Our Board Members
Jennifer Gage, Founder GiGi’s Playhouse Scottsdale/Phoenix, Co-Board President
Hello, I'm Jennifer Gage, a proud long-time resident of Arizona and a dedicated parent to four wonderful children. In 1996, my life took an extraordinary turn when my oldest daughter, Kaitlyn, was born with Down syndrome. Fueled by a passion for making a difference, I spearheaded a start-up committee in 2013, raising funds to establish GiGi's Playhouse Phoenix.
Over the past decade, GiGi's Playhouse has grown exponentially, from serving 85 families to now supporting over 1,000 families with a Down syndrome diagnosis, encompassing individuals from prenatal diagnosis to adulthood. Witnessing the positive impact it has had on the community fills my heart with joy.
In addition to my dedication to GiGi's Playhouse, I am a proud business owner of six StretchLabs, which I have successfully nurtured for the past five years. This venture has allowed me to combine my entrepreneurial spirit with my drive to help others.
My efforts and commitment to making a difference have been recognized by receiving the esteemed ASU 100 award for Sun Devil entrepreneurs.
I firmly believe that every individual has the power to create positive change, and I am determined to continue advocating for inclusivity, support, and opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome and their families.
When I'm not busy with my various pursuits, you can find me enjoying quality time with my children, exploring the beauty of Arizona, and finding inspiration in the small joys that life offers.
Stephanie Gage, Co-Board President
It is a privilege to be returning to GiGi’s Board as President. I am fortunate to be a part of the 10-year growth of GiGi’s Playhouse. Our mission and core values have influenced my own life to be kinder, more generous and accepting of all. I love meeting the most inspiring participants and their families and work alongside the most caring and dedicated program leaders and volunteers as they bring to life GiGi’s extraordinary programs. Working with GiGi’s I see firsthand how GiGi’s programs help children to stand, and then provide that little bit of help they need to stand up for themselves. I see the impact GiGi’s has on parents as their fear dissipates when welcomed by new families ready to celebrate their child and share their experiences.
After retiring from a lifelong career as an executive with the Estee Lauder Companies, I enjoy sharing more of my time with my family. As grandmother to four of the smartest and most caring people I know, I have learned how important acceptance is in their new world. It is my pleasure to be a part of GiGi’s Playhouse, GiGi U, GiGi’s Studio Café and the GiGiFIT Studio as we prepare our participants and our community to be more kind, more generous and more accepting of all.
Kenda Gonzales, Board Treasurer
Kenda grew up in the Valley and has been active in our community, previously serving on the Board of Directors of Sojourner Center, Xavier College Preparatory and Phoenix Children’s Hospital. She has more than 30 years of executive management experience leading corporations. Her background includes serving as a CFO and public company board member and she is a certified public accountant. Kenda and her husband Ed, are parents to three children and six grandchildren. Baker, their fifth grandchild and only grandson, has Down syndrome. Our family found GiGi’s shortly before Baker’s birth and he has attended the LMNOP program. Kenda is excited to be involved in GiGi’s Playhouse mission of helping change the way the world sees Down syndrome.
Stacie Wylie, Board Secretary
Stacie Wylie has a long history of service and community involvement. Prior to her career in the insurance industry, she worked as a high school English teacher and coached the Academic Decathlon team at Desert Ridge High School. In the past 15 years in the insurance industry, she has served customers through her service in claims, quality assurance, tech support, and corporate responsibility. She currently works as a Corporate Responsibility Analyst where she reviews grant requests from non-profit organizations and organizes volunteer and community events. A lifelong learner with a passion for education, Stacie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Education with minors in music and studio arts, an MBA with an emphasis in Accounting, certificates in Data Analytics and Developmental Disabilities, and several insurance designations. In her free time, Stacie loves spending time with her family. Her son, Liam, has a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and Autism—you will frequently find them at GiGi’s jamming at ukulele class, playing soccer at Lil’ Sports, dancing at Dance Mania, or doing science experiments at Kids Club. Stacie is very involved in the Down syndrome and Autism communities and enjoys volunteering for organizations that serve the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities and other youth focused organizations.
Christopher Hall, Immediate Past President
Chris, along with his wife Kristin, has been active in the Down syndrome community since the birth of their son Tyler in 1994. An entrepreneur, high school basketball coach, and advocate for individuals and families impacted by Down syndrome, Chris joined GiGi’s Playhouse after 25 years in the technology space, working with some of the biggest brands in the industry. Chris is passionate about providing resources, programs, and support for individuals with Down syndrome and their families from birth to adulthood - with a special focus on caregiving, public health and supporting aging adults where resources are especially limited and rare. Chris holds a BA in Business Administration and a BA in Management from the University of Phoenix, has served as a board member for Special Olympics of Western Colorado, and the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce. Chris, Kristin, and Tyler live in Scottsdale, and golf as often as possible with Tyler behind the wheel of the cart.
