National Leadership Conference 2021

Every November, GiGi’s dedicates 4.5 days of training and development for our national network of 60+ playhouse and startups at our Leadership Conference.  Attendees will include playhouse volunteers, staff, and board members from all across North America who come together for networking and learning opportunities related to our mission.

On the First Day of Conference, GiGi’s Playhouse Gave to Me- Training for the Newbies and a meeting with THE GiGi

All New Staff met at the National Office in Hoffman Estates on the first day of conference.  Read about the experience of Valerie Picciano, the Syracuse Operations Coordinator who attended conference her first week on the job!

“The first thing that inspired me on the first day of training was the amount of passion that everyone had and I saw that throughout the entire conference.  It was also inspiring to meet everyone from all over the country and to hear their personal stories about how they got involved with GiGi’s.

I was amazed that when I went to the Playhouse on Wednesday, that everyone there knew that it was only my third day.  Everyone from the Playhouse’s across the country and National staff were so friendly and welcoming.  Meeting our Chief Belief Officer, Nancy Gianni, and THE GiGi was off the charts, wow talk about passion and inspiration!

I really bonded with the women from Raleigh, New York City, Twin Cities, Fort Meyers, and Francisco from Miami.  They gave me a great understanding of the structure of their playhouses and the relationship with the board. I especially enjoyed the sessions that had a panel of people from different playhouses that spoke to the training topic and have open discussions. I was made to feel very comfortable and welcomed even though it was only my first week!”

On the Second Day of Conference, GiGi’s Playhouse Gave to Me- Salesforce Tips and Speed Dating SOE’s

Joe Catalano, board president, and I were in attendance on Thursday.  We started the day reviewing our Standards of Excellence with a round of speed dating.  I networked with Liz from Hillsborough and Roy from Charlotte. Each session following increased our knowledge of how to make our Playhouse reach its best of all.  The sessions attended include:

  • Powerful Event Messaging Through the Entire Lifecycle
  • Adding Cross Filters and Filter Logic to Salesforce Reports, listviews and Dashboards
  • Accounting and Bookkeeping Success Strategies
  • Boost your Social Media Reach with Ads and Other Great SOCi Features and Content
  • Giving Families and Volunteers a Voice
  • Fitting Data Cleanup into Your Daily Work Schedule

On the Third Day of Conference, GiGi’s Playhouse Gave to Me- Trending Metrics and GFAC, Yippee!

I flew solo on Friday, but did not miss an opportunity for a selfie with Chief Belief Officer- Nancy Gianni.  Today was filled with learning about the areas of strength and areas for growth for Fox Valley by looking at the numbers.  I networked with the phenomenal board of managers from Wausau and learned how to make GFAC a stellar event like Quad Cities Superhero Run or Wausau’s Glow Run.  The sessions attended include:

  • Trending Metrics by Peer Group
  • The NEW GiGi’s Training Site
  • Fundraising Made Easy with Do It Yourself Peer to Peer Campaigns
  • Peer Group Roundtable
  • Fundraising Bootcamp

On the Fourth Day of Conference, GiGi’s Playhouse Gave to Me- Inspiration for 2022

On Saturday we started the day with sharing our definitions of 2021 and our hopes for 2022 and followed with the keynote address from Amanda Booth.  Amanda was the 2nd person interviewed on the A Little Something Extra Podcast.

Board Vice President from Syracuse writes: “Saturday came and I was ready… or so I thought. I am not an emotional person but hearing Amanda Booth and Kelle Hampton talk about motherhood and learning their children had Down syndrome and not knowing what to do was emotional. My aunt has Down syndrome and has been with my parents since I was 5, so I have never known anything different. However to hear these moms talk about the struggles and how they made a commitment to never let anyone see their kids as different was a new level! It makes you realize how much more we need to do to help inform new parents of all the opportunities GiGi’s can help with.”

Sessions attended on Saturday include:

  • Successful Run/Walk Logistics for Planning your GiGiFIT Acceptance Challenge
  • Launching the GiGi’s Amina Grace Speech & Language Program
  • The Payoff of Investing in your Volunteers
  • Workshop: Build your 2022 Event Schedule and Fundraising Plan
  • Preparing for the Career Development Programs

On the Fifth Day of Conference, GiGi’s Playhouse Gave to Me- Strategic Planning

Thank you Joe Catalano and Andy Doyle for attending the Sunday session on strategic planning.  We are so excited for what the future has in store for GiGi’s Playhouse Fox Valley!!!

National Leadership Conference 2021 Highlights


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