Coaches


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Drew Merit is an improvisational artist, facilitator, and coach. Before founding Improv Marin, he the co-founded and currently performs sometimes with Secret Improv Society, now in it's 10th year (winner of SF Magazine's Best Comedy in 2016). Drew's performance credits also include Big City Improv, The Reactors, Meanwhile in Marin, and 5-speed Overdrive, and BATS Improv. Drew loves theatrical improvisation--improvisation that is free to go deeper than jokes and explore emotions and themes that are grounded in human truth, of course, raw hilarity is great too!

He has taught applied improvisation and used improv-based training at Google, YouTube, Singularity University, Blackrock, UCSF Medical School, Stanford University, Kaiser, and Hastings School of Law.

In addition to his theatrical improvisation, Drew is an improvisational illustrator. Through his company, Merit Illustration, Drew captures content from speakers, meetings, conversations and ideation sessions in real time through illustrations and text.

Drew's approach to teaching improv is focused on empowering you to feel safe to play and safe to dare. There's more to say on this subject, but Drew tries to avoid over-explaining things.


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Melissa Jones Briggs is a performer, educator, and coach with a specialization in theatre as a tool for social change. In her work, she combines research from the fields of social science and the practical application of performance techniques. 

On Faculty at Stanford University’s GSB she works as a Lecturer in Organizational Behavior teaching Acting with Power. She has taught at London Business School in the UK, Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland, and the United States Naval Academy.

Jones Briggs also designs, directs & deploys global leadership and inclusion programs as an independent consultant. Client sectors range from the corporate (Intel, Twitter, Cisco, eBay, Ubisoft, Lyft, Mozilla, Dechert LLP) and academic (Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Singularity University, Stanford’s School of Medicine and School of Law), to healthcare (Lorraine Packard Children’s Hospital, Stanford Hospitals & Clinics, The Public Health Institute), and nonprofit (Clinton Global Initiative, Watermark, Invoking the Pause Foundation, 52nd Street Project, Williamstown Theatre Festival) among others. 

Melissa serves on the Board of Directors at Youth in Arts, an arts education non-profit with a focus on social justice. An honors graduate of Wake Forest University, Jones Briggs also studied at the Coaches Training Institute, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and the Actors Center Conservatory in New York.


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Joël Micucci co-founded Secret Improv Society and has performed with Flash Family, BATS Improv, Big City Improv, and more! The picture to the left is NOT Joel-it’s his brother. Joel didn’t send us a photo in time, but we had a picture of his brother. They aren’t twins, but they do look a lot alike. A strong family resemblance runs through the entire Micucci family…and it’s a big family. Joel has been performing, coaching, directing, and producing improv since 1995-ish. Not sure exactly because Joel didn’t send us his bio in time. I know Joel well, so I’m doing my best. It’s impossible not to like Joel…I hear…


Dr. Laila Ansari is a clinical psychologist at Marin Psychotherapy for Women. She co-facilitates Improv Marin’s Improv for Anxiety workshops. Dr. Ansari has over 12 years of experience working in hospitals, schools and clinics around the San Francisco Bay Area. Her specialties include: anxiety and stress management and obstacles to creativity.

She’s a Ph.D. who knows CBT, ACT, DBT, and she digs Ice T.


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Judith Asséo is a performer, educator, and coach. She has been improvising on stage for 25 years (and improvising in life for a few additional ones). She is currently a company member with the Secret Improv Society - San Francisco’s award-winning improvisational comedy troupe. Judy's performance credits also include Big City Improv (Best of the Bay Winner), The Oakland Playhouse, Exxit Only, and The Skits.

Judy is not only an accomplished improviser but she is a veteran of the veterinary medical industry; a graduate of Cornell University; and a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager. When not improvising on stage, she provides play-based communication training and team-building for veterinary hospitals and other organizations. Judy is a public speaker and trainer. She regularly presents a “De-Escalation Training for Veterinary Hospital Teams” program that she developed at various regional conferences in the United States.

Judy knows the importance of laughter, lightness and humor in life and hopes to inspire some shared cathartic guffawing in her performances, workshops and classes.


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Alex Lerman founded Berkeley Improv in 2008, with the vision that students enjoy greater mastery with a gentler learning curve. He now travels abroad to grow improv literacy and community worldwide. Alex has introduced improv to thousands of students. He had the honor of training and mentoring Berkeley Improv instructors. He founded and directed The Berkeley Players performance ensemble. Alex created the unique class “Improv for Real Life” to help students get the most from improv, on and off stage. In 2010 he founded ImprovPower.com to offer organizations the benefits of applied improv. He has led workshops at many Bay Area companies and organizations, including UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco.