We were fortunate enough to able to send seven of our team members to the GiGi’s Playhouse 2019 National Leadership Conference in Chicago, IL, and to say our that team was overwhelmed – and reenergized – with enthusiasm, inspiration, and knowledge would be a true understatement. We cannot wait to do it again next year – after our Playhouse is open!

It was a very eventful and busy four days. We attended numerous sessions about how to prosper as a business, how to obtain and maintain funding, and how to successfully serve our community. Each of us gained an enormous amount of information that will assist us in successfully opening GiGi’s Playhouse Sacramento in 2020.

As a startup in Northern California, where there are no other Playhouses nearby, one of the highlights of the conference weekend was touring GiGi’s Playhouse Hoffman Estates. This was the first time most of us had seen a Playhouse in person! The facility, which included GIGI U, Hugs & Mugs, a GiGi’s Get Fit Gym, and so much more, is jaw-dropping. We were able to learn and gather many ideas on how we can build our facility here in Sacramento. We also had the privilege to meet and converse with over 300 attendees across 46 Playhouse locations who shared various experiences and so much knowledge. Everyone was so kind, welcoming, and eager to share everything they know in order to help Sacramento succeed.

It was eye-opening for our team to see the extent to which GiGi’s is run as a business, as opposed to “just” a nonprofit. The content and flow of the conference would rival that of any professional business conference, and the sheer volume of international growth and success GiGi’s Playhouse has had in such a short time is truly inspiring.

The cherry on top of an amazing conference experience was meeting, interacting with, and learning from all the incredible self-advocates who participated across the event. Being able to witness so many adult individuals with Down syndrome delivering speeches, introducing the session leaders, and (of course!) getting down on the dancefloor during the banquet on Saturday night was magical, to say the least.

We ended the weekend with a team strategic planning session where we outlined our short- and long-term goals, utilizing our newly-gleaned knowledge and tips to map out a plan on how to successfully achieve them. We have a fantastic team working tirelessly on getting GiGi’s Playhouse Sacramento’s doors open in 2020, and the conference has renewed and reinvigorated us in order to redouble those efforts. See you all at the Playhouse very soon!

GiGi’s Playhouse Sacramento Board


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