Retirement Recognition – Joan Donnelly

As many of you are well aware, after 13 ½ years with the DeForest Group, and 22 years working with Alan DeForest, Joan Donnelly has retired this past month.  On July 3rd we sent Joan off with well wishes, hugs and some tears.  Joan was the Controller, responsible for many duties and in large part the financial aspect of the business. Most significantly Joan has helped shape the DeForest Group into the business it has become today.

When asked about the beginning stages of the company Joan said ”when we were starting DeForest Group many years ago, we had absolutely nothing and a staff of only 6 employees!  We had zero policies and 17 partner agents. It is both mind boggling and phenomenal to see how much we have grown in a short amount of time. I’m glad to have been a part of it.”

Joan has worn many hats through her progression at the DeForest Group.  Her favorite position however was overseeing the Accounting Department because she loved her staff so dearly.  “The people I work with are cool.  They make me laugh. Maybe I’m not supposed to laugh, but I do,” she explained.  She fondly refers to her Accounting Staff as “Top shelf.”  “They don’t work for me, they work with me. We are a team, and I couldn’t be prouder.”  

Betsy Cashara, Staff Accountant, said “the best quality about Joan is her attention to detail and follow-through.  Nothing would slip through the cracks because she really knows her stuff.  On a personal level, I really appreciated her sense of humor.  Quirky, but really up my alley.  These two things (her attention to detail and her rather strange sense of humor) are also what made her a good boss.  She was a team player here, appreciated that she had a group of team players working for her, and she let us know it.   She definitely led by example, rolling up her sleeves when a difficult task came down the pike. You can’t ask for more than that.”

This is an example she set for others as well, not just in her own department.  Joan has created many personal relationships along the way, considering us all her work family and she our den mother (Just kidding Joan, sort of). You may consider her “no bull – can do attitude” as one of her most memorable qualities, but she demanded respect just as abundantly a she gave it.

Joan’s accomplishments include the structural and digital implementations within the office. She has helped build the foundation that the organization follows internally, as well as, helped us grow digitally which has increased effectiveness and efficiency in our office.

 Kristin Golgoski, Bookkeeper, had worked with Joan in Accounting for the last 6 years explained, “I admired and continue to admire Joan, and her work ethic. She was extremely knowledgeable in many different arenas and if there was the rare occasion she was unsure of something, she would go to the end of the earth researching it. She was extremely dedicated to the company and to her department. I was a neophyte entering the accounting department but with her thoroughness, patience and wit she successfully bred me into the employee I am today. It has been an honor working under her for the past 6 years. Joan may be retired but her essence will remain a permanent fixture here at DeForest Group”

Joan has been the glue that keeps us all together here DeForest Group and we hope to somehow fill the void. Perhaps with Tiramisu cake, her favorite. She was our go to person, one we could call on when we were in a jam or needed help or even just needed someone to vent to on occasion. So since we can’t be Joan or have her back, will all strive to live in her stellar example! Joan intends on relocating someplace warm and looks forward to the next chapter, as she has never been afraid of moving forward.  Wishing her a fun and fruitful retirement!

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