Our Team

board2

Our team is excited to bring GiGi's to Arkansas. We have a diverse group of people - parents, doctors, lawyers, service providers, industry entrepreneurs, lawmakers - who are all committed to changing the perspective of Down syndrome in Arkansas.
From left, back row:
Jenine Stafford, Secretary
Michael Christian, Advisory Board
Dr. Michael Taylor, Tutoring Coordinator
Bradley Binns, Advisory board
Tricia Ambeau, Treasurer
(middle row)
Mark Cekoric, Advisory board
Celeste Connor, Board President
Lainey Morrow, Board Secretary
Sen. Breanne Davis, Advisory board
(front)
Katy Sursa, Site Director
Bekka Wilkerson, Advisory board
Beth Stamp, Managing board
(not pictured)
Suzanne Huetter, Vice President
Brittany Boccher, Managing Board
Dr. Steven Kahler, Advisory Board
Dennis Dixon, Self Advocate / Board of Managers

Celeste, GiGi's Playhouse Little Rock Team Member

Celeste Connor, Board President / Outreach Coordinator

Celeste Connor, her husband Dave, Jr. may not be “southin” natives, but they sure do love the South. So much so that after seven years of residency in Louisiana, they decided to setup shop in Little Rock and make the South their permanent home.

Despite professional success, Celeste was not fulfilled after over 25 years in Information Technology, beginning in desktop pc support and ending as a PMP managing multi-functional hardware and software implementation teams. So, she decided not to return to work when her son was born and instead, she pursued a lifelong dream to focus on motherhood, family and community involvement. As the daughter of a Mom with 40+ years’ experience as a Special Educator, Celeste was consistently inspired by the propensity of those with different abilities to be tenacious, supportive, and accepting of one another. When their son David III “D3” was born and diagnosed with Down syndrome, it was apparent that God had a plan all along!

After moving to Little Rock, Celeste met a group of Rockin’ Moms and Dads who felt FREE therapeutic services, support and an inclusive “brick and mortar” place to hang out was really needed. She joined that team and 3 years later, helped to open the first GiGi’s Playhouse in Arkansas.

For the last 2 years, Celeste has served on the Managing Board, and as the Outreach Coordinator. As President, she hopes to lend her organizational management and strategic planning expertise, sense of humor, and passion for advocating toward changing the way Little Rock sees Down syndrome and other developmental and learning disabilities and pursue acceptance for ALL!

Suzanne Bio Photo

Suzanne Heutter, Vice President

Suzanne Huetter is the Vice President for GiGi’s Playhouse Little Rock Board of Managers. She and her husband, Tom, have three children Sam, Matt, and Sarah. Suzanne has worked for Arkansas Children’s Hospital since 1997 as a registered nurse and since 2008 as a pediatric nurse practitioner. For almost ten years she worked in the Genetics department and provided care and treatment for infants, children, and adolescents diagnosed with Down syndrome throughout the state. Currently she works in the Plastic Surgery and Neurosurgery department at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Suzanne plans to continue advocating and providing support for people with Down syndrome as well as their families. She is honored and beyond excited to be a part of GiGi’s Playhouse because it allows her to continue using her passion for Down syndrome awareness, education, and inclusivity. She is excited not only for all that GiGi’s Playhouse offers to the Down syndrome community, but also the ways it will benefit the city of Little Rock as well as our state as a whole.

Tricia, Gigi's Playhouse Little Rock Team Member

Tricia Ambeau, Treasurer

Tricia Ambeau is the founder and Treasurer of GiGi's Playhouse Little Rock. Tricia and her husband Chad have 3 children Grant, Olivia, and Emmalin (who has Down syndrome).  Tricia has a background in accounting and finance as a comptroller for over 20 years. She became interested in GiGi's Playhouse following Emmalin’s birth and her passion to change the language from “I’m sorry” to “congratulations”.  Tricia is devoted to sharing the most up to date medical and therapeutic options for Down syndrome.  Tricia believes that everyone, no matter their diagnosis or age, deserves to live in a world that helps them achieve their best.

