Retirement means finding the right work and play balance

No more 80-hour work weeks. Saying goodbye to years of commuting from Los Angeles to New York.

That’s part of how baby boomer Eileen Raney saw retirement from Deloitte and Touche, the mammoth international firm that offers auditing, accounting, financial advisory, risk management and tax services to clients in industries as diverse as defense and health care.

When she left Deloitte after 20 years in 2007, she was one of the firm’s top executives, serving as national managing principal in Research and Development while also a member of the company’s U.S. Executive Committee.

Her innovations in integrated services for the firm resulted in new revenue of over $1 billion annually. She’d also been a member of the board of directors.

Raney, 67, who’s lived in Las Vegas for 10 years, is completely at home in the worlds of organizational strategy and high finance.

So at home she didn’t want to completely leave them.

“What I didn’t want are the 80-hour weeks and the commuting,” she said recently as she sat in her Red Rock Country Club home. “But I saw retirement as a chance to pursue things I ordinarily wouldn’t have been able to pursue — a chance to strategize for a variety of organizations and companies.”

That has translated to serving on advisory boards for UNLV Libraries, University Medical Center and FINO Consulting as well as becoming a member of boards of directors at Nevada Health Centers and gaming companies Everi Holdings and SHFL Entertainment Inc.

Raney and her husband Tom, a former percussionist with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Los Angeles Opera, moved to Las Vegas because they appreciated the lower cost of living and less traffic.

When the Raneys, both avid golfers, walk in their Red Rock neighborhood, their labradoodles, Parker and Roxie, often prance next to them.

Married for 34 years, the Raneys met one night while he played in the orchestra pit and she sat in the front row. As their love story goes, a two-hour initial conversation was often interrupted by a ballet.

Eileen Raney, who uses Pilates and two long walks per day to stay in shape, had no business contacts when she came to Las Vegas.

And then one night at a party, she met Flora and Stuart Mason — he is now deceased — who’d begun the UNLV Libraries Mason Undergraduate Peer Research Coach program, which provides scholarships to students. The Masons introduced Raney to Patricia Iannuzzi, dean of UNLV’s university libraries.

Soon the Raneys began giving to the libraries and in 2010 Eileen Raney joined the libraries’ board of directors.

“Eileen has really helped us promote our research role to the business community,” Iannuzzi said.

Raney’s ability to network quickly led to other strategic roles in Las Vegas, including a key position on the advisory board of the then financially troubled University Medical Center.

UMC CEO Mason VanHouweling says Raney’s business acumen was a key to UMC’s remarkable financial turnaround. UMC recently was in the black, only a few years after county leaders thought it may have to be shuttered.

“Most of her time at Deloitte she worked with health care so her advice has been invaluable,” VanHouweling said.

Miles Kiburn, chairman of the board of Everi, which is a cash access provider to the gaming industry as well as a slot game developer, said Raney’s ability to analyze financial situations has helped lead to a seamless transition for the company into a new business in slot gaming.

“Intellectually I wasn’t prepared to retire and only play golf and walk my dogs,” Raney said. “Now I feel like I have the right work and play balance.”

Paul Harasim’s column runs Sunday, Tuesday and Friday in the Nevada section and Monday in the Health section. Contact him at pharasim@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5273. Follow @paulharasim on Twitter.

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