Influential Leaders

Katie Gilstrap

Katie Gilstrap

University of Richmond, Robins School of Business

Non-Profit

Katie Gilstrap is the founder of two very successful startups, each of which is focused on health and well-being. In 2011, she cofounded Lift Simplified Caregiving, a national, web-based business that provides important information for those who find themselves unexpectedly in the role of caregiver for an aging loved one. Gilstrap and her cofounder believed strongly that caregivers needed help, too. At the time, Gilstrap was working as a bank vice president and was helping caregivers arrange their financial affairs. She believed an online resource should be available that would help them easily access resources that could help them manage care for their loved ones and also help them care for themselves. The site is free to users and generates revenues through a payment from service providers who would like to be included, as well as from an online retail shop.

Lift offers expert advice on subjects related to caregiving, written by doctors, industry and healthcare professionals, and nonprofit partners. Family Ties, Lift's online managing and calendaring tool, helps families stay organized, connected, and protected. In addition, Lift also has a library of evaluation tools to help caregivers understand their current circumstances and make important decisions. Most recently, Lift partnered with another nonprofit organization to launch a campaign to ensure that caregivers take care of their own health.

In 2013, Gilstrap opened Barre Boutique, an exercise studio that uses ballet techniques to boost fitness among participants. After the tremendous success of the first studio in Richmond, she opened a second location in the fall of 2014. 

In addition to being an entrepreneur, Gilstrap is also a faculty member at both the University of Richmond’s Institute on Philanthropy and Virginia Commonwealth University’s department of marketing. She has an undergraduate degree from William and Mary and an MBA from the University of Richmond (2005).

Gilstrap is an active member of her community, serving on both corporate and charitable boards that include Fulcrum Collaborations, A Grace Place Adult Day Center, Lucy Corr Retirement Community’s Foundation, and Senior Connections—the local area Agency on Aging. 

In addition to her academic and professional responsibilities, Katie serves as a regular columnist for The Richmond Times Dispatch, The Health Journal, GRID Magazine, Caring Voice Coalition’s Community Magazine, and Riverside Health System’s Golden Club Magazine.