Karen Falk, President
Karen lives in San Diego with her husband and three young children. Her youngest daughter, Lindsey, has Down syndrome. Karen has worked as a civil engineer in the water resources industry for over 15 years and has past experience volunteering on a non-profit Board. She is very excited about all of the wonderful programs and opportunities that GiGi’s Playhouse San Diego will offer her daughter and all individuals with Down syndrome in Southern California.
Vice President - Vacant
Nicole Pascarella Palomino, Secretary
Nicole lives in San Diego with her husband and 3-year-old daughter with Down syndrome. As a project manager for 15 years, she has used her experience to help get the first Gigi’s Playhouse in California open and serve as Board Secretary.
Beth McPherson, Treasurer
Beth lives in San Diego with her husband and son with Down Syndrome. She has worked in the financial services industry for 15 years and joined the team at GiGi’s during the start-up phase, passionate about bringing California’s first GiGi’s into existence! Now serving as Treasurer, Beth is working alongside the team to responsibly finance significant expansion to GiGi’s programs and reach in the community. She is excited to see new families, friends and community partners join the team at GiGi’s!
Stephanie Rais Ortiz, Marketing and Outreach Committee Lead
Stephanie resides in San Diego along with her husband Chris and daughter Annette. She worked in the advertising industry for numerous years and currently works as a business consultant for a diverse group of clients. She is very excited to be a part of Gigi’s Playhouse San Diego and she strongly believes it's a great environment for her daughter and others with Down syndrome to be in. It’s a place where confidence is built, skills are gained and friends are made.
Denise Montero, Office Administrator
Denise was born and raised in Mexico. She’s been living in California for over 15 years. She has a BA in Marketing and has also done vast volunteer work at the Make-A-Wish-Foundation San Diego and Casa de Las Madres in San Francisco. She enjoys spending time with her son and going out for walks with their dog, hiking and swimming – pretty much any outdoor activity!
Mary King, Events Committee Lead
Mary was motivated to come to GiGi’s Playhouse by the idea of offering support to families new to a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Her son Nate was diagnosed at birth and she wanted to share her experience so that they might understand what an incredible blessing Down syndrome is! In total, Mary has 3 young sons and is married to a Marine stationed in San Diego, where they live. She brings over 17 years of event planning experience to the board and enjoys lending those talents to contribute to the success of our young playhouse!