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  • Impact Austin

Introducing Our New Members

We are celebrating fifteen years of impact in our Central Texas community this year! As part of our anniversary joy, we are excited to introduce you to some more new members. We asked them three basic questions – How did you find out about Impact Austin and what inspired you to join, what is your short and sweet biography, and what do you think might surprise or interest your new friends about you? Here are their answers!

Meet Lara Cherem, and say “Hi!” the next time you see her.

“I learned about Impact Austin through a friend who has been a member for last 5 years and was super excited about it. After a very long day at work, I went to the Grit event in September to check it out and told my husband I was just going to stay for 15 min as I was completely exhausted. Three hours after, he called to check on me and I was still there, completely sold and a proud member!"

“I am a Brazilian/Portuguese marketing professional, married to an Argentinean, who adopted Austin as home after moving back for the second time in 2014. We have a 5-year-old “Austinite” son and an 8-week-old puppy. I am a problem solver and a learner with a ‘healthy yet obsessive’ curiosity about new disciplines and cultures."

“Fellow members may be surprised to learn that I have lived in 4 countries, worked in 3 and visited over 35; 15 of them with our son! We speak a mix of Portuguese, Spanish and English between us, so often we are asked, “What language you were speaking?"


Meet Merrill Davis, and say hello the next time you see her!

“Last year, I returned back to Austin to lead Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ office and found a completely different Austin than the one I left almost ten years ago. A trusted friend told me that if I really wanted to engage in local philanthropy and connect with an amazing group of women, I should join Impact Austin. Shortly after, I met for coffee with Lisa Apfelberg and was so inspired that I signed up that day."

“I’ve been tremendously blessed at having made a career working in the ever-changing world of public affairs and communications, where we achieve our clients’ goals by engaging key audiences. I also was lucky enough to meet my wonderful husband who grew up in Germany near the Baltic Sea and we found the best dog at a local Houston shelter (If you are a boxer owner, let’s talk!). I’ve been a Texas Lyceum director for five years and enjoy co-chairing impactful conferences including ones on immigration and border security last year, state vs. local control this year and global relations/Wall Street in New York City next year (let me know if you have contacts!). Recently, I’ve joined the boards of the Austin Film Society and Seedling Foundation and am a proud Rice University alum." 

“I love a good challenge and new experiences – whether that’s traveling to Quebec to sleep in an Ice Hotel to show Texans can handle the cold, cooking a Peking duck dinner or allowing a rattlesnake to be wrapped around my shoulders at the Capitol! Through Impact Austin, I hope to find other adventurous souls to try something new."


Meet Mary Weber, and say, “Hi!” the next time you see her.

“I heard Rebecca Powers speak at a presentation at IBM and her story was so inspirational that I wanted to join and be a part of this organization!”

“I've been working for IBM for 35 years in Engineering and Project Management doing all sorts of fun projects. I organize people and resource to pursue a common goal.  I'm active in my church and enjoy helping others.  I have volunteered at "Dressed for Success" and just started Toastmasters this year. I have two grown children that are awesome.”

“Many friends would be surprised to know that I have a 2nd-degree black-belt, do Triathlons, and have run the Austin Marathon once. This year I'm running in the Austin Distance Challenge… I'm not very fast, but I'm steady!"


New Member Highlights are a series of posts that introduce you to some of our new members who have joined for FY2018. If you are interested in being highlighted, please contact us and your Impact Austin blog editor will respond to you with the details!

Send your email to and be sure to indicate that it is a New Member Highlight Inquiry.

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