Our Team

Bret, GiGi's Playhouse Fox Valley Board Member

Bret Shannon, Board President

Board Member 2016-present

Bret Shannon started volunteering at GiGi's Playhouse Fox Valley three years ago as a board member and hasn't looked back. He enjoys meeting and getting to know our families, as well as doing whatever he can to help GiGi's mission. Bret also organizes the Beth Shannon Memorial Charity Golf Outing and GiGi's Playhouse Fox Valley is one of the charitable recipients. 

Bret works as a Financial Planner in Geneva, and is a volunteer football coach at Geneva High School. In his free time he enjoys spending time with family and friends, the outdoors, and anything sports related. 

 

Katie, GiGi's Playhouse Fox Valley Board Member

Katie Finke, Board Secretary 

Board Member 2015 – present 

Katie Finke got involved with GiGi’s when her family moved here from North Carolina five years ago. She was looking for a place to connect with the Down syndrome community and heard great things about GiGi’s Playhouse. She started attending the Fox Valley location and quickly got involved as a family by attending events and hosting many Family Fun Nights.  Katie and her husband Mike have raised over $50k for our Playhouse via the Naperville Half Marathon, GiGi’s Gala and other events over the past couple years. She joined the Board four years ago and loves helping to make a difference in the lives of those with Down syndrome and their families!! 

Charlie, GiGi's Playhouse Fox Valley Board Member

Charles Perrecone, Board Treasurer

Board Member 2017 – present 

Charles Perrecone lives in the Roscoe Village area of Chicago with his fiancé. Charles has been involved with GiGi’s Playhouse Fox Valley since 2017. His initial involvement developed from a desire to give back to the community, but he did not know where. A friend and fellow board member, Bret Shannon, got him to come to an event, see the Playhouse, and talk to the board. Since then Charles has enjoyed being an active board member and trying to improve the Fox Valley Playhouse. Charles works as an insurance and surety consultant for Brown & Brown of Illinois, located in Lisle. 

Kathryn, GiGi's Playhouse Fox Valley Board Member

Kathryn Smith, Outreach Ambassador

Board Member 2010- present 

Kathryn has been on the Board of Managers at GiGi’s Playhouse Fox Valley since 2010.  She is the first individual with Down syndrome to serve on a board at any GiGi’s Playhouse. She was the secretary for 2 years and now serves as the Outreach Ambassador.  Kathryn lives in Aurora with her mom, Patty Smith, who also has served on the Board of Managers, and is now an Alderman in Aurora.  Kathryn graduated from high school and earned her certificate from the College of DuPage.  She works at the Aurora Public Library and is an ambassador for ComEd. Kathryn enjoys public speaking, spending time with her boyfriend and family, and playing Bunco with friends in her free time. 

Lauren, GiGi's Playhouse Fox Valley Board Member

Lauren Chiszar

Board Member, 2018 - present 

Lauren Chiszar is thrilled to be a Board Member at GiGi’s Playhouse Fox Valley. Previous to this role on the board, Lauren served as the Site Coordinator for Fox Valley. Lauren now resides in Chicago and is a recent graduate of Loyola University Chicago where she obtained her Masters in Social Work. Lauren enjoys working in the healthcare setting providing support and resources to patients and families experiencing life altering situations. In her free time she enjoys trying new restaurants and running outdoors. Her favorite part about GiGi’s is getting to meet all the new families and participating in the Naperville Half Marathon!  

Emily, GiGi's Playhouse Fox Valley Board Member

Emily Chen

Board Member, 2019 – present 

Emily became involved in GiGi’s Playhouse Fox Valley in 2019 because she wants to support an organization that plays an integral role for families. Prior to GiGi's, she served on the PTA Board at Graham Elementary, has held leadership roles within the school community, and was also an Early Childhood Special Education teacher.  In her free time Emily enjoys volunteering at Buddy Up Tennis in Naperville and taking photographs.  Emily is a mother to 3 boys, and also has a sister with Down syndrome who has always fueled her passion for being involved in the community. 

