A little about yourself: Where are you from, where have you been, what brought you to Southbury, CT?
I was born and raised near Cologne, Germany, but spent over 4 years of my childhood in Woodcliff Lake, NJ, when my dad was transferred to the U.S. for work. After graduating with a PhD in biology from the University of Cologne, I moved to Chapel Hill, NC, to work in plant breeding research at UNC. It was in Chapel Hill where I met my husband Edouard, a fellow biologist, and we quickly bonded over many things we shared in common such as our love for traveling and discovering new places and cultures.
We have three children: Patrick (26), Julian (24) and Catherine (20). In 2000, we moved to Basel, Switzerland, for two years where we enjoyed spending many weekends in the mountains as well as frequent get-togethers with our families in Europe. Another trans-Atlantic move brought us back to Chapel Hill for 5 more years, after which we finally settled down in Southbury because of a job-related move for Edouard. Since then, Southbury has become our home, and we love the community here.
What brought you to OTM?
My husband and I first came to OTM as customers in 2018, after Edouard had been diagnosed with ALS/Lou Gehrig’s, a fatal neurological disease that robs a person of his ability to walk and stand, use his arms and hands, talk, swallow, and breathe. Because the disease started in Edouard’s legs, he was in need of a power chair and a Harmar lift for the back of his car to transport the power chair. The minute we stepped into the OTM store, we were welcomed by Liam and Marsi in such a kind and wonderful way. They answered all our questions and concerns and quickly got us set up with a Golden Lite Rider power chair and a lift for the car. As the disease progressed, it was reassuring to know we had OTM in town to help us whenever we were in a pinch. Yes, and we did rent one of their popular lift/recliner chairs for 6 months or so!
After Edouard passed away last June, I knew I eventually wanted to go back to work. OTM came to my mind because I would like to make a difference in people’s lives. Having been a full-time caregiver to a loved one has shaped me in such a profound way that I hope to use my compassion and knowledge to help people who are aging and/or have a medical condition/disease.
Your favorite job in the past?
I really loved working as a biologist because I am a curious and creative person and like to learn new things, and working in research gave me an amazing outlet to do this. However, I have always thoroughly enjoyed the different hats I have worn, whether it was being a stay-at-home mom to our kids or being a full-time caregiver to my husband, although the latter was the hardest and most challenging job I have ever had. I tend to lean into whatever I do, and I have learned to live in the moment.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love the outdoors, walking with our dog Jack, hiking, doing occasional yard work, spending time with my kids and friends, visiting our families in Europe, traveling, and going to breweries.
Thus far, what do you like about your new role at OTM?
I really love the customers! They are great, and I am happy to help them. I also really enjoy working with the OTM team; each one of us goes the extra mile to find solutions to our customers’ needs. It’s a very unique store.
Favorite foods and restaurants:
I love a good home-cooked German meal such as “Reibekuchen” (similar to potato latkes) and Rouladen (long strips of beef filled and rolled up with mustard, bacon, onions and a pickle, and browned and simmered in a rich gravy) but I also really enjoy Mexican, Italian, Thai and Indian food. Plus, I never say no to a yummy slice of cheesecake!!
My favorite restaurant in Southbury is Samui.