Amber Dame, Site Manager
Amber Dame has a Bachelor’s in Exceptional Education and a Master’s in Educational Leadership. They also have a Non-Profit management certification from UCF. Dame has 20 years of experience in Education and the Non-Profit sector. Dame has taught students from birth to age 22 and understands the power of belief and high expectations in others. When they are not at GiGi’s they enjoy time with their family, time in nature, spirituality, and concerts.
Kyle Hollis, Speech Language Pathologist
Kyle is a nationally licensed and certified Speech-Language Pathologist who received his Master's Degree from MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, Massachusetts. He has worked with a wide range of clients from 1-year-olds through seniors in high school. Kyle loves focusing on communication skills that impact clients and their families in the real world. Outside of the speech room, you can find Kyle marathon training, propagating new houseplants, or playing with his mini golden doodle, Copper!
Savannah Nelson, Program and Volunteer Coordinator
Master's in Marketing and Project Management from Florida State University. She is a Florida native, born and raised here in the Tampa Bay area. Her love of organizing, planning, and project management brings an exciting perspective into her role as Project Coordinator. If you ever spot her out of the office, she is more than likely with her dogs, attempting a new baking recipe, or trying to become an avid runner.
Marketing Coordinator - Alicia Zappala, firstname.lastname@example.org
Literacy Coordinator: Evelyn Mazur, email@example.com
Math Coordinator - Yan Ping Qi, firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteer Coordinator: Savannah Nelson, email@example.com
Outreach Committee Chair: Amanda Bucalo, firstname.lastname@example.org
Outreach Committee Co-Chair: Diana Bernal-Silva, email@example.com
Participant Outreach Committee
Mary Frances Smith
GiGi’s Playhouse Tampa Board of Directors
Amanda Cordero, President
Amanda is a mother to two children, one of which was born with Down syndrome. He was her first, and so her introduction to motherhood was intense with being unaware and then his first few weeks in the NICU. But it taught the whole family how strong and determined they were, and how beautiful the new world they were about to enter was. Amanda graduated Summa Cum Laude with her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Grantham University with a special needs 2 year old and a newborn. It took a lot of organization and scheduling, but she made it work. Amanda also has several years of experience in the veterinary field but spent most of her working career in sales and Concierge Property Management for affluent residents in the Tampa Bay area. Amanda also has several years of experience fundraising and event planning for her children’s school. Amanda is somewhat of an artist and loves to take things that may have been discarded and make them into something new. Amanda’s overall philosophy is that anything can be beautiful if you’re looking at it the right way. And what she sees when she’s looking at our friends at Gigi’s Playhouse is pure love, pure joy, and pure innocence, and she feels compelled to share that with the rest of the world. The Playhouse not only supports and educates an underserved demographic, but it also spreads awareness and inclusion throughout the community. What this organization gives to Amanda’s son his friends is so powerful, that supporting Gigi’s and its board is the least she can do to say thank you.
Christos Nicolaou, Vice President
Christos possesses 40+ years of diversified experience in business process improvements, strategic planning, operational excellence, and project management within the Aerospace and Defense industry. During his career, he was recognized as an unwavering change agent, a dedicated educator and a passionate mentor. He earned a B.S. degree in Industrial Systems Engineering from the University of South Florida and has been a Professor of Practice at USF’s College of Engineering since 2006. Christos and his wife Deloris are members of Saint John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa where he served as the President of the Parish Council and as a Board member of its Elementary School.
His grandson, Lukas, has Down syndrome and, at an infant age, had to undergo a surgery to correct a heart defect associated with DS. Lukas loves coming to GiGi’s Playhouse!
“Lukas is our true inspiration! I am honored and privileged to have the opportunity to serve on the Board of Managers.
Robin Tourlakis, Secretary
Robin Tourlakis is excited to join the GiGi’s Board. Robin earned a BSBA from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, as well as her MHA from UNC-Charlotte, North Carolina and a nonprofit certificate from Duke University. Robin grew up in Southwest Florida and after completing her education in 2003 returned to Florida. Robin learned of GiGi’s Playhouse when her best friend’s daughter, Sophia, was diagnosed with Down syndrome. Robin’s experience has been as a Supported Living and Employment Coach for people with I/DD and advocating as a waiver support coordinator. For the last 14 years, Robin has worked with a quality assurance organization in Florida to assure quality Medicaid Waiver services. Robin was drawn to GiGi’s due to their core values of acceptance and inclusion and how the Playhouse was structured to include outreach and advocacy. In her free time she spends time with her husband and son.
Joyce Hicks, Treasurer
Joyce is a seasoned professional with over two decades of finance and operational experience within the Banking industry focused on delivering accurate and timely results. Joyce recently retired from Bank of America after nearly 25 years of service. She is a North Carolina native and earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting (Summa Cum Laude) from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University - “Aggie Pride”. She has a servant leadership style and approach, with an innate ability to establish rapport and influence across organizations and diverse teams. Joyce’s personal mission and Purpose is to make every day count while being a beacon of light and bringing a bit of sunshine to each day.
Joyce discovered GiGi’s Playhouse when searching for volunteer opportunities in the Tampa Bay area. GiGi’s Playhouse is an attractive option because its mission is aligned with the fundamental principle Joyce believes: “Community makes the journey of life much more fulfilling as God did not create us to do life alone”. At GiGi’s Playhouse, they are committed to empowering families; and families are what makeup communities.