Jenine Headshot

Jenine Stafford, Secretary

Jenine Stafford is a member of our founding startup team and currently serves as Secretary of the Board. Among the many hats Jenine wears, she is most proud to be Mom to her son Michael who rocks an extra chromosome. By day, Jenine is a financial advisor for Thrivent Financial where she is dedicated to helping all families prepare for their financial futures. She also devotes her time to speaking engagements around the state for families with a loved one with a disability to educate about financial options for the family and preparing for their loved one’s future. Jenine also runs a program called Buddy Boxes which provides a free cooler of food and drinks to families when their loved one with Down syndrome is in the hospital.

Lainey Bio Photo

Lainey Morrow, Marketing Coordinator / Board of Managers

Lainey Morrow is the Marketing Coordinator for GiGi's Playhouse Little Rock. She and her husband, Ron, have one daughter named Lila who has Down syndrome. After receiving a prenatal diagnosis, Ron and Lainey were quickly presented with the option to terminate her life. Both are thankful they considered Lila's health above the grim future doctors had painted for her. Lila is a vibrant, little girl who loves to swing, to color, to eat blackberries, and to laugh. Lila has persevered through many obstacles already in her short life. Inspired by her, Ron and Lainey are dedicated to making this world a better place for people with Down syndrome.

BethStamp

Beth Stamp, Managing Board Member

Beth Stamp is owner of Allied Therapy and has made her career helping individuals with Down syndrome and other delays as a physical therapist. Beth serves GiGi’s as a board member and is passionate about exercise, physical movement, and health related programs.

Dennis Dixon, GiGi's Playhouse Little Rock Team Member

Dennis Dixon, Self Advocate / Board of Managers

Dennis Dixon is a loving husband and fierce advocate for individuals with Down syndrome. As a native of Beebe, Arkansas, he uses his voice and life’s story of courage and overcoming obstacles as a way to inspire Arkansans with disabilities to be always be working for a new #BestOfAll. Dennis is committed to the mission of GiGi’s Playhouse in changing the way the world sees a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Dennis is currently enjoying his retirement from a career as an auto-mechanic and renaissance man. He lives independently with his wife, Cecelia, in Beebe. Dennis loves to visit his family on weekends and watch his favorite football team, the LSU tigers. As a board member for GiGi’s Playhouse, Dennis acts as a Community Engagement Ambassador doing public speaking and media outreach activities.

Brittany, GiGi's Playhouse Little Rock Team Member

Brittany Boccher, Managing Board

Brittany is a proud mom to a sweet and sassy little girl and a loving and joyful little boy who was diagnosed at birth with Down syndrome. She is an advocate and philanthropist at heart who has managed to maintain a career, be an active and supportive stay at home parent, an advocate for families with special needs, and a caregiver to her now retired wounded warrior husband.

Brittany founded the Down Syndrome Advancement Coalition as a way to establish a unified group of organizations that meets the needs of the Down syndrome community.  She believed not ONE organization alone could meet every need of our community, but realized by working together and utilizing the strengths of many, we can meet the needs of individuals diagnosed with Down syndrome and their families.

Brittany is a community leader, entrepreneur, and military community engagement consultant who has been involved in community leadership since 2005. Over the course of her career, she has presented to, advised, and shared ideas with community leaders throughout the nation.

Bradley Binns Bio Photo

Bradley Binns, Advisory Board Member

Bradley Binns is an advisory member of GiGi’s Playhouse Little Rock’s Board of Directors. Bradley is a licensed attorney who received degrees in both Political Science and Criminal Justice from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and a Juris Doctor from William H. Bowen School of Law. He became interested in GiGi’s Playhouse following the birth of his nephew, Eli, who has Down syndrome. Bradley is excited to be a part of a wonderful team whose mission is to enhance the lives of those within the Arkansas Down syndrome community. He believes that everyone deserves a chance to achieve their goals and looks forward to creating an environment where there is no limit on what can be accomplished.

