Submitted by Edna Welsheimer
Q: What was your primary career and what did you love about it?
A: Navigational Database Engineer for Honeywell 17.5 years. Working all the custom data for all the major airlines including general aircraft in the United States and Worldwide. We supplied the data for the black box you often hear of when there is a airline disaster. It was a important job and I liked responsibility.
Q: When you retired, did you feel ‘finished’ or, for you, was there still something left to do?
A: Kind of an unusual story, my younger brother was diagnosed with colon cancer at the young age of 33. Upon a visit out of state with him at the hospital, he looked me straight in the eye and he said “Sis I want you to promise me you will leave that job”. I said why Joe you know I love my job? His reply “ if you stay there Sis you are not far behind me’. Wise beyond his years he was concerned for me, long hours, he was aware that the aviation industry was difficult “especially for a woman”. My brother passed away nine days before Christmas 2000. As I returned home I knew what I had to do, I promised. I retired from Honeywell in May of 2001. Not knowing for sure what was in store. Leaving behind a well paid position, with insurance and all the benefits into the unknown. An opportunity knocked. I started working with new start up businesses. Getting their offices up and running. Installing software, setup bookkeeping, training staff, something I really liked to do. Being raised up in a family owned business, I grew up in finance and bookkeeping working with my mother in an office environment. Then it grew into working more in the finance arena, then office management and doing bookkeeping full time. Then we moved from the big city, another change, to a rural community. I started working for a Senior Center, Operations Manager for their Senior Thrift Shop. It lead me to where I am now, the Executive Director of Time Out, Inc., a Domestic Violence Shelter, Thrift shop and Transitional Housing. That is another story in itself, I started as a Volunteer Marketing Support Specialist and five months later the Interim Executive Director, four months later the Executive Director.
Q: What inspires you and why?
A: Being a domestic violence survivor myself, I truly believe I was meant to be here all along. I have always been inspired by people who could give back to their communities or help better the communities they live in. Thousand of volunteer hours for various great causes. I’ve always wanted to help. People who give back to their communities always seem to have a big smile on their faces. I wanted that smile and now I have it!
Q: How does your unique set of experiences make a difference for the community in your work now?
A: We have an awesome community. We collaborate with the non-profits organizations to help each other. The women and children I work with daily and my staff of well trained advocates, counselers provide the tools and resources to help them overcome years of abuse inspires me to help more. To let them know they are a survivor, “not a victim”. Seeing these women become a vital part of our community makes me smile. It drove me back to school to become a Grant Writer and I finished grant writing classes at ASU Lodestar this past July. We are a non-profit organization and we always need funding to support our shelter operations. It allows me to help in an enormous way.
Q: What’s your advice for boomers who are about to launch their own “second act”?
A: Find your passion, visit with other people or organizations you might be interested in. Talk to your friends, look at your community calendar, get involved. It is never to late, just another chapter!