Advisors

The Board of Directors is assisted in its work by a number of dedicated individuals with substantial expertise in communications, government relations, public relations, law and policy. The Federation is pleased to be able to draw upon the collective experience and input of the following Advisors:

Ms. Agathe Alie

Currently Director of Public Affairs and Assistant Vice-President - Citizenship at Cirque du Soleil, which she joined in 2002, Ms. Alie has extensive experience in the live show and media fields, having before worked as Director of the Théâtre du Casino du Lac Leamy, as well as producer at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Her community involvement also gives evidence to the diversity of her affinities: board member of CIBL Radio-Montréal since 2001, of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec since 2009 and of En Piste, the Circus arts national network in Canada since 2004. She was also a jury member at the Festival du cirque de demain in Paris in 2008, and member of the Commission permanente de la culture in Hull in 2000 and 2001.


Ms. Joan Galvin

Currently a government relations advisor with the Washington, D.C. law firm Kelley Drye & Warren, Ms. Galvin has 17 years experience working on legal, regulatory and communications issues affecting the public display of exotic animals. From 1993 to 2000, Ms. Galvin served as Vice President of Government Relations for Feld Entertainment, Inc., parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus and the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation, where she successfully advocated against proposed bans or restrictions on circus animals at the local, state, and federal levels, often serving as corporate spokesperson on animal issues. From 2000 to 2002, Ms. Galvin served as Director of Communications for Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota, assisting the aquarium in obtaining its first accreditation with the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, while successfully pursing funding for marine research and education. Ms. Galvin was a founding board member of the International Elephant Foundation (IEF) and currently serves as an Advisor to the organization on government relations and conservation initiatives. In addition, Ms. Galvin established the Animal Exhibitors Alliance to advocate in international fora on behalf of animal exhibitors and has participated as a delegate to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) since 1995. Ms. Galvin continues, in her current capacity, to represent and advise Feld Entertainment, the Outdoor Amusement Business Association and other circus, zoo and public display organizations on legislative, communications and conservation issues.


Mr. Helmut Grosscurth

As early as when he was 11, Mr. Grosscurth joined the German circusfans association (GCD) and has been a circus lover ever since. He has promoted the circus in Germany, becoming the editor for “CircusZeitung” in 1981 and founding “Circus Verlag” publishing company together with his partner Dirk Kuik in 1993. In 1997 the two created “Planet Circus”, the international magazine that is an official partner of FMC today. Professional sidesteps saw Mr. Grosscurth as the public relations manager for Circus Roncalli in 1984 and as tour manager for Circus Flic Flac in 1989/90. A professional in marketing and media, Mr. Grosscurth was elected president of the German circusfans association in 2006. In 2013 he became the managing director of the European Circus Association succeeding Arie Oudenes and Zsuzsanna Mata in this role. Mr. Grosscurth is a regular attendee at circus shows and circus festivals around the world. One aim is common to all his circus related jobs: He wants to help to preserve the circus in Europe in all its diversity, big and small, with animals and without.


Ms. Jessica Hentoff

Jesscia Hentoff is artistic/executive director of Circus Harmony, a social circus school she founded in 2001in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. She has been using circus arts to motivate social change since founding the St. Louis Arches youth circus troupe in 1989. In 2009, Ms Hentoff was named St. Louis Arts Innovator of the Year and Outstanding Arts Educator of the Year. She also was invited to address the World Circus Federation and European Circus Association on the subject of Social Circus. In 2012, she served on the jury of the International Circus Festival in Monte Carlo and spoke on the subject of social circus at both Princess Stephanie’s Circus Luncheon and the Budapest Circus Festival’s Social Circus Conference. Jessica serves on the board of directors for the American Youth Circus Organization and on Circus Fans Association of America’s Youth Circus Committee. She has been teaching and performing circus arts for almost 40 years. A former aerailist, Jessica is the only person to accomplish (with her trapeze partner, Kathie Hoyer) the difficult heel to heel hang. Jessica was a founding member of both the Big Apple Circus in New York City and Circus Flora in St. Louis, Missouri. Her remarkable vision and use of circus arts to build character and community has brought about ground-breaking and bridge-building programs that are the embodiment of Circus Harmony’s mission to help children "defy gravity, soar with confidence and leap over social barriers, all at the same time."