Mark-C.-headshot

Mark Cekoric, Advisory Board Member

Mark Cekoric is a retired business director of a multi-national chemical company with degrees in Chemistry and Business Administration and extensive experience in product and market development and contract negotiation. He and his wife Lorraine, a retired special education teacher, recently moved to Little Rock to spend more time with their grandson with Down syndrome. Mark and Lorraine were introduced to Gigi’s Playhouse by their daughter and fellow board member, Celeste. In Arizona, Mark was the Pro-life Director for a local council of the Knights of Columbus and actively involved in the Knight’s Tootsie Roll Drive for People with Intellectual Disabilities as well as advocating for the protection of those unborn diagnosed with Down syndrome. He and his wife are committed to volunteering and doing whatever they can to assure that Gigi’s Playhouse, Little Rock, is a great success.

Michael Bio Photo

Michael Christian, Advisory Board

Michael Christian is on the Advisory Board for GiGi’s Playhouse Little Rock. Michael has been married to his beautiful bride, Julie, for 9 years and they have 4 children Logan, Bryson, Ana and Price. Michael has the personality of a best friend or favorite relative. His passion ignites every area of his life. Not only is his last name Christian, he is one and lives out his faith daily. Michael has two great passions in life: caring for kids and helping families that have children with special needs. By day, Michael is the National Sales Director at Total Medical Supply. He spends his working hours as Michael “The Diaper Guy” by helping supply foster children and children with special needs with their medical supplies. Michael is delighted to serve the Down Syndrome community through GiGi’s.

Senator Breanne Davis, GiGi's Playhouse Little Rock Team Member

Senator Breanne Davis, Advisory Board Member

Senator Breanne Davis proudly serves the community of Russellville in the Arkansas State Senate in addition to her role as a small business owner and advisory board member of GiGi’s Playhouse Little Rock Board. Senator Davis also is the proud mother to 3 beautiful children including little Everly who has Down syndrome. Her role as a wife, mother, senator and business owner gives her a unique perspective and ability to serve her community on behalf of the Down syndrome community and for all Arkansans.

Dr. Steven Kahler, Advisory Board

Bekka Bio Photo

Bekka Wilkerson, Advisory Board Member

Bekka Wilkerson is the Special Events Coordinator for Civitan Services, Bryant and has a huge heart for individuals with special needs. She holds a Master’s degree in Disability Services with emphasis in Ministry from California Baptist University and is married to Speedy Wilkerson. Bekka uses her talents to further the rights and awareness for individuals with special needs through her daily occupation and also in her volunteer services. She currently serves on the GiGi’s Advisory Board of Directors.

Michael Bio Photo

Dr. Michael Taylor, Tutoring Coordinator

Dr. Michael Taylor currently holds a B.A. in Spanish from University of Arkansas at Little Rock, a M. Ed. in Counselor Education from UALR, a M.S.E in Special Education, and an Ed. D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. He is the Assistant Special Education Director for Bryant Schools and has dedicated his life to helping those with special needs excel in the public school system. Dr. Taylor is a dedicated educator, loving husband and kind father to two beautiful children, Trent and Olivia. His wife and he are also passionate about adoption and working with children from hard places. Dr. Taylor actively works with his church’s children’s ministry to develop programs for youth and children such as no-cost ACT prep courses. Dr. Taylor serves on GiGi’s Advisory Board of Directors and looks forward to bringing GiGi’s Playhouse Little Rock to life! He believes families of children with disabilities need to know that others share their story.  They are not alone. GiGi's is just one great option for connecting families of children with Down Syndrome and other developmental disabilities; that's a win for everyone.

deb platt

Deb Platt, Volunteer Coordinator

Deb Platt is grandmother to beautiful little Allison who has Down syndrome. Deb is a retired Project Manager and is a wiz at organization and staffing. She handles most staffing and scheduling of volunteers for GiGi’s Playhouse Little Rock and conducts volunteer orientations. She is the primary contact for volunteers and works closely with the Site Director and Board of Managers to ensure smooth playhouse operations.