One of a kind at Johnson
By Shannon O’Dea Dawson
In an office of one, Loretta Dray has worked for over 30 years representing Johnson Insurance on campus. Ms. Dray chose Johnson Insurance as her first job and hasn’t looked back. She began in the fall of 1978 at the main office on Elizabeth Avenue and the following year came to Memorial University.
"I’ve had customers insured with me since the day I started," said Ms. Dray. "They're like family."
And Ms. Dray knows a thing or two about family having been raised as one of 11 children. She works alone on campus in the University Centre as branch supervisor, caring for 3,900 customers, many of whom are long-term and retired staff.
Ms. Dray has a Memorial parking permit, is invited to participate in flu clinics and other initiatives on campus, and is treated like a university colleague.
People on campus relate to her 32-year commitment to Johnson as a commitment to Memorial.
"I feel I'm treated the same as staff at Memorial," explained Ms. Dray. "I have the best of both worlds. Johnson is an excellent employer. We meet each year for a forum with colleagues all over the province and I have an annual service review. I work at Memorial and feel connected knowing I have the full support of Johnson. That's a great feeling."
Ms. Dray was recently joined by a colleague transferring from Marystown, which has been a pleasant adjustment.
“It's certainly different working with another person after all these years," said Ms. Dray. "A welcome change. Everyone needs change. It's been great."
Memorial University has enjoyed an excellent relationship with Johnson for more than four decades. Johnson is an insurance provider, scholarship donor, event sponsor, major employer of graduates, general ambassador, and overall supporter of Memorial. Like Ms. Dray, Johnson has shared Memorial's vision of advancing innovation and excellence in the province. This is done simply and consistently with a focus on service.
“The best part of my job is helping people," sums up Ms. Dray. “I speak with most clients by phone or e-mail, but people are glad they can drop by for personal service.”
While Ms. Dray could retire in six years, she's not sure what the future will hold. "I could have freedom 55,” said Ms. Dray. “But I'm really enjoying what I do. And now with a second person in the office, I can meet my sister at lunchtime and go to the gym together. We try to go to The Works every day.”