Our Team

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Rosella Lofaro, Operations Manager

Rosella Lofaro comes to GiGi’s NYC with over 12 years of experience working in the non-profit social service sector. She earned her Master of Social Work from Fordham University, her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Manhattan College, and enjoys making a difference in communities.

In her personal time, Rosella enjoys traveling, listening to music and spending quality time with her friends and family - especially her two young nieces.

Rosella joined the GiGi's Playhouse NYC team in August 2020.

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MacKenzie Leger, Programs Coordinator

With a background in social justice, MacKenzie is passionate about forming communities that love and support one another. She graduated UNC Chapel Hill in 2019 with a Bachelor's in History & Peace, War, and Defense. She went on to work as the Step2/Volunteer Coordinator at StepUp Durham, a nonprofit that helped participants gain employment as well as the supportive services needed to maintain employment.

MacKenzie joined the GiGi’s Playhouse NYC team in March 2022.

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Megan Moore, Special Educator of Adult Programs

Megan joins GiGi’s NYC with a strong background in education. She graduated from SUNY Cortland with a bachelor's degree in Childhood Education and Hunter College with a master's degree in Special Education. She currently holds a NYS certification in Childhood Special Education. She has a passion for educating children and adults of all ability levels.

Megan’s teaching experience includes progressive education, NYC DOE programs, private teaching & tutoring. Megan has worked closely with SEITS, Occupational Therapists, Speech Language Pathologists and Physical Therapists, helping students work toward their individual goals. She believes in celebrating individuals and allowing them to be the best versions of themselves!

Megan loves spending time with her husband and two daughters, traveling, reading and being outside.

Megan joined the GiGi’s Playhouse NYC team in April 2023.

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Erin Ushakov-Zhang, Programs Manager

Erin Ushakov-Zhang comes to GiGi’s NYC with over 15 years of experience working in the educational and non-profit sector. She earned her Master of Counseling Psychology in Art Therapy from Prescott College, her Master of Arts in Museum Studies from Harvard Extension, and her Bachelor’s in theater and visual arts from Naropa University. Erin has spent most of her career working with Neurodiverse students or participants as either a teacher or a therapist.

In her personal time, Erin enjoys visiting museums, reading about history, making art, spending time with her family and walking her Corgi Pumpkin.

Erin joined the GiGi's Playhouse NYC team in March 2024.

Co-Founders

Debbie Morris
Tracy Nixon

Board of Directors

Jane Providenti, Board Co-President

Jane Providenti is a Vice President in the Wealth Management Credit Risk Department at Deutsche Bank. During her 25+ year career at DB, she has held a variety of positions within the Global Finance Division overseeing businesses in Investment and Corporate Banking, Asset and Wealth Management and Regional Finance for the Americas. She holds an MBA in Finance from New York University and has 3 children.

Yamira Siu, Board Co-President

Yamira Siu is an Executive Assistant at Société Générale (SG) in the Global Banking and Advisory group with over 20+ years of experience and Co-President of DiverseAbilities, SG's Employee Resource Group (ERG).

Yamira joined the Board of GiGi's NYC in 2019, and is the Chair of the Outreach Committee, Co-Chair of the Parent/Caregiver TableTalk and Chair of Charla Familiar (TableTalk en Espanol) and became Co-President of the Board as of January 2021.

She has volunteered for numerous organizations in the Harlem Community such as Figure Skating in Harlem ("FSH"), America Scores, and GiGi's NYC since 2012.

She currently lives in Harlem, NY and has four children and her youngest son, Malik Jabbaar is a member of GiGi's NYC and huge advocate for the Down syndrome community.

She completed two years of studies at Pace University, NY and decided to pursue other opportunities.

Joyce Gottbetter, Vice President, Member of Board of Directors

Joyce Gottbetter is with Microsoft and leads the sales and technical cloud teams that partner with their US Health and Life sciences customers. Joyce joined Microsoft in 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Prior to joining Microsoft, Joyce was Vice President of Sales at IBM, where she led a global sales team, and from 2010 to 2015, Joyce was in Shanghai, China, where she successfully built and led multi-cultural teams in the emerging markets. Joyce started her sales career in New York City.

