Clare Lawrence – DIRECTOR
Clare joined OKMT in September 2015 to be its first General Manager to help it extend its reach and services within the local community and was appointed Director in December 2017. She comes from a background in music tourism. Clare is a keen amateur violinist and plays in a quartet. She specialised in organising tours for amateur choirs and orchestras, particularly those from the US and UK, to go to destinations across Europe. She performed all the operational roles required to make a tour successful, and gained the greatest pleasure from when she was organising venues and promoting concerts in France and Spain. Clare lives locally in the borough of Richmond. Her son, who has additional needs, has been benefiting from music therapy from the OKMT since the age of four. He now enjoys being part of the trust’s Music School and participating in their performances. Clare is passionate about helping more children and young people have fun and achieve their potential through music therapy.
Cheryl Valland – Administrator
Cheryl has been an Administrator with the Trust since 2010. Following 20 years of experience in the publishing and the printing industry, and having travelled widely and lived abroad for nearly 20 years, she felt it was time to come home and give back to the community. After winning a World of Difference grant from Vodafone to work for a charity of her choice, the Otakar Kraus Music Trust became a part of her life.
Cheryl also owns and runs a Soft Play Business with a sibling, in the area local to the Trust.
Valerie Roy – Fundraiser
Valerie has worked for the Trust since 2008. Following many years in the export business, working for companies including Courtaulds and Colefax & Fowler, Valerie volunteered at Wandsworth Carers Centre, before becoming a Project Worker for a Richmond based charity helping families with a child with additional needs. She subsequently became a founding Trustee of local charity, Me too & Co, and was Secretary for 8 years, responsible for the administration of the charity, assisting with Governance and fundraising. Having witnessed the wonderful work OKMT was carrying out with children with additional needs for several years, Valerie started working with Margaret Lobo on the international side in 2008, and now raises funds for OKMT to ensure their valuable work can continue.
MELISSA HICKS – MARKETING MANAGER
Melissa joined OKMT in October 2016 as their Marketing Manager. Melissa has worked in Marketing for nearly 15 years and has a wealth of experience in all areas of the marketing mix. Having previously worked for a large Global Insurance company, Melissa is loving the challenge of working in the charity sector and helping to make a difference to vulnerable children and adults who really do benefit from the power of music therapy.
At home Melissa has two young children so spends most of her free time cooking, cleaning, singing nursery rhymes and watching CBeebies!
MERCEDES BIANCHIN – MUSIC SCHOOL COORDINATOR
Mercedes joined OKMT in January 2017. She helps coordinate the Music School as well as supporting the organisation with its fundraising events and concerts. Originally from Argentina, she lives in the Borough of Richmond upon Thames with her family. Mercedes came across OKMT when one of her daughters was diagnosed with ASD and Music Therapy was recommended. In the past she worked as a language teacher both in schools and privately in Buenos Aires and in London. Subsequently she worked for nearly 10 years in purchasing within the catering industry. She was Purchasing Director at Ritter Courivaud Ltd, one of the leading specialist food ingredient importers and distributors in the UK. Mercedes also sits on the committee of the local branch of the National Autistic Society. She enjoys playing tennis and reading if she can get some peace and quiet.