Ending One Chapter, Beginning Another

Denise poses with coworkers at her retirement party on her last day of work at Boyce & Bynum Pathology Laboratories after 30 years of service.

Walking into Boyce & Bynum Pathology Laboratories – the largest, private anatomic, clinical and molecular pathology laboratory in the Midwest – you immediately notice the sterile environment typical of a clinical lab. What goes unnoticed is the effort of employees like Denise who the lab has depended on for 30 years to keep the glass and plasticware clean for departments throughout the lab.

This past February, Denise said her goodbyes to the lab as she prepared to enter retirement. She enjoyed cake, balloons, and a farewell celebration with her coworkers who sent her off with gratitude and appreciation for what she brought to the work environment over the years. 

Labeled by her supervisor and Manager of Department of Histopathology, Steve Weaver, as the “mean clean dishwashing machine,” Denise never let her disability define her job performance.

“Many departments depended on her work. In 20 years for me, I never had a negative issue, it’s always been positive.  Denise has just done great work not only for me and my department, but for the company,” said Steve.

As well as successfully fulfilling her job requirements, Denise also brought joy and laughter to those around her. 

Coworkers hugged Denise and held back tears as Steve said a few final words, “Over the years we’ve seen many people come and go, and there have been some hard days here at the lab. But we can always depend on you to raise our spirits, smile and elevate us. We’ll miss you dearly. We thank you for bringing a smile to everyone.”

According to Fast Company, employers who have a more inclusive work culture have improved trust among employees, which in turn means greater performance, increased engagement and higher productivity. Looking around at Denise and her peers as she prepares to leave, it’s clear that her work ethic, determination and ability to adapt and overcome challenges created a positive outcome at Boyce & Bynum.

As Denise enters retirement, the big question now is, what’s next?

“It’s a misconception that individuals with a disability can’t enjoy retirement life like any of us want to do,” said Assistant to the Director of Supported Living Natasha Sigoloff.  “Denise is utilizing Para-Transit to remain independent to get to pottery classes, participating in the Special Olympics, and accessing trails to work on staying healthy. She doesn’t want to sit at home, she is exploring her options on what she wants to do next, but not rushing in to anything.”

Steve and others are already making plans to visit and catch up with Denise. As she ponders on her next stage of life, Denise is looking forward to doing … whatever she wants.