Thursday, the Chicago Area Runner’s Association announced the passing of the torch to a new Executive Director; at the end of the month, current director Kevin Jermyn will return to North Carolina to be closer to his family, and Greg Hipp, current Director of Marketing and Events, will step up.
Hipp has been with CARA since 2015 and in just two years has served many roles. Starting as Manager of Road Race Services, he worked up to Director of Road Race Services, and then became the Director of Marketing and Events.
“We’ve had a number of different staff changes in the last two years and in each one I’ve had the opportunity to step in and fill some rolls,” Hipp says. “I’ve gotten the chance to be with almost every part of CARA: racing, training and volunteers, in a way with not every staff member gets to.”
When he takes over in August, he plans on continuing many of Jermyn’s projects, with emphasis on the organization’s membership.
“We are a membership-driven organization, so we really want our members to have a stronger voice,” he explains. “We are a large organization but we don’t have to be different then a local running club, so we are going to continue to look for ways for CARA to run by the members first.”
More specifically, Hipp wants to add more events that aren’t just runs or races, he just wants to bring people from the running community together more often. Currently, CARA has over 700 events this year, but many of those are individual marathon training sessions; while he sees the value in those, he wants to explore social programming to engage members in other ways too.
“We want to serve every part of the running community,” Hipp adds.
Having had so many different roles within the organization, Hipp really values the nature of a non-profit and wants people to notice that’s what makes CARA different than other clubs.
“Our mission doesn’t change just because our director changes … what our members get is only ever growing and I really feel like the mission is the boss around here, not me,” he says.
Running has been a part of Hipp’s life since fifth grade; he distinctly remembers running his first lap around his school track, and immediately falling in love with the sport. “I had a Runner’s World Subscription that night,” he reminisces.
In high school and college, Hipp ran competitively, and although he doesn’t do that anymore, he still enjoys running every day. In fact, Hipp is a paying CARA member himself.
“I tell members I consider myself a member as much as staff,” Hipp says.
Jermyn, who took on the position in October 2016, feels confident in Hipp’s ability to pick up where he left off on many projects.
“I love that were continuing to make running more affordable and bring it to areas where it’s less prevalent,” Jermyn says. “I enjoyed my time at CARA and I feel really excited and confident that Greg is going to do great things for the running community in Chicago.”
Upon his return to North Carolina, Jermyn will resume his coaching career.