Our Stories: Liz Merlo

This is Liz Merlo’s story, our Director of Support Services

Liz grew up in Midhurst, Ontario about an hour and a half north of Toronto, and is from a large, loud (her words) Italian and Irish family. She is the second youngest of four children and has been married for a year and a half. She lived in Victoria for almost 6 years while she completed her education, attending both University and College. She relocated to her husband’s hometown of Grande Prairie just over a year ago and loves the small-town feeling compared to larger cities she has lived in like Calgary. One of her and her husband’s first priorities after buying a house was adopting rescue dogs, she currently has two mix-breed dogs, Happ and Gracie, who were rescued from the Grande Prairie Pound and Bandaged Paws. You may catch them visiting the office occasionally, and they love any attention they can get. Liz has been with ASLS since October 2018 joining as the Support Services Manager and recently promoted to Director of Support Services.

Why did you apply to work with ASLS? “I was very interested in working in the not-for-profit industry again, with a specific focus on social assistance and healthcare, and ASLS sounded like the perfect fit”

Why do you stay? “This has been the most challenging but most rewarding job I have ever had. I enjoy coming to work every day to work alongside people who are so passionate, dedicated and hard-working to help the individuals we serve. I appreciate the adaptability of ASLS and am truly excited to be a part of its future.”

How does Liz self-care after a stressful day? “First priority when I get home every day is to get a big hug and snuggle from my puppies, they are always so happy to see me it’s hard not to smile and be happy with them around. My husband and I have recently built a home gym, so we try and utilize it every other day. We also really enjoy cooking together, my favourite is cooking Italian. My love of cooking came from my Nona when I was young, she would give me and my siblings two options: cook or clean. I always chose cooking so I could taste test before dinner and then hit the couch after! Luckily, my husband shares my love of cooking, so we like to spend a good amount of our evening in the kitchen trying out new recipes or recreating some of our favourites. My other way to relax is to take a nice hot bath and settle down with a good book. Currently, I am reading some books by Patrick Lencioni titled ‘The Ideal Team Player’ and ‘Death by Meetings’.”

What is your hidden talent? “No hidden talent comes to mind, but what people are sometimes surprised about when they come to my house is how many house plants I have. There are probably close to fifteen in my living room alone. To the chagrin of my husband, I find myself bringing a new plant home every few weeks, but I argue that’s better than bringing home a new dog or cat! So, I guess you can call me a Crazy Plant Lady, and a green thumb is my hidden talent. I wish I could have more around my office, but without the natural light, it is harder to find the right plants. I’m always on the lookout, though!”

Anything else to share? “If you’ve been around the Grande Prairie office at all you may have noticed I LOVE shoes, and you’ll probably always find me in some type of heeled shoe, no matter the activities of the day or how much snow is on the ground. I also love when there is a puzzle or challenge. I recently tried out Trapped with some friends, and now my husband will have to put up with me asking to go every week. I like when people ask me challenging or difficult questions. I have a lifelong passion for learning new things, and I have found there is not a shortage of that here at ASLS!”