LEADERSHIP

Board of Directors

Claudine

Choquette

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Biography
Claudine Choquette started her career as a Contemporary Dancer after graduating from
LADMMI in Montreal and subsequently at London Contemporary Dance School in 1994.
Claudine performed, taught Contemporary Dance and Ballet for two decades and discovered a
true passion and the wonderful world of Contemporary Circus in the late nineties at Circus Space
(known today as National Center for Circus Arts) while initiated to trapeze and other aerial
apparatus. With an undergrad and Master’s Degree of business administration, Claudine also has
a deep understanding of the slightest changes in the business environment and possess a strong
ability to make connections between various global events and world class organizations.
Claudine founded the Les Ailes du Desir Foundation which will specifically focuses on
articulating a structured and progressive training for under 18 years old that meets specific
hardship criteria such as emotional and/or financial distress in order to introduce and inspire
youth by using circus activities and encourage and allow positive self-expression through the
exploration of movement and different circus discipline.

Cecile

Melanie

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Biography
Cecile moved to Miami in 1989 in pursuance of a career in International Business. Her luxury experience started with the Richemont Group in 1995. She became a trainer for Cartier for the entire Latin America and the Caribbean region for all product lines. Later, she was called to manage top accounts in US duty free and Central America, and progressively was given additional responsibilities and territories. As a Regional Sales Manager, she was in charge of 30% of Cartier’s sales in the region - both local and duty free markets - for watches, accessories and perfume. She launched new products and collection, doubled sales in Mexico airport, increased brand visibility, negotiated contracts, marketing plans, and margins with distributors. She participated in the development of a new distribution software system, and chaired cross- functional projects teams. In 2003, Cartier chose her to lead the Perfume and Eyewear (sunglasses and optical) Division, while she maintained her current accounts. She excelled at leading a team of 6 people and 5 indirect reports. She coordinated all Latin American and Caribbean markets, which accounted for 40% of total sales. Cecile generated a 30% increase in revenue for a total of 500 point of sales.
When she became Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Brand Manager in April 2005, she was pursuing her career goals to take on new responsibilities and enter a new realm of Watch Specialists and Manufactures of the highest caliber. Knowing that the brand’s real potential remained untapped, she generated a 30% increase in sales and optimized client inventory. She managed a team in Miami and directly reported to JLC Switzerland. She contracted Eduardo Novillo Astrada, polo player as Brand Ambassador. She also organized a high Watch Making Salon in Mexico and increased PR coverage and press in the region. Cecile reached her sales objective of 15 millions with 50 point of sales.
After 12 years in the Richemont group, she decided to leave the corporate world, and free-lance between France and USA, in the luxury sector. Her main activities were CRM and marketing activities, media clipping, and business development.
To capitalize on both her luxury experience and her expertise on Miami market and the region, she opted for a new career in retail with Bulgari in Bal Harbour in 2015. Early this year, she was recruited as the new Store Manager for H Stern in Merrick Park. Her main challenges are finding creative ways to clientele and increase sales and to find new talents to assist her in this task. She thrives on reaching objectives, leading a team to success and providing excellent service.
After a bicycle accident in 2017 with her 51⁄2 years old daughter, she had to concentrate on regaining her mobility and energy. She now helps as a part-time French teacher at Sunset Elementary. She served 2 years on the Board of the French International Program Association. With her daughter’s passion for Aerial Circus and Chorus, she enjoys volunteering her time or/and promotion these organizations.

Camillo

Ricordi

Board Member

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Biography
Camillo Ricordi is a diabetes researcher based in Miami, FL. He currently serves as the Director of the Diabetes Research Institute, a position he has held since 1996. He is the Chief Academic Officer of the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami and directs the DRI's Cell Transplant Center. He has been active in stem cell research and its applications for treating diabetes, especially Type 1 Diabetes, and specializes in pancreatic islet transplantation.
Ricordi studied from 1971 to 1976 at the Scientific Lyceum in Milan and graduated Cum Laude in Medicine from the University of Milan in 1982. During his medical studies, he completed internships at the Institute of Central Nervous System Physiology of the National Research Council in Milan and later at the Internal Medicine Department of the San Raffaele Institute in Milan.
After graduating, Ricordi specialized in Gastrointestinal Surgery and Digestive Endoscopy at the University of Milan, obtaining another Cum Laude graduation in 1988. Concurrently, he undertook complementary studies at the University of Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, in the Department of Genetics. He also received training in Immunogenetics and Immunobiology of cell transplants.
Following a stint of military service in the Italian Air Force, serving as a medical officer with the rank of Lieutenant, he took on a role as Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Department of Surgery, Division of Transplantation at the School of Medicine of the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Ricordi's professional trajectory predominantly lies in the educational and scientific domain. He served as the Co-Director of the Executive Office of Research Leadership from 2001-2003, then as the Senior Associate Dean of Research from 2003-2006. Subsequently, he chaired the Dean's Research Office from 2006 onwards at the Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami.
Currently, Camillo Ricordi holds the title of Professor of Surgery and is the Stacy Joy Goodman Distinguished Professor of Medicine. He is also a Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Microbiology, and Immunology at the University of Miami, Florida. In addition, he is the Director of the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) and the Cell Transplant Center.
In 1986, he was part of a pioneering team at Washington University in St. Louis that developed the islet transplant procedure to address the most severe cases of Type 1 diabetes.
Dr. Ricordi is renowned for creating the automated method for islet cell isolation, known as the "Ricordi Method." This method involves the use of the Ricordi Chamber, an innovation that earned him the Nessim Habif World Prize for Surgery at the University of Geneva in 2001. This prestigious accolade recognizes significant advancements in surgical fields. Ricordi's invention revolutionized the process, enabling the acquisition of a higher number of islets from a human pancreas; previously, as many as five or six organs were required for a transplant.
With an illustrious academic career, Ricordi has published in numerous academic and medical journals, boasting over 1,150 scientific publications, more than 45,000 citations, and an H-Index of 99. He has secured 27 patents as an inventor and has been an active participant in conferences and meetings centered around the isolation and transplantation of islets for diabetes treatment.

