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Meriam Lahlou joins LRRD.

I’m very happy to announce that Meriam Lahlou has joined LRRD as our business manager.   Meriam is a delightful and fascinating person we’re very lucky to have.

Originally from Morocco, Meriam came to the United States in 1987 to study international business at Villanova University.  She went on to earn an MBA in finance and then returned to Morocco to work for The Ministry of Finance and Foreign Investments.  She moved back to the US in 1997 to join Ernst and Young LLP in New Jersey while her husband Otmane was finishing his DMD and taking care of their infant daughter Radia.  A job opportunity for Otmane brought the family to Carbondale in 2000, where he quickly became a much beloved and admired dentist.   After their son Adam was born in 2001, Meriam decided to be a stay at home mom for a while and contribute in the community.  She enrolled in a Master’s in Foreign Languages at SIU to learn pedagogy and be able to share her native skills and passion for languages.   Fluent in English, French, Arabic, and Italian, Meriam then taught French in at Giant City School as a volunteer.

Meriam’s family and our community suffered a great loss when Otmane passed away in late 2008.

With the loss of her husband at the age of 40, she could no longer teach as a volunteer.  Meriam first organized French camps for children.  This successful initiative led to an after school program at Giant City and Unity Point Schools with the help and support of Principals Sharon Mayes and April Haar.   Meriam also initiated a French Café conversation class for adults at Carbondale’s Longbranch Café.

Meriam initially came to LRRD as a French translator for a project in Québéc, and was attracted to LRRD’s strong commitment to education.   Her business skills have been a wonderful asset to us in this difficult economy, and she’s quickly mastered the myriad things we do from bookkeeping to shipping models.  She’s redesigned workflows, assessed Internet marketing tools and streamlined our operations.   She’s very enthusiastic about the possibilities we see with positive responses from the NSF and EPA grants we’re seeking, and her work will enable us to soon ship to international markets, where her language and cultural skills will be a great asset.

And I appreciate her warm personality, which includes a sharp wit, broad knowledge and intellect, tolerance, great compassion, and a sunny disposition!