Your Neighbor: Meet Lori Timm

Published 12:05 am Thursday, February 8, 2024

By Mandy Haggerson

For the Clemmons Courier

Lori Timm’s curiosity was piqued at an early age by other cultures, travel and new experiences when her family hosted a foreign exchange student.

“The Children’s International Summer Village exchange program allowed for us to host a student from another country in the summers,” Timm said. “And in return, the following summer, one of my siblings would travel to their country to stay. I had seen each of my older brothers and sister have an opportunity to travel abroad. When I was 13 years old, it was my turn to stay in Finland. That gave me the travel bug, which sparked the desire for international living.”

Realizing the impact of her parents’ decision to host international students had, and then allow Timm to travel on her own makes her grateful.

“I really appreciate my parents doing that,” Timm said. “It’s a lot to send off your children to another country. However, it was amazing because we were in a group and able to really immerse ourselves in the culture. The experiences of traveling throughout Finland and Sweden during that time were priceless and so memorable.

“When I left Finland, I was saddened to think I might never come back. Luckily, I was wrong.”

During her junior year of high school, Timm applied for a scholarship through a national program to study abroad.

“The top 10 candidates were selected. I was number 11. I started making other plans because of it,” Timm said. “Fortuitously, someone backed out of their scholarship, and I got to go on the trip that they had chosen, which ironically was Finland. I stayed with a different host family in a new city. It was 1985, and I was able to go to then the Soviet Union, which was fascinating because of the Cold War, politics and having an interest in studying it.”

After cementing her love for travel while under her parent’s roof, her journey continued once she went to college at Miami University. While earning a degree in International Studies and minoring in European Studies and German, Timm studied abroad in Luxembourg.

“At that time, Luxembourg, which is a very small country, didn’t have its own university, so this little American University was the only one in the country located in the capital city,” Timm said. “I got to live in the home of my host family and go to school with primarily American students. I got to really study German, which was neat since they spoke German, French and their dialect of German.

“During that time, we traveled all over. I even got to meet royalty during that time. I had never done that,” notes Timm of meeting the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Prince Henri.

Knowing that she wanted to do something involving international studies, Timm eagerly accepted a job at Miami University’s study abroad center and went back to Luxembourg.

“It was amazing,” Timm said. “I got to travel to nearly every country in Europe, which allowed me to really immerse myself in other cultures and hone my language skills.”

Realizing that her passion had been further ignited, Timm learned about a program at the University of Vermont that had a school for international training in intercultural management. It emphasized how to help people bridge those language and cultural gaps. This training allowed her to begin her career at Inlingua, helping businesses develop, implement and train corporate clients.

“Helping facilitate the training was really fascinating,” Timm said.

After several years working at Inlingua, Timm had the opportunity to travel abroad again. This time, Timm relocated to Venezuela.

“I had met a man while I was in Vermont, and we ended up getting married,” Timm said. “I knew that we would end up living in Venezuela at some point. However, there came a time when a new politician, Hugo Chavez, had become president, which brought political unrest and changes to the country that were not very positive.

“It was beautiful there, though, with the beaches, the sea, the climate and I loved the people. However, once we had our two sons, Pete (23) and Andy (21), I worried more and more for their safety.”

Timm and her two sons headed to Clemmon in 2007 to live closer to her parents.

“It has been an amazing place to raise Pete and Andy. It has provided so many opportunities that they would not have had if we had stayed in Venezuela. I am forever grateful for this community,” reveals Timm. “Both of my children are bilingual and have been able to study and travel abroad themselves, which I think allows them to have a unique perspective on the world. I think it’s given them the confidence to really come into their own, and I’m so proud of them.”

Giving children perspective on how to thrive in the world is something that Timm is passionate about outside her own family, too. Currently, Timm works for Allegacy Federal Credit Union as the community and financial wellbeing manager.

“What I love about my job is that I get to help teach other people how to have financial independence,” Timm said. “Particularly meaningful is working with students at nine different high schools in the area, including at West Forsyth, with their student-run credit unions. It gets their minds thinking and planning, which is so critical. They receive checking accounts and debit cards which they are accountable for. I love being in the community. Whether it’s helping promote financial well-being or helping with the non-profits that we assist at the credit union. There is so much gratitude for that help and partnership. That’s what it’s all about. Helping others and making a difference where you can.”