Jerôme

Sordillon

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Biography
Jerome Sordillon grew up with his mother and grandmother a few kilometers from Lyon, France.
At the age of 4, he started artistic gymnastics and began competing two years later. Motivated by
a desire to learn and to reach perfection, he trained for 16 years. His perseverance has been
rewarded many times, winning several medals in French championships. While studying mechanical computer-integrated manufacturing, Confucius’s quote “Choose a job you love and you will not have to work a single day in your life” suddenly made sense.
Overnight, he took off to Canada and discovered aerial straps at the National Circus School in
Montreal. A new life began for Jerome as he learned aerial straps and hand to hand. Jerome won
a medal at the biggest circus competition of the world in Paris (Le Festival Mondial du Cirque de
Demain). Never forgetting where he came from, he works on every continent and for the most
prestigious circus company of the world, Cirque du Soleil. He is now working on Cirque’s first
ice-show, “Crystal,“ and is always ready for new challenges.

Andrew

Zaro

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Biography
Andrew Zaro has a long standing as a financier & hedge fund manager. He is the chairman of a in Cavalry Investments Holdings (and its predecessor) ran for over 25 years as the CEO where he was responsible for the company’s strategic direction and growth. Calvary Investment Holdings focuses on the acquisition of performing, sub-performing and non-performing loans and is also the chairman of the board of Lancewood Capital LLC. Lancewood is a specialized investor in first mortgages secured by multifamily, retail, office, and industrial properties throughout the United States.
Andrew is the current head of the Board of Trustees of Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School, New York City’s biggest private school. Mr. Zaro is also closely involve with Arizona State University.
He is a member of the USC Thornton School of Music’s Board of Councilors, as well as a board member of Town Tennis in New York.
Andrew Zaro and his wife the actress Lois Robbins currently live in Fisher Island, Florida and have four children and 3 grandchildren.

Darya

Vintilova

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Biography
Darya Vintilova came into the world in Kiev, Ukraine. Her journey into the realm of acrobatics and circus arts began at the tender age of three. Both of Darya's parents were remarkably gifted and accomplished acrobats, garnering awards for their craft. They wasted no time in introducing Darya to the world of sports acrobatics and the circus.
By the time she reached seven years old, Darya had stepped into the spotlight as a professional circus artist for the world-renowned Cirque du Soleil. In their production "Saltimbanco," directed by Franco Dragone, she assumed a central role as part of a hand-to-hand trio act alongside her parents. At just twelve years old, Cirque du Soleil extended an invitation for Darya to create her own swinging trapeze act.
After a rigorous 14-month training under the guidance of trapeze expert Victor Fomine at the International Cirque Du Soleil Headquarters, Darya was ready to take her captivating trapeze act on the road once again.
Darya's prowess led her to compete at the esteemed 27th Cirque de Demain Festival in Paris, France. At the remarkable age of sixteen, she secured the gold medal at the festival. Her journey with Cirque du Soleil continued with the touring show "KOOZA," directed by David Shiner in 2007. Here, she innovated a groundbreaking winch trapeze act that left audiences astounded.
In 2011, Darya bid farewell to Cirque du Soleil to craft her own breathtaking trapeze performance. Her exceptional act took her to the 15th International Circus Festival City of Latina in Italy in 2013, where she earned a silver medal and a recognition for artistic and technical integration quality. Subsequently, she became a part of the well-regarded Canadian contemporary circus company, The 7 Fingers, performing in the off-Broadway show "Queen of the Night" at the Paramount Hotel in New York City.
Her accomplishments continued to flourish. Darya clinched a bronze medal for her trapeze act at the 9th International Circus Festival of Izhevsk, Russia, followed by a first-place victory at the U.S. Aerial Championship with her unique aerial hoop act.
In 2017, she took the stage in "The One Grand Show," donning costumes crafted by renowned fashion designer Jean-Paul Gautier. This show unfolded at the grand Friedrichstadt Palast in Berlin, Germany. The year 2018 witnessed her trapeze act gracing a V.I.P. GALA for Huawei Technologies, where she performed before the King of Spain.
Darya's expertise led to an invitation from the Cirque de Demain Festival in 2019, where she joined the festival's "Jury Board." Beyond her circus accomplishments, Darya is a certified yoga teacher, having graduated from the International Sivananda Yoga Organization in Uttara Kashi, Himalayas, India.
With 25 years in her illustrious career as a professional Cirque artist, Darya currently resides in the Caribbean. There, she presents her rejuvenated winch trapeze act at the Cirque du Soleil resident dinner show titled "JOYÀ," a performance that also caught the spotlight on the German TV show "Der Bachelor." In her leisure moments, Darya wears the hat of a professional event planner, crafting remarkable experiences for entities like the Hyatt Hotel and Cirque du Soleil. And during her free time, she indulges her love for the ocean and trains as a striving professional free diver.