Joyce is a graduate of New York University Stern School of Business with an MBA in Marketing and Finance and The Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering.

Joyce and her husband, Brian, have a daughter, Meredith, and a son, Joshua, and enjoy traveling internationally. Joyce is committed to giving back to her community and is an active volunteer of New York Cares.

Joyce joined the Board of GiGi’s Playhouse NYC in 2020, and is the Board Vice President.

Michael Brown, Treasurer, Member of Board of Directors

Michael works as an underwriter for financial lines at AIG (American International Group), specializing in financial institutions.

Prior to his underwriting role he worked as a financial analyst at AIG supporting forecasting, budgeting, and reporting for the Excess Casualty product lines.

He serves as Co-President for the New York disAbilities & Allies Employee Resource Group at AIG, driving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts across the NYC and US offices.

He is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University at University Park with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance and an Undergraduate Minor in Political Science.

Michael joined the Board of GiGi’s Playhouse NYC in 2021.

Michael Torres, Secretary, Member of Board of Directors

Mike Torres is Vice President of Business Planning and Strategy in the Internal Audit Group at American Express. He manages a broad range of activities including project management, communications and talent initiatives to help ensure business objectives are achieved.

In 2019, Mike served as Interim Vice President of Global Business Services Capabilities where he was responsible for collaborating with colleagues across the Servicing Network, Technology and Human Resources to improve the end-to-end colleague experience. In addition, he managed the technology roadmaps for intelligent automation and data strategy.

Prior to those roles, Mike had positions in both the Finance and Consulting teams at American Express. He completed his MBA in the Executive Program at NYU in 2019.

Mike has been involved in a number of local non-profits: Junior Achievement, City Harvest and Brooklyn Community Services. Mike is passionate about giving back and has been looking for ways to support those who struggle with developmental disabilities, hunger and homelessness.

Mike lives in Tinton Falls, NJ. He enjoys traveling, sports and trying new restaurants.

Michael joined the Board of GiGi’s Playhouse NYC in 2020.

Dorothée Bucquet, Member of Board of Directors

Dorothée Bucquet is joining SMBC Americas as head of Corporate Compliance in the NY office. Prior to SMBC, she spent 16 years in French banks occupying various roles in Finance, Risk Management, Financing Business Lines and Compliance, between Europe and United States.

She earned a Master's Degree in Paris in Financial Engineering. Dorothée worked two years in a non-profit organization in Washington DC in the financial regulatory environment. She is one of Malik’s followers.

Dorothée joined the Board of GiGi’s Playhouse NYC in April 2023.

Venessa Diaz, Member of Board of Directors

Born and raised in Queens, NY, Venessa is a writer, performer and mother of three, two of which are twin boys with Down syndrome. Through her work as a TV writer with Sesame Workshop, Disney Jr. and Moonbug, among others, Ms. Diaz advocates for inclusion and representation of individuals with differing abilities. She is deeply committed to GiGi’s global mission of acceptance and has served as a volunteer for the NYC playhouse, start-up team leader and Founder of the 52nd Playhouse location in Long Island, NY.

Venessa joined the Board of GiGi’s Playhouse NYC in May 2022.

Margret Ditolla, Member of Board of Directors

Margret Ditolla is a project coordinator in the Insurer Consulting Group (ICG) at Marsh. She currently is responsible for organizing, planning and managing special projects and events for the ICG team members as well as ICG’s carrier clients.

Margret began her career at Marsh in 1984. She has worked in various areas of the firm including, Global Risk & Specialties, Global Sales & Strategy, International Human Resources, Global Risk Management & Industry Practices, Finance and was Executive Assistant to the CEO of the Americas. Additionally, she provided on-site support during external conferences from 2006 to 2015. She is a Licensed Property & Casualty Broker in the State of New York.

In addition to her work at Marsh and support of GiGi’s Playhouse NYC, Margret is a member of the Board of Associates at Ronald McDonald House New York. She organizes volunteer meal support dinners and other fundraising events for the House and has served on their golf committee for the Annual Marsh/RMH-NY Golf Outing for the past 16 years.

