GiGi’s Playhouse Buffalo Board of Directors and Staff


Emily Mondschein (Executive Director)

Emily Mondschein has served GiGi’s Playhouse Buffalo in various capacities since the start-up phase in 2018, including Start-Up Team Lead, Operations Coordinator, and Executive Director.  Emily is the proud mother of two boys named Samuel and Paul.  Her youngest son, Paul, was born with Down syndrome. She has a master’s degree in education and has spent much of her professional career as an educator.  Emily is the co-founder of two not-for-profits that serve individuals with Down syndrome and is a member and leader on multiple councils, both locally and nationally, that support individuals with disabilities. Emily is passionate about inclusion and ensuring that individuals with Down syndrome are treated with equality and respect in all areas of society.

Julia Diebel (Programs Coordinator)

Julia focuses on the development, delivery, and continuous improvement of our program slate – both group-based and 1on1 tutoring. She also develops long-term strategies for programs, including initiatives such as 1on1 Math Tutoring, GiGi Prep, GiGi U, GiGi Professional, and bringing a Hugs n’ Mugs Coffee Shop to the Playhouse.

Alexander Maccallini (Operations Coordinator)

Alex is a Master of Urban Planning student at University at Buffalo with a focus on community planning, which he hopes he can use to help communities like ours grow and thrive. He brings both personal and professional experience supporting individuals with disabilities. As operations coordinator, Alex is passionate about ensuring a positive, welcoming, and engaging experience for individuals and families with Down syndrome to foster respect, equality, and inclusion inside the Playhouse and beyond.

Board of Directors

Will Mondschein (President)

A successful thought leader and entrepreneur in the digital space, Will is the Senior Director of CDW’s Business Consulting Agency, a team dedicated to driving strategic business initiatives, digital experiences, marketing strategies, content creation and messaging for his clients. He has more than 25 years strategic, technical, operational, sales, marketing, and fiscal management experience with some of the country's most recognizable brands.  Will is the father of two children, one whom has Down syndrome.

Jennifer Zolnowski (Secretary)

Jennifer has 20+ years’ experience in the non-profit world, serving both as employee and volunteer. She worked for Parent Network of WNY for 10 years and at Aspire for three, with positions including parent educator, marketing coordinator and administrative assistant. Jen served as Co-President of the Down Syndrome Parent Group (DSPG) for five years and was a member of the Board of Directors for Danceability for two. Her husband David and she have been married for 24 years and have two children: Patrick who is 23 years old and has Down syndrome and Laura who is 19 years old.

Zachary Shroyer (Treasurer)

Zachary is the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Compliance Officer at WNY Asset Management. Before that, he was a Manager of Audit & Attestation at Brock, Schechter & Polakoff CPAs, where he worked closely with clients in various industries. Zach, who graduated from Canisius College with a Master of Business Administration in Accounting, is also a licensed Certified Public Accountant and holds his Series 7 and 66 securities licenses.

Board Members at Large

Debbie Gardiner

Debbie Gardiner is a retired occupational therapist who worked for the Clarence Central School District as the OT supervisor for 21 years.  Before moving to NY, she worked for Children’s Hospital @ Stanford, CA and a school for children with learning disabilities in Bethesda, MD. Debbie is directly involved with leading many of the programs at GiGi’s Playhouse Buffalo with various age groups.

Marc Jaromin

Marc built a media career executing an entrepreneurial portfolio of local television station ownership, broadcast operations, leadership, and revenue development. He is a culture change specialist experienced in executive and team development. Marc has served on the board of directors for multiple not-for-profits, including the Al Sigl Community of Agencies in Rochester, NY.

Martha Lamparelli

Martha has a master’s degree in special education from Buffalo State College. She retired after 31 years with the Buffalo Public Schools serving as a Special Education Teacher, Coordinator for Agency Students, and CSE Coordinator.  She has served on several boards throughout the WNY, community most recently with Connectlife, VIA (Olmsted Center for Sight) and St. Mark School Board.  Martha is a lifelong resident of Buffalo.

Connie Stives

Connie has served as a board member and Treasurer of the Williamsville School District SEPTSA Board and for Bornhava, a non-profit school for children birth to age 5 with disabilities, where she also served as President of the board for one year.  Connie spent six years on the Board of Directors of Buffalo Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives where she served as President for one year and Vice President of Programming for three. Connie also served as Board President and member for the Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce. She also is a Co-Founding Director of Home of My Own of WNY and is currently serving on that board.  Connie and her husband Tim have three sons; the youngest, Jacob, is in his 20’s and has Down syndrome.

Michelle Trenchard

Michelle Trenchard is a Registered Nurse and has worked in the medical field for 25 years. She is currently a Health Center Manager specializing in Occupational Health at Moog Inc. She resides in Orchard Park, NY and is a mom to two beautiful children, her youngest was born with Down syndrome. She serves on the board for two local not for profits that aim to support individuals with Down syndrome and their families. Throughout her career Michelle has always been passionate about patient advocacy and now strives to support and advocate for the Down Syndrome community.