Q: When did you retiree and from what role? Did you work in other parts of the company?
A: I retired in December 2013. I was Assistant to the Chairman and SrVP of Public Affairs. I was also chair of the DTE Foundation Board. During my career, I had a myriad of areas of responsibility including Customer Service, Meter Reading, Supply Chain, Materials Management, Warehouse, Quality and HR (prior to merger).
Q: What is one of your favorite memories of working at DTE?
A: My favorite memories were our volunteer efforts and community engagement: Meals on Wheels (packing and delivering meals to seniors on Christmas Day); Customer Assistance Days; etc.
Q: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment at DTE?
A: My greatest accomplishment was creating one customer service focused operation for gas and electric customer calls/office visits after the merger. Initially our combination customers had to call two different numbers and talk to two different Representatives for matters pertaining to their gas and electric bills. We trained our employees on both lines of business…we were one company in the eyes of our customers, and we needed to provide service to our customers accordingly. They expected that level of service and we delivered. I was delighted when we received recognition for quality service and ranked above our competitors.
Q: What would you say is your most memorable post-retirement event or achievement?
A: In addition to the wonderful sendoff (retirement events given by the company and the community), I was honored to be recognized by the Detroit Urban League as one of their Distinguished Warriors in 2018.
Q: Since your retirement, have you developed any new hobbies?
A: After retirement, the hobbies I always enjoyed became more a part of my new life. I read a lot more and my plans to travel to every continent was put into play. Covid preclude my 2020 scheduled trip to Australia.
Q: Where is your favorite place to travel and why?
A: It’s difficult to pinpoint a single favorite place to travel. Domestically, Hawaii is a favorite. Internationally, Dubai and India are places I’d love to return to. In fact, I left India on March 13, 2020 just hours before they closed the borders due to COVID-19.
Q: In 2019 you co-authored a book called The Energy Within Us – what led you to write the book and what do you hope readers take away from it?
A: The Co-authors are all trailblazers and broke the glass ceiling in the energy industry, each blazing that path in different ways. We would get together at various industry events and support each other as we discussed challenges. One of the ladies encouraged us to band together and tell our stories. I hope our stories will highlight that it doesn’t matter where you start, it’s where you end up. With hard work, determination and “grit”, you can excel.
Q: How has your retirement experienced changed during the pandemic?
A: Sincere March 13, 2020, I’ve been unable to travel. I have been in regular contact with family and friends via technology…primarily Zoom. I have been unable to see my only grandchild and my youngest daughter in over a year due to the pandemic. They live in Las Vegas. Again, technology helps. I have continued my service on various boards via virtual meetings. I have a greater appreciation for the things in life we may take for granted, i.e., our health, family, friends and our spiritual well-being. I attend several church services, virtual of course, each Sunday. I have always felt I live my values. That’s been more affirmed since the pandemic.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is new to retirement?
A: My advice to recent retirees is to take a few months to reflect on your career and think through your next chapter. I did not follow my own advice. Initially, I lined up a teaching opportunity and set up an LLC with the intent of structuring my daily life. I recommend a transition period to assess a true passion vs a need to fill each day as when we were gainfully employed. There should be no guilt if you choose a path different from someone else’s path. You’ve earned the right to enjoy life as you design it. You’ve earned it!!
Please join us on March 4,2021 as we chat with Joyce about her new book, The Energy Within Us. You can register here (http://energywithinus.rsvpify.com). For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.