Sandy Juarez, President
Sandy is a Certified Project Manager with expertise in financial management, operations analysis and performance monitoring. She has a 11-year old daughter, Ella, with Down syndrome who amazes her every day! She wants to show the world that Ella is capable, she is worthy, and she is loved. The free therapeutic and educational programs that GiGi’s offers to individuals are very much needed in the greater New Orleans area, and Sandy loves the Generation G campaign which encourages people to “Be Accepting. Be Generous. Be Kind.” In other words, to accept her daughter for who she is, and to get to know her talents and abilities.
Bob Kimbro, Vice President
Bob is a CPA who has over 40 years of experience in public accounting and consulting. He started his career with Arthur Andersen and in 2002 moved to EY, after the demise of the Andersen firm. In 2005, Bob was appointed as the Office Managing Partner for the EY Louisiana practice. In that role he led a practice with over 10 partners and approximately 200 professionals providing audit, advisory, tax and transaction advisory services to businesses throughout Louisiana and Mississippi. He retired from public accounting in 2018 and since that time has assisted both nonprofits and small organizations with fundraising and organizational process development. He currently serves on the Boards of United Way of Southeast Louisiana; the Louisiana/Mississippi chapter of the Leukemia, Lymphoma Society and GiGi's Playhouse New Orleans. Bob is committed to bringing GiGi's Playhouse to New Orleans to enable those individuals with Down syndrome to fully develop their physical skills and knowledge to allow them to live their lives to their fullest, just as we envision for everyone.
Lisa DiRe Harris, Secretary
Lisa is a Software Test Engineer. Her beautiful 14-year-old daughter has Down syndrome. She inspires Lisa every day with her warmth, enthusiasm, openness to trying new things, and amazing sense of humor! She is working to bring GiGi’s to New Orleans so that those in our community whose lives are touched by Down syndrome have a welcoming place they can go to for support every step of the way - from new parents sharing ideas with one another through adult career, fitness, and social programming. She is so excited to make these opportunities available to families!
Lory Cenac Lewis, Treasurer
Lory is a Certified Public Accountant with experience auditing private, public, and international clients. She is blessed with a wonderful husband and adorable children, one of whom has Down syndrome. Lory became involved with GiGi's because she agrees with the mission of changing the way the world views Down syndrome through education so that people with it will become accepted and embraced in their families, schools, and communities.
Craig Blackburn, Board Member
Craig is a Peer/Self-Advocate and motivational speaker. He has travelled throughout the US sharing the messages of ability, inclusion, and full participation in life for all. He has been on numerous boards that advocate for individuals with Down syndrome and other special needs and has met with legislators on issues for the betterment of lives of individuals with Down syndrome.
Katie Cox, Board Member
Katie owns a full-service event company offering catering, coordination, and staffing. Whenever possible she works with charities pro bono on fundraising events. She wants parents who have just received the Down syndrome diagnosis to have a place to go that welcomes them with open arms, so they can understand they are not alone and everything is going to be ok. She wants that child to have all the tools they need to reach for their goals and feel a sense of community and belonging. She wants that child to grow into a productive adult with independence, friends, skills, and confidence. She would like to help remove stigma and promote love and acceptance. Nancy Gianni created the concept for GiGi’s Playhouse and gave us the tools we need to recreate it in our communities so she says, why not bring it to New Orleans!
Emily Lippold Gummer, Board Member
Emily is a registered patent attorney and partner with Carver Darden, LLC specializing in intellectual property matters. Emily is inspired by the individuals she knows with Down syndrome and their families and is committed to making our community a more accepting place for those with Down syndrome. She values giving back to her New Orleans community and looks forward to using her experience and connections from her previous volunteer work to make GiGi’s Playhouse New Orleans a huge success!
Karen Kersting, Board Member
Karen Kersting considers herself a naturalized citizen of New Orleans, where she has resided since 1982. She is the owner of Alane Design, an interior design studio that has been in business for more than 30 years. Karen has a deep commitment to volunteerism that focuses on improving lives and community. She is a recipient of Rotary’s Paul Harris Fellow award, a team member receiving the Don Turner Award and recognized by New Orleans City Business as one of their Women of the Year. She volunteers on the board of GiGi's Playhouse as a gift of friendship to her neighbors and their daughter with Down syndrome.
Dani Kennedy, Marketing Committee
Dani is a Digital Marketing Manager in the Tourism industry. She is "Auntie" to her best friend, Lyndi's son, Solon, who has Down syndrome. She loves the mission and purpose of global acceptance and free programs for individuals with Down syndrome. New Orleans doesn’t have anything like it, and she's super excited to bring this amazing opportunity to her community.
Chaps Tucker, Events Committee
Chaps is a mergers and acquisitions advisor. He grew up in Texas with his cousin Melissa who has Down syndrome. Before moving to New Orleans, he helped his aunt who started the first GiGi’s Playhouse location in Texas in his hometown of El Paso. Chaps is excited to open up the GiGi’s Playhouse in New Orleans, share the message of GiGi’s and educate, inspire and believe with the community.
Lyndi Dobbs, Program Committee
Lyndi is an Occupational Therapist and mom to her fearless 5 year-old son, Solon, who has Down syndrome. As an occupational therapist and Down syndrome mom, she knows the importance of early intervention to help children reach milestones and build a foundation for continued learning. She also knows the importance of family education and support that is beneficial for new families receiving a diagnosis. GiGi’s is a place where families and children can receive services and resources to help improve their lives and can encourage inclusion within the community.