Margret joined the Board of GiGi’s Playhouse NYC in 2017.

Carol Falcinelli, Member of Board of Directors

Carol Falcinelli is an Executive Director at Atlantic Global Risk. Before joining Atlantic in 2021, Carol held positions as Chief Compliance Officer and Deputy Chief Legal Officer at Accion Opportunity Fund, and Partner with StoneTurn, a consulting firm.

David Kotler, Member of Board of Directors

David Kotler is a Partner with Dechert LLP, an international law firm. David advises and represents clients in a wide range of complex corporate and commercial litigation matters involving the financial markets, with a particular focus on investment advisers, hedge funds, and other financial services firms both within and outside the mutual fund industry. David also frequently counsels boards and senior management on a variety of litigation-related matters.

David earned a Bachelors of Science degree from Cornell (School of Industrial and Labor Relations) and a Juris Doctor degree from NYU.

David splits his time between Princeton, NJ and Spring Lake Heights, NJ. David has three children, Andrew, Emily and Jack.

David joined the Board of GiGi’s Playhouse NYC in 2020. David welcomes the opportunity to involve all of his children in volunteering at GiGi’s NYC.

Michael Lorch, Member Board of Directors

Michael Lorch retired in March 2020 as Senior Vice President of Mergers and Acquisitions at Mastercard, a post he held for the previous 12 years. Prior to Mastercard Michael held senior M&A roles at Ingersoll-Rand and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Michael received an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the College of William & Mary in Virginia. He is a Board member of the Ideal School of Manhattan and a Trustee of Eglise Saint Jean Baptiste in Manhattan.

Michael resides in New York City with his wife, Melot and two daughters. His daughter Christine participates at GiGi’s NYC and his daughter Grace has been a volunteer.

Michael joined the board of GiGi’s Playhouse NYC in August 2022.

Mathew Otte, Member of Board of Directors

Matthew Otte is Director and Senior Counsel at RBC Capital Markets covering the global equities business. He has spent the past ten years in a variety of legal and compliance functions in the securities industry focusing on sales and trading of equities and derivatives.

Matthew earned his undergraduate degree in Business Management and MBA at Providence College in Rhode Island, where he was captain of the Men’s Soccer team. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, CA.

Matthew and his wife, Nicole, live in Chatham, NJ with their two children Paxton and Remy and their rescue dogs, Bella and Cooper. He enjoys playing soccer, surfing and exploring with his kids.

Mathew joined the Board of GiGi’s Playhouse NYC in 2021.

Board Emeritus

Ryan Brown
Ruth Erickson
Liza Galler
Sharon Hart-Fanelli
Gretchen Hayes
Jennifer Patterson
Frank Sawyer

Young Professional Board

Mallory Humphries, Associate Board Co-President; Software Engineer at Avanade
Griffin Rohs, Associate Board Co-President; Insurer Consulting Leader, Marsh USA
Emma Bradford, Associate Board Member; Recruiting Business Manager at JP Morgan, Asset & Wealth Management
Ashley Brescia, Associate Board Member; Project Manager at Union Square Events
Jozelle Cox, Associate Board Member; Senior Analyst, Kroll Bond Rating Agency
Jasmine O. Ferrer, Associate Board Member; SibShops Facilitator at Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, Sibling Council Member for The Arc
Ian Hanselman, Associate Board Member: Research Manager, Edelman
Jennifer Katz, Associate Board Member; Office Assistant at Kennedys Law
Isaac Shapot, Associate Board Member: Demand Gen Lead at Opkey
Mansha Sharma, Associate Board Member; Investment Banking Vice President, Moelis & Co.
Puja Thomas: Associate Board Member; Tax Senior Associate - Development & Exempt Organizations, KPMG LLP

Youth Board

Thomas Braizinha
Benjamin Morris
Annie O'Malley
Allison Providenti
Sebastian Weise

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If your family, foundation, or corporation would be interested in becoming a Founders Circle member, please contact us at nyc@gigisplayhouse.org or (646) 801-7529 for more detailed information about naming opportunities and other ways that we can acknowledge your partnership at the Playhouse