The Language Lizard Team
Anneke Vanmarcke Forzani, President & Founder |
How do you inspire children to learn about other languages and cultures and to respect diversity early in their lives? How do you help children maintain their home languages and become bilingual? And how do you HAVE FUN doing it?
These are the questions that drove Anneke Forzani to establish Language Lizard, LLC.
Anneke has been a language enthusiast since birth. And it had nothing to do with the research documenting the many cognitive, academic and social benefits of early language learning. Rather, it was the result of chatting with her Belgian grandma while feeding the chickens; munching on sushi and edamame with her Japanese colleagues; and searching out the best chocolate croissants in Paris with her French amis.
When Anneke became a mother, she wanted her sons to experience the same joys and benefits of early language learning. She also felt it was her responsibility to teach them to respect, play and work with people of all cultures and communities.
...And the real experiment began!...And they had fun in the process!
How? In part, by reading entertaining stories in other languages that the kids wanted to hear over and over. By listening to great multilingual music. And by sharing (age-appropriate) books which include illustrations of various ethnicities and characters dealing with issues of diversity.
After researching available materials, Anneke decided to make the most creative, effective and fun language products readily available to other parents and teachers. Products that expose children not only to other languages, but also to other cultures and traditions. Products that can benefit bilingual families, world language teachers, and educators who work with English Language Learners.
...And so, in 2005, Anneke created Language Lizard.
Some more details about Anneke's life prior to establishing Language Lizard:
A first generation American with Belgian parents, Anneke worked in Japan and the US in consulting, ethnic marketing and international business development positions. She has an undergraduate degree from Princeton University 's Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs and an MBA-MA in International Business from the Wharton School and the Joseph H. Lauder Institute of International Studies at the University of Pennsylvania .
Anneke has studied children's writing and graphic arts and has experience teaching English to non-native speakers. She is a member of the National Network for Early Language Learning and the New Jersey Bilingual Educators / Teachers of English as a Second Language Association. She has written articles related to early language and culture learning and is a frequent contributor to Multilingual Living Magazine.
INTERVIEW WITH LANGUAGE LIZARD PRESIDENT & FOUNDER ANNEKE FORZANI Interview on Public Radio International's "The World in Words" podcast (co-produced by BBC, PRI and WGBH) can be heard at http://media.theworld.org/pod/language/WIWpodcast22.mp3. (Note: The interview starts about 5 minutes into the podcast after the Hispanic Heritage Month/Football story)
Katelyn LoBue - Customer Relations Manager
After eight years of customer service and finance experience, Kate now supports Language Lizard while in route to obtaining a teaching degree. She is studying at Monmouth University on a full academic scholarship, having achieved Dean's List her first two years. In addition, Kate is pursuing fluency in the Italian language. A life-long resident of North Jersey , she currently resides in Ocean Grove.
Terri Sherman - Customer Relations Manager
Michelle Roberts - Customer Relations Manager
Michelle has 20 years customer service and marketing experience in the recruiting industry. Since childhood, Michelle has been an avid reader, traveling the world through books, an interest she has passed on to her children. Believing it is important to give back to the community, Michelle spends much of her time volunteering, with her main focus in education. Most recently she was a board member of the PTO at her daughter's school. She is currently learning Russian with her son.