The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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March 26, 2014

Meet the 2014 Woman of Achievement honorees


Merlyn and her husband have four children, one stepson, nine grandchildren and one great granddaughter.


“She has a personal mission to help others and improve the quality of life for all. Given that everything and everybody is sacred and we are all related, peacemaking lies at the heart of her mission,” wrote Lori Freudenberg when nominating Laura for the Professional Woman of Achievement award.

Laura grew up in the Chicago area and attended the University of Michigan and the University of Southern California, majoring in Cinema Production.After 10 years in the Los Angeles motion picture industry, she moved to Budapest, Hungary to work with an international advertising agency and developed local ad campaigns for various companies. She returned to the Midwest and was employed at Harpo Productions, the production company of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” where she developed and supervised Oprah’s website,

After moving to Iowa, Laura spent a number of years at home with their young family, during this time volunteering with PTA and the school district’s Parent Advisory board, along with the YWCA Board of Directors, one year as co-president. She returned to the workforce as co-coordinator for the Center for Active Nonviolence and Peacemaking. Communicating, educating and advocating for the social justice mission objectives for the Sisters of St. Francis. She created “Sustainable Clinton” as a way to teach others about caring for the earth, was instrumental in establishing the Clinton Community Garden, has devoted much energy to having a community health clinic built in Clinton, and creates a weekly email digest filled with articles and information encouraging people to care for one another and our earth. “She lives her personal mission to make the world a better place.”

Laura and her husband Connor have three children, Molly, Liam, and Josephine.

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