Ana Maria

Recalde

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Biography
Ana plays a vital role within the Global Strategic Initiatives Organization, collaborating closely with strategic clients to establish extensive and enduring partnerships. Her responsibilities encompass driving multi-year collaborative efforts that guide transformational journeys, and she excels at aligning Google Cloud's strategic vision with senior executives and board members. A cornerstone of Ana's leadership lies in her oversight of the Digital Transformation Partnership program, tailored for handpicked strategic clients aspiring to cultivate extensive and mutually beneficial relationships, all while jointly spearheading industry-wide revolutions.
Before her tenure with Google, Ana's professional journey included a significant role at SAP, where she held the esteemed position of Chief Customer Officer for Latin America. Her focus centered on the pioneering Customer First program, which laid the foundation for customer-centric frameworks and provided unwavering support for clients transitioning to cloud solutions. Throughout her time at SAP, Ana held various managerial posts, including Chief Operating Officer for Human Capital Management Cloud solutions, as well as the Vice President of Global Strategic Initiatives for Latin America.
Ana's academic accomplishments mirror her professional achievements. She boasts a Master's degree in International Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Moreover, she has honed her expertise through participation in the General Management Program at the esteemed Harvard Business School.

Interested in joigning the board?

Operating Team

Nicolas

Allard

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Biography
Allard's journey to the stage began at an early age while growing up in France. While most of us take our initial steps on the ground, his took flight in the air. His expertise lies in the realm of swinging trapeze, a specialization that led him to relocate to Montreal at 18 to enroll in the National Circus School. In the year 2020, his talent shone on the grand stage of the 41st edition of the Cirque de Demain Festival in Paris, where he emerged victorious with the competition's esteemed gold medal.
It was on Fisher Island that he first got a taste of the enchanting Magic City. Claudine Choquette, the visionary founder of LADD and a fellow Montreal native, recognized Allard's exceptional abilities early on. This recognition resulted in his exclusive performance in Miami on New Year's Eve of 2021. Understanding the desire for a remarkable escape from the pandemic, Allard and Choquette orchestrated an extraordinary dinner show, enlisting international circus arts performers. The outcome exceeded their wildest expectations, garnering accolades and applause.
Their discovery of Miami's impressive reservoir of talented performers led Allard and Choquette to realize they had struck gold. Their collaboration birthed something entirely novel, pioneering, and immersive. Reflecting on their journey, Allard marvels at Claudine's diverse background – a finance career coupled with a stint in contemporary dance in the UK and consistent trapeze practice. Her unique perspective and insight led her to affirm that "the sun doesn't come cheap, but Miami is brimming with hidden gems." The duo tirelessly dedicates themselves to propelling these artists into the limelight.
Allard's creative ethos revolves around inclusion, rather than exclusion. After contributing to larger cirque companies in Canada, his path led him to the vibrant landscape of South Florida. Just a month ago, he and his partner Charlie embarked on a journey, driving a U-Haul with their two canine companions – a French bulldog and a Doberman – all the way to Miami. The result of their endeavors is that Allard now serves as Circus Artist and Head Coach of the Les Ailes du Désir Foundation. In this capacity, he introduces fresh circus arts talent to Miami and beyond, embodying a philosophy of embracing diverse voices and experiences.

Charlie

Maréchal

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Biography
Charlie has established a reputation as a UX & Graphic Designer with a specialization in entertainment. Notably, he served as Senior Innovation Designer at Cirque du Soleil's R&D Lab "Nextasy". His journey has encompassed involvement in groundbreaking initiatives with globally renowned entities such as Cirque du Soleil, SAP, Boston Dynamics, Roche Pharma, Musée Grévin, and the European Commission, among others. 
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Miami Circus Arts Center is a fictitious name for Les Ailes du Desir Foundation Inc. (LADD) a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

1395 NW 22st

Miami, Florida, 33142

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