga and cycling. When the weather warms up, I am always up for a walk outside or sometimes even a run.

Mikayla Zordan
Marketing Coordinator

Your work background … Before my time at Th Running Event I worked in various operational support, marketing and client service roles in the business consulting, ecotourism, hospitality, retail and higher education industries. I recently graduated from the University of New England with a degree in Business Administration, Concentration in Marketing. 

Your role at The Running Event/Switchback: I collaborate with our marketing manager, Genae Salinas, to develop effective campaigns and maintain brand consistency across the website, emails and social media. Working closely with the sales team, I craft impactful promotional materials too. Some of my day-to-day include managing the social media calendar, creating engaging graphics and content and writing emails — many emails. Actively engaging with the TRE online community, I contribute to growing our attendee database and assist with the seamless onsite execution of our marketing efforts.

Your favorite part of the job … It is the opportunity to unleash my creative and collaborative side with the incredible team at TRE/Switchback. It brings joy as we brainstorm and implement innovative ideas for effective marketing campaigns, striving to make TRE even better.

Lessons from run specialty … What stands out is the remarkable passion people have for this field. I’ve come to appreciate the genuine care individuals demonstrate for each other. This industry is brimming with motivators, inspiring me to elevate my performance. Additionally, I’ve learned that while the finish line of a race may appear distant, it’s the entire journey that makes it truly rewarding. The preparation for the next TRE begins promptly after the current year’s show concludes. Despite the initial sense of distance, the collective effort invested by everyone to enhance this event for the community is substantial. During moments of potential overwhelm, one crucial lesson from this industry is to savor the entire journey.

Something our readers should know about you … Outside of work, I may not be a runner, but I am pretty busy! I am an avid skier; I grew up ski racing at the mountain down the road from my house in Connecticut. Since being in college and officially moving to Maine, I love getting to adapt these larger mountains as my “local” spot. I picked up golf in high school — the first match I ever played in I got a hole in one! Beyond that, I spend a lot of time at the beach in Rhode Island with my parents, hanging out with friends, doing yoga, cooking and watching sports, mostly football — Go Bills!