Christel Baker, Director
Christel is a wife and mother of four wonderful adult children. Christel is a former substitute Public School Teacher who found her calling when teaching children with special needs. In 2017 she became a literacy tutor as an entrance into the GiGi’s Playhouse Community. A year later she was named the Director of GiGi’s Career Development Program. Her team brought GiGi Prep and GiGi University to our Phoenix community. Under her guidance in bringing GiGi Prep and GIGI U to Phoenix, she developed and executed a curriculum that is now used network wide by other playhouses with Adult Education Programs. There have been four classes of graduates since we began, and now many of them have moved on to internships in our Studio Café. In 2021 her husband retired, and she stepped down from the Director of Career Development position to spend more time traveling with family. But she wasn’t about to leave GiGi’s! It is a huge part of her life. Currently, in addition to being a member of the board, she is the Coordinator of Adult Programs, and volunteers with GiGi Fit, our Studio Café and other areas as needed. She looks forward to working with the board and all the GiGi’s families in the coming years to bring out the “Best of All” in all of us.
Laura Currier, Director of Medical Outreach
A very active member of the community and resident of Arizona for 36 years, Laura joined GiGi’s Playhouse Phoenix three years ago as the Program Leader for GiGi’s Signature Language, Music ‘N Our Peeps (LMNOP) program. She is proud of the progressive growth in the Phoenix program since her start. Laura holds a BS in Speech Pathology/Audiology from Bradley University and a Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology with a Minor in Special Education from Arizona State University as has been a professional Speech Pathologist with the public school system for more than 16 years. Laura currently serves as the PTO Board President for Kiva and Mohave Schools and is a member of the Desert Foundation Auxiliary Board. As a fitness enthusiast, Laura coached Special Olympics for many years and was a Board Member and Board President for Xavier Girls Preparatory School. Laura is married and mother to three young adults.
Jamie L. Mayrose, Director
I am a founding member of Rader Mayrose, LLP, a small firm dedicated to providing effective, efficient legal services to small companies, non-profits, and schools. In addition to my law degree, I also have a master’s degree in higher education administration with a focus in business. Prior to opening my own firm, I worked for several national law firms. I am originally from the great Hawkeye State (“Is this Heaven? It’s Iowa.”) and have lived in Arizona since 2005. I previously served on the board of a small non-profit working with at-risk youth. For the past seven years, I have served on the board of a large non-profit that is one of the oldest arts organizations in the country. On both boards, I have held numerous officer positions, including board president. In my free time, I hike, spend time with my dogs and friends, and frequently return to Iowa to visit family.
Kameron Moody, Director
Kameron moved from California to Scottsdale in 2020 at the perfect time to try out Arizona...June. Finding some relief from the heat at the Sweet Republic Ice Cream shop next to the Playhouse, her son Austin ran to the door of GiGi’s and pressed his face against the glass, begging to go inside. Having just moved from Orange County where Kameron had been on the startup committee for that GiGi’s location, she knew they had found their home. She contacted the Playhouse the next day, and the rest is history. Kameron is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has been in practice since 1999. She is a mom to two incredible kids, Avery and Austin, who has Down syndrome. Kameron and her husband Caleb, co-lead the Little Sports program for GiGi’s, and are so happy Austin led them to the GiGi’s Playhouse here in Phoenix!
Louann Phillips - Director
Louann Phillips is a proud Arizona native who grew up in the West Valley. She learned young (from a father who was a small town Police Chief and a mother who always volunteered) that helping others in need is rewarding.
After graduating with both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Arizona State University, she began her career as a marketing, communication and event planning professional, both employed by and consulting with a variety of nonprofits. When she learned of GiGi’s Playhouse and their purpose to send a global message of acceptance for all, she was hooked.
Most rewarding to Louann is her role as a mother. She enjoys time with her daughters Annabelle and Klara, whether it be shuttling them to activities or joining them in discovering the amazing dining options our community offers.
Peter Short MD, Director
After 25 years caring for children in a private practice of Pediatrics and 18 years as the Chief Medical Officer in our local community hospital, I retired on October 1, 2021. During that time I cared for many children with all varieties of disabilities. I was impressed with the love and dedication those parents have for their children and wanted to give back to those families when I retired for what they taught me that helped me be a better Pediatrician. As the Chief Medical Officer at Beverly Hospital in Beverly, Massachusetts my focus was on providing the highest quality of care for our patients. While I was Chief Medical Officer we received straight “A” ratings from the Leapfrog group, putting us in the top 99th percentile of hospitals in the country. I live in Scottsdale for part of the year and have volunteered at GiGi’s since I retired. As a member of the Board of Directors I look forward to helping GiGi’s provide the highest quality services to their participants and families.
Nicole Wheatcroft, Director
Nicole is a CPA and Chief Financial Officer of Casa Grande Elementary School District with over a decade of experience in Nonprofit and Arizona School Finance. Nicole came to GiGi's in 2016 shortly after her second son Jude was born with Down syndrome, and has been advocating for families ever since. She lives in downtown Phoenix with her sons Lincoln and Jude and is active in the Coronado Historic Neighborhood community.
Robin Lea-Amos, Executive Director
Robin is the inaugural Executive Director of GiGi’s Playhouse Phoenix. Robin is a nonprofit professional with more than 10 years of experience in grant administration, board governance and communication, management, public speaking, meeting and event planning, development, fundraising and community engagement. She is also the proud grandparent of Jackson, who was born in 2015 with the incredible gift of Down syndrome.
Robin most recently graduated from the ASU Lodestar School with an Executive Leadership Certificate and has been an active member of several nonprofit boards, including Special Olympics of Arizona, GiGi’s Playhouse Phoenix and Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation.
She and her husband spend as much time as possible with their children and grandchildren and have become advocates wherever they can to educate people on Down syndrome. In her spare time, Robin quilts, practices yoga and hikes on the many Valley trails that she has called home since moving to Arizona when she was six months old.
Sarah Hales - Speech-Language Pathologist
Sarah attended the University of Missouri-Columbia and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Education, with an emphasis in Early Childhood. She received her Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Kansas in 1995. She's practiced as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) in Arizona since 1998. Sarah has worked with a variety of ages, populations and disorders throughout her career. Her areas of expertise include Early Intervention, Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) and treating motor-speech disorders.
Sarah has been actively involved with the Down syndrome community in Arizona for more than 20 years, as a volunteer as well as professionally. She's one of only nine SLP's in the United States who belong to the Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group - USA (DSMIG-USA), a group of health professionals committed to promoting the optimal health care and wellness of individuals with Down syndrome across the lifespan. Joining GiGi's Playhouse Phoenix to oversee and grow the speech therapy program is "a dream come true!" Sarah loves living in Arizona! She's a hiker, bike rider, and hobbyist photographer. She volunteers as a Steward for the McDowell-Sonoran Conservancy - you may see her greeting you at one of the trailheads around Scottsdale!
Cathy Judge, Operations Manager
As a member of the initial Startup Committee for GiGi’s Playhouse Phoenix more than 8 years ago, Cathy joyfully accepted her role to co-manage operations of the site. Cathy’s extensive operations management experience was invaluable in the startup of the Phoenix Playhouse. As the grandmother of a young adult with Down syndrome and the mother of GiGi’s Playhouse Phoenix Founder, Jennifer Gage, Cathy is passionate about the success of the Playhouse and is grateful to serve the hundreds of families who refer to it as their “home away from home.”
Sophia Lentz, Operations Coordinator
"I am a Phoenix, AZ native, and I wear the "eldest among my five siblings" badge with pride. My professional path is driven by a deep-seated desire to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. With experience in early childhood education and applied behavior analysis, I've honed my skills to better serve my community.
The moment I stepped into the Playhouse; my heart felt like it had found its home. GiGi's Playhouse resonates with my core values, and I am truly thrilled to be a part of something so special.
In those moments when time allows, I cherish time with family and friends, as well as the company of my beloved pup, Blue!"
Angela Sherrill, Programs and Volunteer Coordinator
With over two decades of dedicated experience working with children, families, volunteers, and programs, Angela is a seasoned professional in the realm of child development. Her journey has been marked by a deep-rooted passion for nurturing young minds and witnessing their growth and watching them flourish.
Angela's personal life is just as fulfilling as her professional one. She has been happily married for 23 years, and her two daughters are the absolute center of her universe. In her eyes, they are the source of boundless joy and inspiration.
When she's not immersed in her work or spending cherished moments with her family, Angela is a self-proclaimed Swiftie – an ardent fan of Taylor Swift. Her love for Taylor Swift's music adds a vibrant dimension to her personality and showcases her appreciation for artistry.
Join Angela as she continues to weave her passion for children and her love for family and music into the tapestry of her life, creating a rich and harmonious existence filled with love, laughter, and meaningful connections.
Cindy Simpson, Director of Adult Learning - GiGi Prep & GIGI U
Cindy and her husband, Tim raised their two boys, Tyler and Brady (both at ASU) in Scottsdale for the past 16 years after moving from their home state of California. She has been a substitute teacher with the Scottsdale Unified School District for the past 12 years and continues to sub when not working or volunteering at GiGi’s Playhouse, her “Happy Place!” Now an empty nester, Cindy joined us as a volunteer for our Literacy Tutoring Program (virtually) and quickly added in the GiGiFIT program to her schedule. Cindy has volunteered or worked in the special education arena since high school and was thrilled to join the GiGi’s family! “GiGi’s Playhouse is my favorite place to be!”