Athena Lakri

Up Close and Personal With Athena Lakri

1.  How long have you been working with TRM?

I have been working with The Research Master since March 2015.

2.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I studied publishing at Emerson College and gained most of my publishing experience while living in Cambridge, Massachusetts and raising my two daughters, who are now in high school and college. I grew up in central Maine and still have a cabin there—it is where I escape to when I need to reduce distractions and get an intense amount of work done.

3.  What experience and expertise do you bring to the TRM team?

I have over 11 years of print and digital publishing experience. Publishing was not my first career, but now it is by far my strongest skill set. I spent six years in a small publishing house where I was able to wear many hats and take on a third of the responsibility of the whole operation—my team brought the success level to new heights. I have also worked in various capacities on Elementary and Secondary programs for The Research Masters and other publishers. I bring to the table project management (including scheduling, budgeting, and team management), product development, production (design, typesetting, writing, copyediting, proofreading, image editing), operation, and other expertise.

4.  What are some of your most notable accomplishments?

Every publishing project that I have completed, page-by-page, with numerous run-throughs, feels like a notable accomplishment upon completion, but those number in the hundreds. Beyond the individual projects, I have a solid overall record of producing high quality products on schedule and within budget; as a project manager, I consider this record as my most notable accomplishment. On the higher level of notable initiatives, at Appalachian Mountain Club, I developed a digital and print publishing process that led to years of smooth operation and increased production and revenue. I brought the process fully into the digital age and even developed and managed all aspects of a new ebook program and the development of a few app concepts and proposals. I have also owned two independent contractor businesses, goldsmithing and publishing, both built on my personal mastery of technical skills.

5.  What is the best thing you like about working with TRM?

Amy is amazing and inspirational as a boss and, most uniquely valuable to us all, as a front person. She has superb soft skills and business sensibilities. She clearly aims to utilize each team member’s strongest assets and has assembled a powerhouse of a team that she brings to new heights. We all seem to agree that she is always a pleasure to work with, and therefore we can wholeheartedly stand behind her.

6.  Talk about a funny moment you had working on a project for TRM.

One of our assets is team members with experience and expertise with children with special needs. A couple members of the team have children with special needs. When you work with them, it can be rather noisy in the background and sometimes the kids just make you laugh with their delightful silliness. These parents as team members seem especially focused and determined, and they have a great sense of humor.

7.  Talk about a challenging moment you had working on a project for TRM.

My top priority is to make the client happy, but the deadlines clients give us are sometimes unrealistic. I survived two weeks on end with four hours of sleep per night. We often have numerous people working on a single book in order to meet the deadlines, and yet this still happens. I take deadlines seriously even when they are unrealistic, but I also take quality and craftsmanship seriously. The end users for TRM products are always students, and I believe that no matter what, their learning experience should not be compromised. They are what keeps me going when we are up against this kind of challenge.

8.  Talk about the most memorable moment that you had working with TRM.

We are all freelancers, so Amy invited us to get together in person to launch an exceptionally big project. We flew in from various states to North Carolina, and it was really great to meet everyone. I’m sure it made us a more cohesive group and that those unforgettable interactions will help us work together even better.

9.  Would you recommend working for TRM to your colleagues?

Yes, definitely. In fact, I have!

10.  What are you looking forward to in future aspirations with TRM?

TRM has some really nice long-term relationships with large publishers—this is our bread-and-butter. TRM also has a history of creating original products, and these are great opportunities to take on more responsibility and to apply higher- level skills.