For many of us, the major part of our life has us going to work, interacting with our co-workers and customers for 8 hours and then returning home to our family, friends and loved ones. If you are lucky, some of these people become your friends making the work experience that much more enjoyable.
For Erna Ohlsson, her 50 years of Industry Group Management has taken her far beyond this level of acquaintances. Her customers or “group members” have become her family and loved ones. She has not only opened her home to her groups but has forged lifetime friendships that have seen her included in their family gatherings. For many, the first call made after a job promotion, job change or family news is to Erna.
But don’t let that “Swedish Charm” fool you: This is one tough lady that entered a male dominated fraternity and not only earned their respect but became a trusted confident to many who help grow LA’s business community. All this while running a department responsible for administrating over 150 credit groups per month before fax machines and the internet, relying on the United States Postal system to insure that all group members received their reports.
Sometime in Mid-December, she will secretary her final meeting, pass out the 3 statements she has heard read thousands of times, distribute reports and carefully monitor the proceedings . Being that it is the holiday season, she has most likely organized some type of gift exchange and I am willing to wager that a bottle of Champagne, her beverage of choice, will make an appearance. At the conclusion of the meeting, she will pack up her group book for the final time.
In January, new group secretaries will be assigned to administrate her groups. Like Jay Leno taking over for Johnny Carson, they will have one tough act to follow. We ask for your patience during this transition. We are aware of the task ahead of us replacing someone who conducted her meetings much like her own life, with class, dignity and professionalism.
To Erna Ohlsson, thank you for a job well done. Enjoy retirement!
Author: Larry Convoy, Supervisor-Industry Credit Groups