Editor’s note: Through 2022, FlexPack VOICE® will feature a short profile on a member of the FPA team based in Annapolis, Maryland. This is a way for you to get to know those you work with in a more personal way. Gigi Deere is FPA’s director of membership and meetings.
FlexPack VOICE®: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Gigi Deere: I am the oldest of eight, and I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where most of my family still resides. My dad is one of nine, so we have a huge Italian family—my maiden name is Mascellino. I moved to Maryland in 1984, but I try get home as often as I can. With that many, there’s always something going on.
FPV: What was your career path and how did you end up at FPA?
GD: I’ve always wanted to take care of people and help them succeed. In my last position before FPA, I worked for an organization that researched drug and alcohol abuse. In fact, one of our scientists there designed and made the interlock breathalyzers for cars. Unfortunately, it was a government-funded program, and the money ran out. At that time, I had four children at home, so when the job was done, I stayed at home to raise my kids. When they were old enough and it was time to return to work, I was selective in where I wanted to work. I didn’t want to drive into DC anymore. When I saw the ad for FPA, I was intrigued and applied. I was hired in 2016.
FPV: Describe your duties with FPA. What do you like best and what are some of the challenges going forward?
GD: As the director of membership and meetings, some of my duties include taking care of our members, which I love to do, and making sure they have everything they need to help grow their businesses. I also attend trade shows and conferences to check in on our members and introduce myself to them. Sometimes the people working at trade shows aren’t necessarily the ones in the company whom I deal with, and they don’t know that FPA is a source of information that they have at their fingertips. I also meet with other companies to let them know how valuable FPA is to the industry and why they should join. In doing this, I also create a mental card catalog for when someone asks, “Hey Gi, do you know anybody who does this?”—why, yes, I do!
I help in planning our yearly meetings by going to different cities to find the perfect hotel, negotiating to get the best prices, etc. Once we have a meeting, I help with their registrations and the activities planned—golf, fishing, sightseeing—and make sure everyone has what they need and meets who they need to meet.
During membership renewal at the end of the year, I send out invoices and update forms for their companies to see if any changes need to be made. I also maintain our membership database and nonmember lists. Some challenges are, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic and not having quite as many people attending functions. Supply and demand have prices going through the roof, so people are cutting spending, and unfortunately, being a member of an association sometimes gets cut also.
FPV: What do you like to do when you are not working? Also, do you have a favorite sports team?
GD: I love to hang out with my friends. We have girls’ weekends at the Outer Banks a lot and are always going someplace new for the weekend. I play in a weekly dart league with them. When I was younger, my hobbies were gymnastics and cheerleading. When my daughter was younger, I was her cheerleading coach. My favorite football team was Washington, but now they’re something different, and I have to find a new football team because I just can’t deal with the owner, Dan Snyder. Don’t even get me started.
FPV: Anything that you would like to say about your family?
GD: My husband is a homicide detective of 32 years in Prince George’s County, Maryland. We have four children. One daughter is a stay-at-home mom with two beautiful babies, a boy, Riley, and a girl, Zoie—my grandbabies. My son was a Marine—once a Marine always a Marine—and now works as a policeman in Prince George’s County with my husband. My other daughter works in my husband’s family’s sign shop as a graphic designer. And my youngest has now enrolled in the Marines.