Who Are We
We Are Ocean™ is a public benefit non-profit organization based in Newport Beach, California. Our mission is to improve the lives of cancer patients and survivors through ocean-based, active lifestyle camps and experiences.
We started as one. Newport Beach native Jack Marshall Shimko, who crushed his Hodgkin’s Lymphoma through treatment and by surfing, swimming and paddling his way back to health. A lifelong ocean enthusiast, he realized that the sea played a huge roll in his recovery. It helped him maintain a positive state of mind and keep his physical strength up along the way. And he realized that what’s good for him would be good for others.
So in 2013, he started We Are Ocean. To provide cancer patients and survivors ways to discover the healing power of the ocean–together.
Today, We Are Ocean is made of many others, too. Chandler Bell, Jim Gray, John Polovina, Patrick Towersey, Wes Brown, Sarah Harrington-Ihns, Alexandra Taylor and camp director extraordinaire, Jill Jacobs. All healthy-living junkies and die-hard advocates of oceans everywhere–especially the big, deep blue one nearby.
And of course, We Are Ocean is the over 250 survivors and patients, who have participated in our transformative recovery adventures since we began. And we are thousands of family members and friends who have provided love and support along the way.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Jack Marshall Shimko
Newport Beach native Jack Marshall Shimko and 2012 Surfer Poll’s “Agent of Change” founded We Are Ocean™ in 2013 after bucking the tide of his 2009 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma diagnosis by surfing, swimming and paddling his way to recovery. A lifelong ocean enthusiast, Jack also launched the fundraising effort Paddle2Live / (watch our YouTube Video), Paddle boarding thousands of miles through the Channel Islands, he’s raised awareness and funds in partnership with the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, LIVESTRONG, UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation and the Newport Aquatic Center.
Chief Financial Officer
John Polovina is the Director of Sales at Clean Energy Fuels and an experienced real estate professional currently practicing at Arbor Real Estate.
His clients benefit not only from his significant local market expertise, but also from his impressive background in strategic business growth and management, which spans three decades and numerous successful startups, corporate repositionings and company sales.
Polovina is especially known for his proven track record of skilled negotiation, complex deal structuring and for driving transactions forward efficiently and in his clients’ best interests. His loyal following of discerning clients also cite his highly effective communication style and responsive service as key factors in their continuing referrals of him to friends and family.
A 35-year resident of Newport Beach, Polovina, father of two, grandfather of two, resides with his wife Kay. He is passionate about supporting and giving back to his community. He has served as President of the Lido Isle Board of Directors for two terms, and also has served on the Boards of Directors for the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, We Are Ocean and Newport Harbor Baseball – the latter for a 10-year tenure. In addition, Polovina was a founder and served on the Board of Directors for the Newport Harbor High School Foundation – and has been instrumental in raising $20 million for the school.
Prior to launching his career in business and real estate, Polovina was a pitcher in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. He is a graduate of San Diego State University.
Growing up in Newport Beach, Pat Towersey would ride his red Schwinn cruiser to the beach almost every day from fifth grade until he got his license. If you weren’t familiar with his deep ties to the sport, it would be easy to take “Punker Pat,” a moniker that’s stuck through the years, for just another local surfer. But the kid who rode his first wave at age 9 in San Onofre has a well-developed presence in the sport; he’s been sponsored or an ambassador for just about every big-name homegrown brand, and his career has taken him around the entire globe.
As a young surfer growing up in Newport Heights, Pat Towersey, who has been named “one of the best-known and well-liked surfers on the Southern California coast” by Billabong, rode professionally throughout his teen years. At age 12, he was sponsored by Volcom and began competing in surfing competitions and appearing in advertisements for the brand. In 2005, Billabong signed the surfer to a multi-year contract as a sponsored rider, and after a partnership with RVCA, Pat found his current spot as an ambassador for surfing powerhouse, Hurley, which he currently holds a corporate position in the marketing department.
Towersey has dedicated his life to being in and around the water, as much as possible. “I believe all ocean activities provide endless benefits and will alter ones state of being, in a positive direction. Time outside the office mainly consists of adventuring with his wife Chloe and their newborn son Beau, free-surfing, body surfing, swimming, body boarding, paddling and shooting photographs of it all.
Wes Brown is an innovative creator, producer and director of all aspects of the production process. His creative abilities are all encompassing. Essential in the production and creative process, Wes has been a keystone in bringing a myriad of award winning projects to theaters and televisions world-wide. At the age of 36, Wes has been working in the industry for 15 years and has been around filmmaking his whole life. He is the third generation of the legendary filmmaking Brown family. His grandfather, Bruce Brown, created the classic ‘The Endless Summer’ and ‘On Any Sunday’ film franchises. His father, Dana Brown is the director of the hits ‘Step into Liquid’ and ‘Dust to Glory’. In 2003, at the age of 22 Wes co-founded Little House Productions and in the following 3 years directed his first 3 films after which he included television and commercials into the repertoire. The Browns films have grossed more than any other sports documentaries of all time.
Associate Director of Public Relations
Camp WAO Director – Catalina Island
WAO Retreat Director-Northshore of Oahu, HI