Caroline Tate, Site Manager
Caroline lives in Raleigh with her husband Sam and two large, loveable fur babes. Her passion in life is to create social involvement for people of all ages, disabilities and backgrounds, so GiGi’s Playhouse mission, to change the way the world sees Down syndrome is a passion that resonates through her daily lifestyle. She feels honored to be the Site Manager and have a role in empowering individuals with Down syndrome. She leaves every day with a full cup, grateful that a day at GiGis means experiencing joy, acceptance and love.
Lynsey Meissner, Site Coordinator Assistant
Lynsey Meissner is a senior at UNC Chapel Hill studying Human Development and Family Studies. She has worked within the special needs community throughout high school and college and hopes to attend graduate school in Occupational Therapy in the coming years. She originally came to GiGi’s in Fall 2018 as an intern through UNC and is so excited to continue with GiGi’s!! Lynsey has learned so much from her friends with Down Syndrome and is passionate about providing a place for them to share their gifts with the community.
Jeanhee Hoffman, President
Jeanhee is from Chicago, Illinois but has been in Chapel Hill since 1999. She is married to Jeff and they have two boys, ages 18 and 16. Jeanhee’s 44-year-old brother, Sam, with whom she is very close, has Ds and lives in the Chicago area with their parents. Sam enrolled in GiGi’s adult program in May 2015 and Jeanhee decided to open a GiGi’s Playhouse in NC. Jeanhee has worked in retail management, human resources, sales, and marketing. She is currently the Vice President of Marketing at C.W. Henderson & Associates, Inc in Chicago and has been with this firm for 21 years.
The mission and vision of GiGi’s Playhouse is obviously a true passion for Jeanhee and she views this endeavor as not only benefitting Sam, but others as well.
Michelle Schwab, Vice President
Michelle lives in Holly Springs with her husband Robert, 16-year-old Will, 18-year-old Ben and 20-year-old Matthew who has Down syndrome. After 20 years as a stay-at-home mom, Michelle works as a special education teacher’s assistant. Michelle became involved in the Ds community when Matthew was born and has been involved since that time. She longed for a place to go when Matthew was a baby and has wanted a GiGi's Playhouse in the Raleigh area since learning about it 12 years ago.
Rachel Geer, Secretary & New Family Co-Coordinator
Rachel and her husband Ed live in Chapel Hill with their three boys, TJ (14), Deuce (6) and 1-year-old Kendall who has Ds. Rachel & Ed place a strong emphasis on education and GiGi’s Playhouse will be an integral part of helping Kendall reach his full potential. Rachel works as a Government Contract Rebate Analyst at GlaxoSmithKline.
Maria Fumagalli de Romano, Board member / New Family Coordinator
Maria, is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina and lives in Chapel Hill since July of 1993.
She and her husband Francisco have three children, Maria age 26, Lucia age 21, who has Down syndrome, and Francisco age 19. She has been a stay at home mom for most of her kid's upbringing and volunteered in the early stages when Triangle Down Syndrome Network was being formed. In 2015 Maria was a part of the GiGis Playhouse Raleigh start up committee, she is currently on our board and the coordinator of new families.
For the past 9 years, she has been working at UNC Craniofacial Center as a Spanish Interpreter.
Michelle Pfeiffer, Outreach
Michelle lives in Cary with her husband and three children, Andrew, Anna, and Ashley. Her daughter Anna has Down syndrome and provides the passion for her to help improve the lives of individuals with Down syndrome. Michelle is also the Founder and Director of Anna’s Angels Foundation, a nonprofit foundation focused on funding Down syndrome research at Duke Children’s Hospital and Health Center. Anna’s Angels mission is to improve the cognitive and communicative ability of individuals with Down syndrome.
Emily Faulkner, Operations Coordinator
Emily Faulkner became Operations Coordinator in 2017. Alongside Caroline, she has joy-filled days at GiGi's engaging with participants and their families & our amazing volunteers, all while helping ensure the Playhouse runs smoothly. The best thing about GiGi's is seeing the positive impact it has on so many families and the community each day! After graduating from NC State with a degree in Nuclear Engineering and Spanish, she worked at Duke Energy for 10 years before joining GiGi's Playhouse! In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband Scott and their dog Copper, reading books, cooking, watching sports and venturing around Raleigh with friends & family.
Glenn lives in Morrisville with an English Springer Spaniel named Freckles and a Guinea pig named Buttercup. He retired from academia in 2012 after a 28-year career as a college finance professor, then began working in corporate finance for a large healthcare system in Toledo, OH. Glenn moved to North Carolina in March of 2016 to begin a second retirement. He has been volunteering at GiGi’s Playhouse-Raleigh since the Grand Opening in June of 2016 and thoroughly enjoys every minute!
Raven grew up in Cary, North Carolina and currently lives in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina with her husband Adam and their daughter. Raven’s oldest nephew has Down syndrome. Raven is a family law and adoption attorney licensed to practice law in the state of North Carolina. Her law firm, Brooks & Byrne, PLLC is located in Cary, North Carolina.
Raven has been serving on the board and volunteering at GiGi’s Playhouse Raleigh since early 2017. She also helps coordinate and welcome new families to our Playhouse. Raven is honored to serve and empower those with Down syndrome and their families to reach their highest potential through the programs and services offered at GiGi’s Playhouse Raleigh. The joy and love surrounding GiGi’s Playhouse is contagious! It is a true blessing and honor for me to work with and serve these families!