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Retiree pens book about taking on new challenges

Posted at 9:40 PM, Dec 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-17 14:03:28-05

MILWAUKEE -- For many retirement is not about playing golf or going to the beach. It's about setting new goals, and still choosing to work. A Bayside woman is proof that leaving behind a corporate job could be good for your soul.

Mary Dowell is the founder and CEO of M.J Dowell and Associates. She worked in the corporate world for more than 3 decades before retiring and starting her own business. 
"I am very very happy," exclaims Dowell. 

Dowell is the former Vice President of Foundation Affairs and Global Community Relations at Johnson Controls. But the mother and grandmother was eager for a new challenge. She advises those considering retirement from a longtime job to ponder key questions. "Have you reached your full potential? Think about what you want do to reach your full potential. Are you satisfied where you are?," explains Dowell. 

Immediately after leaving her corporate job, Dowell continued working on her book "Playing through the Fence." It chronicles stories of 19 diverse women. Many are local. They are stories of ladies who smashed stereotypes and obliterated obstacles. The book is part memoir, and part self-help. "You can overcome those adversities and that's what the book is about." says Dowell. 
   She admits, becoming an author was not on her bucket list. She calls it divine inspiration. 

"I was at lunch with a colleague and out of the clear blue I announced to her that I'm going to write a book. While she congratulated me, I interrupted her and said I'm going to call it "Playing through the Fence. That was the first conscious thought I had of writing a book, let alone a title!," insists Dowell. She smiles.

It took Dowell one year to pen the book which has won rave reviews and 3 literary awards. In the book she describes her own childhood in the mostly segregated south.
She reads a passage that describes her own journey. 

"We knew our boundaries. I was black and Jane was white instinctively and because of frequent reminders we knew not to cross that line so we didn't neither of us wanted to risk our ability to play together or to be friends."

Dowell advises anyone considering leaving a job for something new to get a plan. 

"I started working right away on my plan, I did not wait!"  Dowell now motivates others to open up chapters of untapped talent. The key theme of her life script? We can all achieve more. 
Dowell exclaims, "There's a leader within all of us, whether we utilize it or whether we recognize it, We all have it there!"