Today, we are pleased to introduce Lori Polemenakos as another one of our highly valued LeadingResponse team members.
Lori is a writer, editor and SEO content strategist that lives in Dallas with her husband. In her free time, she enjoys kickboxing, traveling, board games, and spending quality time with nieces, nephews, and godson. As a trained, award-winning journalist and answering questions about the complex processes or digging up obscure data that people desperately need but cannot find for themselves. And it is our privilege to share more about her.
Who is your hero?
Kurt Vonnegut, and my grandparents. Vonnegut survived the bombing of Dresden in World War II, emerging from a POW bunker to see not a single sign of life amongst the rubble of total devastation. And yet, he turned an event that would’ve broken most people psychologically into a masterwork of fiction: Slaughterhouse-Five. As a young person, I strongly identified with his unique sense of humor in books like Breakfast of Champions. “Here is someone else who sees the world like I do,” I thought. “He always looks for the best in people and finds humor in the everyday absurdity of life, despite everything that’s happened to him.” I honestly feel like his books helped me get through a really difficult time in my life, and without him, I don’t know if I’d still be here.
What is your favorite thing about your career?
Everyone in my family assumed I was going to become an English teacher or a newspaper reporter after I finished college. My dad begged me not to go work for “the internet” because it was too new and unstable, and he wanted me to have stability and a pension. Instead, I turned my love of grammar, spelling and research into a successful writing, editing, and marketing career for a variety of completely different businesses. I’ve never stopped learning or developing new skills, which is crucial in today’s economy (and I honestly don’t see that ever changing).
I’ve proofread several friends’ books and helped others self-publish or secure book deals with major publishing houses. But I’ve also secured million-dollar contracts with companies like Pepsi to digitize and standardize all their global training modules in 130 different languages. During my 13 years at Match.com, I reviewed 1.6 million online dating profiles and helped countless people get married and have babies. Heck, I even screened Martha Stewart’s inbox for potential first dates in 2015! I also wrote press releases introducing AI-driven humanoid robot Sophia to the world way back in 2016. Since then, she’s met Angela Merkel and become internationally famous.
So, my favorite thing about my career is all the cool, weird, interesting things I’ve gotten to do, see and play a part in, simply because I’m a writer. At this point, I can honestly say there’s nothing on earth that is off-limits for me. Anything and everything you can imagine could conceivably be job-related for me at some point. I love that sense of endless opportunity to learn and engage with the world around me that work has afforded me over my career.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
At 19, I was awarded a fellowship at the Poynter Institute for being one of the 18 most promising young journalists in America. Since I was basically homeless and broke when starting college, this really validated my choice of writing as a career path. That same year, I won an Associated Press award for Best Short Newspaper Feature. Hilariously, they picked my coverage of a custody battle between two former roommates over an 18-foot python instead of all the serious investigative reporting I did that year.
Ok, how about some quick answer. First thing that comes to mind. Ready? Let’s go.
What is your biggest fear? Failure. I also have a corduroy phobia.
If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be? I’d go for a spacewalk and hope I didn’t throw up inside my suit.
Who is your favorite author? Kurt Vonnegut, Herman Melville, Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, and Hugh Howey.
Have you ever had a nickname? What is it? “Lori with the story.”
Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without? Chocolate.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Sitting in a café somewhere besides America, laughing with a friend about whatever crazy thing we ended up doing the night before.
Okay, last question. What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?
Hiking up Iceland’s Snæfellsjökull glacier with my husband in 2017. It was my lifelong dream to go there since reading Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth when I was 11. I spent a lot of my childhood sick in bed, so that checked a huge goal off my bucket list! When the world opens again, I want to have a helicopter drop me at the top of the Franz Josef glacier in New Zealand and hike all the way down into the lush rainforest at Westland National Park. I also plan to hike Iceberg Alley along the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador up to Gros Morne National Park in 2022.
You’re incredible, Lori. Thanks so much for taking the time to fill us in on how you spell your name and allow us to contemplate our feelings about corduroy. For anyone interested in getting their Match.com account reviewed, you’ll have to reach out to her personally and ask very nicely.