Joyce is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and in her free time enjoys spending quality time with her husband Sammy and their four daughters; outdoor activities; traveling; and family gatherings.
Nick Altieri, Board Member
Nick has been a participant of GiGi’s Playhouse Tampa since it opened in 2018 and was also a member of the start-up team. Nick enjoys helping with the Fantastic Friends program and being with his friends. He is also a member of the Participant Outreach Committee and regularly advocates for individuals with Down syndrome while spreading the word about GiGi’s Playhouse. He is currently employed at the Julianne M. Holt Hillsborough County Public Defender Office and has been for almost 10 years. He also works part-time at Clean Juice. Nick’s goal is to help families who have children with disabilities including Down syndrome. He would like to be a mentor, example, and a role model for the younger generation and especially children with disabilities and Down syndrome.
Michael Bucalo, Board Member
Michael Bucalo is a Merrit Island native who has called Tampa home for nearly 15 years. He attended the University of Florida and Santa Fe College earning a degree in Construction Management. Currently a partner and Vice President of Friedrich Watkins Tampa, he has been involved in the design and build of many Bay Area staple projects at The Straz, USF, University of Tampa, The Florida Aquarium, Amalie Arena, Zoo Tampa and Busch Gardens.
Michael is an avid hockey player and fan. He has a passion for volunteer work and advocating, and is a member of the University Of Tampa Board Of Counselors and a founding chair person with the American Cancer Society Associate Board of Ambassadors. Michael discovered GiGi’s Playhouse while researching programs for his newborn son Mason who has Down syndrome and immediately reached out to get involved in the playhouse.
He resides in Wesley Chapel with his wife, sons Mason and Merrit and two dogs.
Sam Piazza, Board Member
Sam has been a participant of GiGi’s Playhouse Tampa since its inception in 2018 and was a member of the start-up team. Currently, he is an active member of the playhouse’s Participant Outreach Committee. He is an employee of PDQ and has worked there for more than ten years and is also a former volunteer safety officer at Grace Family Church. Sam had a documentary film created about him called “Because of Sam”. He is a twenty-time Karate Medalist, two-time Trophy Champion, completed eleven belts and is a First-Degree Black Belt. Sam has received two commendations from Tampa City Council and Commissioners, received the Model Citizen of Hillsborough County Award given by Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, is a former Five Time Campaign Manager of Best Buddies International
Sam loves spreading the mission and the word about GiGi’s Playhouse Tampa and enjoys helping families with disabilities (Autism, dyslexic, Disabled and Handicapped) including Down syndrome. Sam’s goal is to be a role model for the younger generation
Jaimie Reeves, Board Member
Jaimie is the president and founder of Elite Insurance Solutions which is a property and casualty insurance agency that specializes in commercial insurance. She works one-on-one with business owners, evaluating their risks, and providing them with insurance options to help protect them from future claims.
Jaimie has over 25 years in the insurance industry. Jaimie’s attended the University of Florida, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in criminology.
Jaimie lives in Land O’ Lakes with her husband Brad and two sons Tommy and Adam. She has three children in college, her daughter Mackenzie attends UCF; her son Nate attends USF; and her son Seth attends Trinity Baptist College on a baseball scholarship.
Jaimie is honored to be a part of Gigi’s board and looks forward to helping increase sponsorships so that more individuals with Down Syndrome can benefit from Gigi’s services.
Jenn McCambridge, Board Member
Jenn McCambridge is a passionate and dedicated, 20-year veteran special education teacher with deep-rooted ties to the field. Growing up with a father who was also a special educator, Jenn was inspired from an early age to follow in his footsteps and make a positive impact on the lives of students with special needs. Jenn first started her career as a teacher that supported students with orthopedic impairments in Decatur, GA (12 years). She was nominated as the "2013 Teacher of the Year" at Laurel Ridge Elementary in Decatur, GA. Jenn and a parent of the school, Victoria Seahorn, started an after-school running club, which included students with disabilities.Upon moving to Tampa, FL, Jenn worked at Wilson Middle School as a Varying Exceptionalities teacher and ESE Lead Teacher; and later at Coleman Middle School as a Varying Exceptionalities and an Access Math teacher in Hillsborough County Public Schools. Jenn is currently a District Resource Teacher supporting students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disabilities in Regions 1, 5, and 8 in Hillsborough County Public Schools. Jenn is very excited to start her new chapter as a member of the board of Gigi's Playhouse. She is honored to be a part of an organization with such a meaningful purpose.
Jessica Silber, Board Member
Jessica Silber is the owner of Elevate Advocate LLC. She provides Educational Advocacy for students with disabilities.
Jessica has dedicated her career to supporting both children and adults with all disabilities. For the last 16 years she has worked in various roles including executive positions within community agencies supporting advocacy, services, and inclusion.
Jessica has an BA in Psychology, MBA with a focus in non-profit management. In addition, she continues to participate in trainings about disability, inclusion, advocacy, and services.
Advocacy for all children to have inclusive opportunities that contribute to their future success is one of the many reasons for joining the Gigi’s Playhouse board. She strongly believes that a diagnosis does not define an individual, nor does it determine their strengths or future success. Jessica is excited to support Gigi’s mission and continue the great work.
Jessica lives in Odessa with her husband and son who has special needs ( and soon to be newborn).