S: Cheryl's Retirement
FC: Cheryl's Retirement from Aon Consulting | February, 2011
1: Dear Cheryl, I wish you all the best as you enter this most exciting phase of your life and I hope you enjoy retirement as much as I have! I remember a newspaper article entitled “Retirement: It’s time to let myself go – and go for it” by syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman who retired at the end of 2009. Here is part of what she said: “Where will you go when you let yourself go? To let this question fill the free space between deadlines in my life has been quite liberating. It suggests the freedom that can fuel this journey. Looking backward and forward, I belong to a generation that has transformed our culture. We've been the change agents for civil rights, women's rights, gay rights. Now, we find ourselves on the cutting edge of another huge social change. This time, it's the longevity revolution. Ours is the first generation to collectively cross the demarcation line of senior citizenship with actuarial tables on our side.” Here are my suggestions for letting yourself go (many taken from personal experience): Go – to lunch with fellow retirees (I’m so glad to have another female in the group!) Go – rediscover an old hobby or take up a new one Go – to concerts, plays, museums, gardens, games Go – to the Bay house Go – on day trips with girlfriends Go – volunteer or teach Go – take a class (or 2 or 3) Go – to an afternoon movie matinee any weekday Go – stay in the house all day when it snows or rains Go – to the gym whenever you want Go – golfing whenever the weather is nice Go – on more exotic vacations Go – spend time with the family Go – enjoy yourself every day! "There's a trick to the Graceful Exit. It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, a relationship is over -- and to let go. It means leaving what's over without denying its validity or its past importance in our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving on rather than out. The trick of retiring well may be the trick of living wellIt's hard to recognize that life isn't a holding action, but a process. It's hard to learn that we don't leave the best parts of ourselves behind, back in the dugout or the office. We own what we learned back there. The experiences and the growth are grafted onto our lives. And when we exit, we can take ourselves along -- quite gracefully". And may the actuarial tables (with mortality improvement) always be on your side! Fondly, Cindy
2: Cheryl, Congratulations on your retirement. This marks the end of an era. There are no actuaries left in the office who practiced before the passage of ERISA. Now your focus can change from the alphabet soup of the benefit actuary’s life of ERISA, TEFRA, DEFRA, REA, various OBRAs, ERTA, TRA, COBRA, SEPPA, MPPA, ADEA, USERA, HIPPA, IRS, DOL, PBGC and the ever popular FASB. No longer must you worry about transition rules, effective dates, grandfather provisions and arbitrary regulatory interpretations. Now you can focus on the important questions in life: What am I doing here? Where did I park my car? Who is this big guy with white hair and glasses and why is he talking to me? What time does the senior citizens dinner start? Now instead of keeping track of CE credits, the important thing is where did I put my AARP card and how much discount does it get me here? Finally there is time to let out those skills you’ve always known you possessed: concert pianist, scratch golfer, operatic soloist and pug trainer. Enjoy a long and healthy retirement. Gary
3: Cheryl: I still remember the day I first met you when you interviewed me for the summer intern job at Y&O. I had already made up my mind that I wanted to be an actuary, but at the time all I knew was that an actuary was someone who used math all day. From that very first day, you taught me how an actuary could be so much more: a professional, a leader, a mentor, and a trusted advisor. Your example inspired me to strive to be the best that I could be. You always took the time to help me when I needed it. When I thought my work was “good enough,” you showed me how to take it to the next level. Although some of our travels together are the most memorable, your guidance and friendship over the years are the most important. Your day-to-day presence in the office (especially at 11:30 a.m.) will be greatly missed. Thank you for all that you have done for me. Congratulations on a great career. I wish you a long, healthy, and happy retirement. You have earned it! Chet
4: I’m going to miss you! Cheryl – I am so lucky to have been put on your team when I started working here. I think things would have turned out differently had I been placed on another team. You’ve been an inspiration, a mentor, and a friend. You have guided me through the process of becoming a consultant, both the purely technical aspects and developing the best way to relate to clients. I am very grateful to have been able to work for you and with you over the years. You deserve the best retirement – enjoy! Rachel
5: Cheryl, It's been a pleasure working with you over the years. One thing in particular I will miss will be our morning conversations. Sometimes a topic will come from nowhere... especially our chats about growing up (activities, school, friends) and our family members. Before you know it, time has flown by and we have to stop so we can get our work day started. We had some great laughs! Keep laughing and continue to be the wonderful person you are. I'll miss you. Angie Bush
