Veronica "Ronnie" Landolfi is dancing through the next phase of her life. Since her retirement in 2006, she has devoted her full-time energy to opening her own dance studio.
Ronnie began working in the Human Resources department at Warner-Lambert's Morris Plains facility in 1985 and retired from Pfizer's Peapack, New Jersey, campus in May 2006. She was a Senior Systems Analyst in Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS).
Ronnie enjoyed her duties in payroll production and other aspects of HRIS. Her most memorable project was the data system conversion to Peoplesoft. "It was a large project that took many months and required major contributions from just about everyone," said Ronnie. "It was a huge effort and a great accomplishment; I felt proud to have been a part of it."
After her retirement, Ronnie spent the first few months "just walking my dogs." She had been a dance instructor for many years while still employed at Pfizer, and had established her own DJ service in 2005. When she decided to open a studio, her search for a commercial property to rent didn't work out, and so in December 2006 she bought a building and began the arduous process of renovation. Ronnie learned more about commercial building codes than she ever imagined. The building in Hopatcong, New Jersey, needed much work to become her new space, "Ronnie's Dance Studio."
Renovation + Rejuvenation
"Removing the refrigeration units, deli cases and counter, and especially the huge bar, was a major undertaking. We had to cut the bar up into pieces (which some locals came and took as memorabilia)" said Ronnie. "We had to find the highest level on which to install the main dance floor. We even had to install strobe lights in the bathrooms to alert clients in case of a fire."
She also converted the main dining area into a second dance studio and reconfigured the parking lot to accommodate additional cars. Fortunately, it is the kind of work that Ronnie enjoys and she was able to hold her grand opening in August 2007.
Having such a large space all her own, she has been able to expand rapidly from holding various social dancing classes to forming teams that perform at parties and fundraisers. She also performs and teaches belly dancing, and offers Zumba and Bollywood dance classes, which have become very popular forms of dance/exercise.
"I'm most happy to be able to teach at a higher level as many of my students have progressed from beginners and intermediates to advanced levels of expertise," Ronnie said.
Active Life = Happy Life
In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, camping, gardening, woodworking, and – of course – home renovation and maintenance projects. She became a grandmother last September and is expecting another grandchild soon, so babysitting is another of her "full-time jobs."
"I'm fortunate to be doing exactly what I want to do," she said. "I'm busier now than I ever was and I enjoy life more than ever. I sleep better and I don't think I've ever been in better shape."
Retirement has been a blessing for Ronnie. "I'm not looking to re-retire for a long time yet. I hope to continue doing what I'm doing for many more years." For her fellow retirees, Ronnie has this recommendation to share: "Keep active — do something to stay physically and mentally active. It adds years to your life and you'll look and feel better."