Mr. Rodney Huey

Mr. Rodney Huey, Ph.D., is the sole proprietor of RAH PR STRATEGIES, a strategic communications consulting service based in the Washington, DC area. With more than 25 years experience in strategic planning, corporate communication, brand management, media relations, crisis management, market research and public affairs, he is the former Vice President of Public Relations for Feld Entertainment, Inc., parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Disney on Ice and other live family productions. He has served as Vice President for Communications for National Public Radio where he directed its external and internal communications programs, brand management, national promotions, public and media relations, corporate communications and creative services. In 2004 he established RAH PR STRATEGIES whose clients have included The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau, Holiday on Ice – Europe, ThemeSTAR productions and the Outdoor Amusement Business Association, for which he writes a circus column for OABA’s SHOWTIME magazine. Mr. Huey also serves as the North American press representative for the Federation.


Mr. Sebastian Hüchtebrock

Mr. Hüchtebrock has worked for many years as the casting manager for the renowned theatre, Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin, Europe’s show palace. He also is a member of the Organizing Committee of the Festival International du Cirque de Monte-Carlo, contributing to the creation of the annual festival as well as the New Generation competition for youth. Mr. Hüchtebrock’s love for the circus began in his childhood. He has worked for various European circus shows and studied theatre in Berlin and Paris.


Mr. Robert Johnson

With some 30 years in the amusement industry, including service as Senior Vice President of Administration for Six Flags Corporation, a U.S. theme park operator, Robert W. Johnson became the President & CEO of the Outdoor Amusement and Business Association in 1995. The organization represents approximately 10,000 predominately family owned businesses in the United States and Canada that employ over 35,000 employees in an estimated $2 billion dollar industry. Association members include carnivals, food & games concessionaires, amusement rental companies, independent amusement ride owners, petting zoos, circuses, circus artists and domestic as well as exotic animal acts. In addition, Mr. Johnson chairs the Florida Fair Rides Advisory Board as its Chairman and serves on the Massachusetts Amusement Ride Advisory Board. In 2006, he was appointed to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Commercial Facilities Sector, Outdoor Events Subcouncil to help develop a plan for asset protection and risk assessment in the mobile amusement industry. He also is a member of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE), the International Festival and Events Association (IFEA), the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), the International Association of Arena Management (IAAM), and the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).


Mrs. Zsuzsanna Mata

Zsuzsanna Mata is the Director of the European Circus Association (ECA). From 2003 until the nomination, she represented the Hungarian State Circus (MACIVA) in the Board of Directors of ECA. She started working for MACIVA in 1988. For 6 years she was Head of the International Department and from 1994 she also acted as Head of the Artistic Department of the company. Mrs. Mata is one of the founders of the Budapest International Circus Festival and, since its first edition in 1996, has been member of the Organizing Commitee of the Festival. She has vast experience in the circus world, being determined to dedicate her knowledge and energy to the mission of ECA and the fulfilment of its goals. Zsuzsanna’s contribution to circus art was recognized by the state award “The Silver Merit Cross of the Republic of Hungary” in 2005. She is author of several books and articles on circus issues.



Mr. Arie Oudenes

Mr. Oudenes has loved the circus since he visited at the age of five a show of the Dutch Circus Boltini with his grandfather. He became a member of the Dutch Association of Circus Friends and served as secretary of the VNCO (Association of Dutch Circus Enterprises). From 2002 to 2012, he was Director of the European Circus Association. Currently, Mr. Oudenes is chairman of the Foundation for Circus Culture in the Netherlands, working to promote circus culture in the country. To reach that goal, a partnership has been formed in which all organizations involved in the circus cooperate. In addition to professional circuses, the partnership includes youth circuse, vocational training organisations, circus friends, and museums with particular circus collections. Mr. Oudenes also is an avid collector of circus toys.



Mr. Ton Rennings

Joining the Federation as its Communication Advisor, Mr. Rennings brings extensive experience from his professional career as the marketing communication manager for an international company and service as a communications advisor for the government of the Netherlands. As a hobby, he has produced and directed for more than 40 years shows, jazz festivals, musicals and circus. For more than 30 years he has been the president of the Cirque d’Hiver Roermond Foundation in the Netherlands. With the help of 80 volunteers, he organises annually a wintercircus with international artists in a local theatre in the city of Roermond. Mr. Rennings served as a Board Member of the European Circus Association (ECA) for 5 years and continues to advise the ECA on communications matters. He also is a member of the boards of the Dutch Circus Propietors Organisation (VNCO) and the Dutch Circus Culture Foundation.