Andy-pic

Andy Doyle

Board Member, 2019-present  

Andrew works as an attorney in the Fox Valley area running his own private practice.  Outside of work he enjoys spending time with the family.  Some activities the family enjoys are playing in the snow or ice skating on their homemade ice rink, swimming in the summers, or anything else his daughters suggest. 

Andrew has always wanted to be part of the community and help to make a difference and was inspired to join the Down Syndrome community at GiGi's Playhouse Fox Valley because of his god daughter Samantha and lifelong friends. She has truly been in inspiration to so many and Andrew is so grateful to help out an organization that hits close to home.  

Being still relatively new to GiGi’s Andrew is still learning all the amazing opportunities that GiGi’s Fox Valley makes available to the community.  Andrew so far has enjoyed helping out and getting to know the families that attend the Crawlers and Walkers program. 

 

Joe, GiGi's Playhouse Fox Valley Board Member

Joe Catalano

Board Member, 2019-present 

Joe Catalano has been involved with GiGi’s Playhouse Fox Valley since 2014 and joined as a board member in 2019.  Joe is married to Kristin and proud father to Audrey and Samantha. After receiving a pre-natal diagnosis for their daughter Samantha, their family quickly connected with the Down syndrome community at GiGi’s Playhouse. 

Professionally, Joe is a risk management and insurance specialist with an insurance brokerage in Chicago.  He also serves on the board of the Professional Liability Underwriters Society, a professional organization serving the insurance industry.  

He is active volunteer in the Naperville community and coaches soccer with the Naperville Park District.  In his free time, Joe enjoys running, playing golf and spending time with friends and family. 

Frank, GiGi's Playhouse Fox Valley Board Member

Frank Catalano

Board Member, 2019 – present  

Frank Catalano is a lifetime Chicagoan. In 1979 he graduated from Northern Illinois University of a Human Resource Degree. For the past 40 years he has been employed in the Commercial Property Insurance Industry.  Frank is active with the Knights of Columbus as Grand Knight, Blood Drive Coordinator and various other charitable committees.  For the past ten years, Frank and a group of friends and serve dinner once a quarter at the Hesed House Homeless Shelter in Aurora.  Frank, and his wife Mary, are proud parents of 4 children and 8 grandchildren and they enjoy family time very much. 

Emily R pic

Emily Rosenberg

Board Member, 2019-present 

Emily Rosenberg has been involved with GiGi’s Playhouse Fox Valley for the past 5 years as a program leader for Dance @ GiGi’s and in 2019 she joined the Board of Managers.  Emily is a dance instructor at Steps Dance Center and a recent grad from North Central College.  In her free time Emily enjoys spending time with her son, Brady- especially at Disney!

Other Key Positions

Site Coordinator: Katie Vaughan
Program Coordinator: Perla Bolivar
Volunteer Coordinator: Isabel Fernandez
New Family Coordinator: Mayfe Zurita
Literacy Coordinator: open position
Math Coordinator: open position
Outreach Coordinator: open position

Program Leaders (font in another color):

2 & Under: Alison Hoffman and Karen Larson
Bowling w/ NCHS: Steven Ondrus
Cooking Club: Veronica Rios
Dance @ Steps: Emily Rosenberg
Drama Troupe (Buddy Theater at A Special Place): Cheryl Butler
Fantastic Friends: AU students from Therapeutic Rec, instructor Kris Johnson
Hispanic Playgroup: Monica Archbold and Mayfe Zurita
Little Aces: Alyssa Girgis
LMNOP: Theresa Versace
Playhouse Pals: Kelly Streff
Super Sibs: Perla Bolivar & Isabel Fernandez
Teen Tastic: Tanya Jarvis

Literacy Tutors:

Amita Gowda
Devanshi Kothari
Amber Tinney
Sue Catalano
Rebekah Salazar
Mary Hoffman
Mary Claussen
Lori Reifsteck
Shreya Dudeja
Diya Sharma

Interested in joining our board of managers?

Submit an email of interest with a Board of Managers application to foxvalley@gigisplayhouse.org.