Three Amigas: Yvonne Perry, Lisa Woods and Dianna Patterson
Trios are hard to beat. Three is a natural number for a group of ladies who like to volunteer together. Yet there aren’t too many MLGW volunteer trios like the Three Amigas, considering all the events they have worked in partnership.
The three section supervisors, Dianna Patterson, North Community Ofc.; Yvonne Perry, Lamar Community Ofc.; and Lisa Woods, Whitehaven Community Ofc., can be found staffing MLGW booths and volunteering for everything from Africa in April to Juneteenth or the recent Grizzlies Go Green Expo. When they volunteer, co-workers often call them the Three Musketeers. Though they have a secret team name they won’t divulge, all three like “the Three Amigas” – because they have all become fast friends.
Dianna started as a clerk in Gas Engineering 27 years ago. She worked in Meter Reading, then Adjustments, Collections and Credit Counseling where she was promoted to section supervisor in 2008. Yvonne came to MLGW more than 25 years ago as a part-time mail handler, then cashier in the Cashier dept. before her promotions to credit counselor, then section supervisor. And Lisa’s 25 years with the Division began as a clerk-typist in Transportation. Then she worked from the bottom to the top level in Customer Service, from teller to credit counselor and service advisor, to administrative assistant to the VP, then chief credit counselor before becoming a section supervisor.
It was as section supervisors about six years ago that Lisa, Yvonne and Dianna began volunteering as a team. They met at various volunteer events, but had never planned to team up. “We just kinda jelled,” says Dianna. “We were all into the same things and discovered that we work well together. We’re all friends – so different, but we think alike.” Lisa is diplomatic, Yvonne is no-nonsense (telling it straight), and Dianna is sweet. As section supervisors, they can talk shop and discuss issues when traffic at the booth is slow.
Together, they have volunteered for Africa in April, Juneteenth, Southern Women’s Show, Sisterhood Showcase, company picnics, March of Dimes, MLGW Go Green events, Energy Conservation Days, Jr. Achievement Bowl-a-Thons, Salvation Army Angel Tree, Delta Fair, MLGW’s Golf Tournament, Southern Home and Garden Expo, Mistletoe Merchants and individually for Habitat for Humanity. It would take another page to list all the events and charities for which they have individually volunteered. Make no mistake, these are some volunteerin’ ladies! They have worked several events together just over the past year.
When asked which event they could all point to as a group favorite, they said Salvation Army Angel Tree. It’s rewarding for them to know people who don’t have much for the Holidays will get some joy (and presents) from generous donors. “It’s nice to know we’re able to help somebody and make a difference,” says Lisa. “And the giving spirit of my fellow employees is awesome!”
“The last time I volunteered for the Angel Tree Phone Bank, I had a customer on the line who wanted to know if I could also take her three sisters’ information, then her aunt’s information and even two neighbors’ information so their kids could receive Angel gifts,” says Yvonne. “I remember thinking, ‘One call took care of an entire block!’”
All three feel they have become energy conservation savvy, which is often the focus of MLGW info booths. They occasionally get negative comments from visitors, to whom they give suggestions on how to save money on utilities. “Surprisingly, some of the more positive comments we get are from out-of-towners who have moved here after paying high utility costs in other towns,” says Dianna. “They can’t believe people here complain when their bills are so low. But we can help folks save money with good advice on energy conservation.”
Lisa says, “I get gratification from volunteering. It’s the feeling that goes with making a difference in someone’s life. You should try it; you may find you like it!” Yvonne says, “It feels wonderful to give back. If you want a warm fuzzy feeling, volunteer.” Dianna calls volunteering “the greatest and most uplifting thing of my life. It’s a fulfilling and rewarding experience if you enjoy helping people. It becomes a habit.”
It’s a habit the “Three Amigas” share, one they enjoy doing as a trio, a team. No doubt you’ll see them out there, working together to make Memphis a better place.