6: Dear Cheryl, Thinking back over my A&A/Aon years, I can only think of one or two individuals who I have respected and admired as much as I respect and admire you. From the day I began working in the Baltimore office, you were my role model for leadership at A&A/Aon. Alan Keith of Genentech always says that, "Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen." You led the way to make something extraordinary happen in our office and throughout the firm...we always knew that while we were working hard and, many times, long hours, we were contributing to a premier office. At the end of the day, there was a great deal of satisfaction in knowing that we were part of "something extraordinary." On a personal note, I also admired how you successfully balanced work and family. I remember how, when I transferred to the A&A/Baltimore office, soon after meeting and working with you, you were confined to bed rest with the yet-to-be-born twins. I remember how you continued to work from home, careful to lie on one side to protect the babies (working from home, and on medical leave, was unheard of in the late 1980's!). This was well before Blackberries, laptops, iPhones, and iPads, but you managed to get all of your work done and still adhere to doctor's orders. Amazing! Also on a personal note...I love your fashion sense, Cheryl! Do you remember when we went to Barb and Jon's wedding wearing the same brightly flowered dress? We looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito. And do you remember our pink plaid suit that, no matter how hard we tried, we always wore on the same day of the work week? And I could never figure out why your skirt wasn't "floozy" short...and mine was... I want to thank you for your friendship, Miss Cheryl. You have always been there for me, whether I was part of the the Baltimore office, the Chicago office, or no office at all! You've given me excellent advice about client situations, HR matters, and personal matters. I thank you for all your wise (and kind) words. So now you join Ron, Nancy, Cindy, Gary, and me (and many others) in the wonderful world of retirement! Welcome to our world, CT! I wish you good times, many, many more adventures, great health, and lots and lots of time with your boys and family. Happy Retirement, Cheryl Tillman, and congratulations! All the best always, Janet
7: When Cheryl, Susan Alford and I were working on a massive compliance review project for Scholastic Books, we always somehow managed to hold our meeting at their headquarters in Soho (Manhattan) at such a time as to allow ourselves to have lunch together at this perfectly “French” bistro called Balthazar. Needless to say, it was a real treat given the enormity of the work that we performed for Scholastic to treat ourselves to this! Dave Sanders
8: Cheryl: What a story you could tell about the organization you leave behind. First we were Alexander & Alexander. Then, Aon. Then, Aon Hewitt. And, you have left an indelible mark on the success of each iteration. You have always impressed me with your smarts, impactful insights, and unwavering desire to do what’s right for the client. But, what I will miss the most is sharing parenting stories with you. I guess what this means is that while you have been an outstanding consulting actuary, your priorities have always been family first and foremost. That’s the best legacy you could ever leave. Enjoy the next chapter of your life and visit us often. Helen
9: Cheryl, Congratulations on your retirement and welcome to the Cool (Retired) Girls Club! I recall that one of our favorite mutual clients once said of you: “She’s everything you want your actuary to be!” And, he was right. You can be so proud of having created a wonderful career all while being a wonderful mother, wife, sister, daughter, and friend. But now since you have so many other talents and resources than just being a fabulous actuary, may you finally get to enjoy them! I wish you travel and adventure, I wish you family time and projects at home that you can actually finish, I wish you lifelong learning and exploring whatever you feel like exploring! I also wish you sleeping in with no clock and no commute, I wish you no billing, no timesheets, no mergers, and no managers! People will ask (almost daily) “but what do you DO when you’re retired???” Be sure to answer: Anything I want! Enjoy your retirement and stay in touch! Nancy Walburn
10: I will always remember my interview with Cheryl in March 1990. We spent much of the time talking about raising one-year old boys (one for me, two for her!). It was obvious that family was extremely important to her. As we walked down the hallway, she cheerfully greeted each co-worker she passed and often asked how their spouse and children were doing (she knew all their names and I think dates of birth and social security numbers!). Although I was very impressed with the whole organization and everyone I met that day, I kept coming back to how comfortable Cheryl made everyone feel and how genuinely interested she was in making A&A a nice place to work. Cheryl, thank you giving me the opportunity to work with you (and I promise not to tell ANYONE about the time you drove into the chain link fence at a prospect and asked me nicely to “please get out and fix that..”!) Steve King
11: Excerpt from Paul Mack's "The Proposal - The Boilerplate We've All Been Looking For ) Cheryl E. Tillman, FSABTT (FSA Between Two Thorns), will be the Token Female Manager. She will not do anything Greg, Steve or Paul ask her to do, and eventually find a way to get back at them for dragging her into all these proposals. Cheryl has lots of experience, two kids and enjoys cooking, despite having flunked home economics at MIT.
