Room Circus Medical Clowning Logo The Room Circus Clowns
    .....where humor and the healing arts meet
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Board of Directors

Board President Victoria Millard

Board President Victoria Millard received an international education in the art of clowning and has had a long career of performing and teaching in the art form. As co-founder of Room Circus Medical Clowning, she wears many hats, including in-kind administration and an occasional in-kind stint as one of the hospital clowns. Victoria looks forward to joyfully tossing off some of those hats as Room Circus rapidly develops and grows. Nonprofit board experience includes Board Presidencies of Ear to the Ground, S.L.A.P.P—Seattle's Loosely Affiliated Physical Performers, Offshoot Mime Company, and member of the board of Prospect Congregational Church. Victoria majored in Theatre at the University of Washington and received a degree in English from the University of Iowa. A former magazine editor and writer, she presently writes poetry, monologue and memoir. As the wife and mother of a family who all chose health care as a profession, she is outnumbered as a clown, but when sharing her Room Circus stories, all enthusiastically agree that laughter is medicine!

Board Member Carrie Wernick Board Secreatary Carrie Wernick has provided case management and/or mental health therapy to children, youth and families since 1991 in medical centers and community settings, including the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic of Seattle Children's Hospital, Luther Child Center in Everett, Catholic Community Services of Seattle, Ruth Dykeman Children's Center and Kent Youth and Family Services. Carrie earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Wisconsin and her Masters in Social Work at the University of Washington. In 1998, Carrie and her work partner were instrumental in earning the Washington State Golden Apple Award for top five educational programs (Teen Parent Program). Having served on six previous boards and several commissions, Carrie comes with a wealth of leadership experience, all with the aim of improving the lives of children and creating closer-knit communities. Previous board service includes Mercer Island Youth and Family Services, Fremont Arts Council, and Seattle’s African American/Jewish Coalition for Justice. Carrie has a passion for helping those in need, especially children. When she heard about Room Circus, and the therapy the clowns provide to sick children, she knew she had to get involved. Carrie lives with her husband on Mercer Island, and enjoys spending time with friends, exploring new restaurants, making art, skiing, and traveling.
Board Vice President Michael de Groot Board Member Michael de Groot was born and raised in Seattle and is a graduate of the University of Washington. Michael has worked with startups for over fifteen years, as a founder, a member of the executive management team, or an advisor, and has had two successful exits. He started his career with United Parcel Service in Seattle, from the shop floor to management positions in industrial engineering and operations. He has worked for Ernst & Young, and for Alcoa as an internal auditor. He holds an MBA from the Tepper School of Business. He has served on the Board of the University Family YMCA. Michael had been hearing about hospital clown doctors for years from his close, personal friend, André Poulie, who founded a similar program in Switzerland that has spread to multiple countries; so, when André introduced him to RCMC, Michael jumped at the opportunity to serve in such a meaningful nonprofit. While Michael does not have experience in The Art of Clown, nor a prestigious degree from Clown School, he has been awarded an honorary MCA (Master of Clowning Around).
Board Member James Thompson Board Member James Thompson has been a life insurance and investment professional for the past 20 years, placing in the top 10% in his field in the nation. He is the current Board President of Seattle/Eastside NAIFA - National Association of Insurance and Financial Professionals, and past Board President of Richard Karn Star Days, with whom he raised charitable funds for Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center and Children's Hospital. Jim has a lifelong passion for clowning and humor, which began in the late 1970's with liturgical drama at Seattle's University Congregational Church. The following decade he taught clowning and drama to teenagers and children at Echo Glen and Seattle Children's Hospital. A Seattle native, he lives in Ravenna with Julie, his wife of twenty-three years; two children--daughter Rebecca and son MacGregor; and two dogs - Starbuck and Tala. He enjoys family time, hiking and fishing, and good friendships.
Board Member Olivier P. Martinez

Board Member Olivier P. Martinez is a Financial Advisor with Waddell & Reed. He assists his clients in pursuit of their personal financial goals. Olivier relocated from Paris to join his wife in Seattle in 2010. He is an active member of the Emerald City Rotary Club to support children’s education. He is also involved in the French community (expatriate organization Board member of UFE Seattle; Membership Committee of the French American Chamber of Commerce of the Pacific Northwest); and the international community (Ambassador of InterNations Seattle). Olivier believes in laughter and humor to help children overcome their illness.

Board Member Marc Grau originally from California, is a French-American who came to Washington State University over 20 years ago. His education taught him finance & risk management, yet his heart led him to marketing in Seattle’s high-tech industry. Marc works for Avanade, a global company based in Seattle helping clients achieve greatness through technology. Having worked for technology companies as a marketing professional, he is always looking for the story behind the product. Life certainly keeps him busy because he also owns a small coffee shop, the Frog and Kiwi Cafe! When the opportunity came to join Room Circus, Marc smiled and said yes, without hesitation. He experienced first hand how important laughter can be when his 8 year son was in the hospital with Guillain-Barre Syndrome for three weeks. Like his family, Marc wants others to have the same experience of joy while in the most difficult times. An expert at ‘faire l’imbécile,’ Marc is always looking for the humor in life. He has a daughter & son (both under 10), enjoys the outdoors, wine, great cuisine, biking, music & documentaries.

Board Member Howard Gross

Board Member Howard Gross is a Management Consultant with expertise in organizational development and business transformation for non-profit and for-profit organizations of various sizes--from Fortune 500 companies to startups. These include Intel, Electronic Data Systems, Kaiser Permanente, Premera Blue Cross, and Blue Shield of California. He has an extensive background helping organizations determine who they want to be (mission and brand), how they want to get there (strategy, vision, tactics and plans) and developing or transforming these organizations to achieve their desired goals. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School, an MBA from San Diego State University and a B.A. in Management Science from The University of California, San Diego. Howard enjoys traveling, mountain and road biking, music, movies, theater, improvisational and stand-up comedy. He wanted to help Room Circus because he has personally experienced the pain and isolation of being confined to a hospital and how laughter can make you forget about your woes, and would like to help provide this joy to every person who needs a little comic relief.

Room Circus Medical Clowning
This program is supported in part by grants from the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, 4culture (King County Arts Commission), Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Sponsored by Seattle Office of Arts & Culture
Sponsored by 4Culture (King County Arts Commission)
Sponsored by Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA)
Sponsored by National Endowment for the Arts


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