13: Till-womanology An emerging consulting discipline that is likely to keep us on the leading edge is the science of correctly identifying the proper “Till-woman” to our clients (and ourselves). Please match the correct “Till-woman” to the description below. To register Barbara Tilghman, note “ambulance chaser” after the description. To register Cheryl Tillman, post the product of the present value of your age to the third power divided by the square root of the beta of your billing rate (don’t forget the 6% load)! Who’s this Till-woman? a.Named after an island? b.Named after Ron DeStefano? c.Climbs tall mountains with twins? d.Climbs on a stool to see over the top of her desk? e.Never says “yes” or “no”, unless it is followed by “but”? f.Never says “yes” or “no”, unless it is followed by “it depends”?
14: Corporate Employee Benefit Memorandum To: Cheryl Barbara Tilghman Tillman DeStefano From: Employee Benefits Department Re: File Maintenance Project - Personal Data Update Date: 8/13/01 1. Name: Cheryl Barbara, you have too many names or insufficient hyphens. Absent hyphens, US employees are allotted file space for three names only. You must delete two of your names or provide proper hyphenation. To maintain all five names, you must insert two hyphens (and we might add, if this is the case, you may want to consider taking the Aon University course on how to select your man).
15: 2. Timesheet Filing Discrepancies: We have two timesheet records under your various aliases. One indicates a timesheet has not been filed in over six years, the other reflects a three day workweek. Please indicate whether your timesheet status is zero, three or five days per week. Also please note that the information provided for this item must be consistent with the response to the next item. 3. Occupation and Consulting Discipline: The data indicates two specialties, actuary and attorney. Other than sharing a common first letter and the inability to construct a declarative sentence, the two professions constitute an occupational oxymoron and can not be used together in our database. Please indicate your actual occupation below.
16: 4. Photo Identity: We have what appear to be two different biography/ obituary photographs in your file (not to mention the numerous unofficial photos we keep for job security purposes). So that we may eliminate the incorrect photo, please indicate below which most correctly describes you: Brunette - Short Blond - Very Short WOW! 5. Age: Your file contains multiple dates of birth. We attempted to eliminate those that were obviously incorrect through photo identification. The two photos (neither of which is flattering if you don't mind us saying so) complicated this step.
17: We would appreciate your prompt attention to this matter. In order to achieve our challenging deadline for this project, your response must be completed within 47 seconds after receiving this message. You will receive a confirmation statement within our strict turnaround schedule (i.e., in a blue moon). Thank you for your cooperation, Cheryl Barbara. We know you welcome this opportunity to be of service to us. If you ever need anything from the Employee Benefits Department, be assured our response will reflect our Vision Statement - To be of use to someone someday, if we feel like it.
18: Sent: Monday, February 28, 2011 4:19:33 PM Subject: Til we meet again Dear Aon Friends, Past and Present: After almost 30 years with Alexander & Alexander/A&ACG/ACG/Aon Consulting/Aon Hewitt, I am joining Ron in retirement. Today is my last day. I wanted to take this opportunity to say “Thanks for the Memories.” My time here has been rich and fulfilling. I have made so many wonderful friends and was lucky to work in an environment that encouraged my creativity and growth. We had a lot of fun, many laughs, a few tears, and many, many interesting challenges. I will treasure these memories always. I am excited to move along to the next phase of my life. FASB and ESOP (a very old Ginsburg joke) will graduate from college in May and are busily planning for the next stage in their lives. Ron and I look forward to continuing our world travels (the bucket list is still quite long), working on our golf games (I’m not sure we have enough years left to get to the level of “Still Needs Work”), taking some college classes, and spending more time with our family and friends. My new contact information is shown below. Please feel free to keep in touch. My best wishes for much success and happiness in whatever endeavors you pursue. Fondly, Cheryl E. Tillman Retired m +1.410.599.8890 firstname.lastname@example.org
20: Since retirement actuaries are jacks-of-all trades, they need a similarly wide range of skills. Finance, math, and probability are actuaries' key strengths but so are interpersonal skills and an ability to analyze. This is because they need to interact with and assess the needs of a wide variety of people, from human resources managers to executives to lower-level employees.
21: May your days be long and sunny and filled with joy and laughter - Happy Retirement!