Meet Our Executive Director: A Q&A with John Mastronardi
John Mastronardi took the helm as executive director at The Witherell in April, joining us at a critical time during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, he’s been quite busy overseeing our short-term and skilled nursing units, while also getting acquainted with our residents and their families.
Recently, we had the opportunity to catch-up with John to discuss his vision and path to the Witherell. And we learned some interesting things about him. Check it out in our conversation below.
Q: You joined the Witherell at a challenging time for all nursing homes. Why did you feel it was important to make this move now?
Those of us in the field of caregiving do it because we’re called to it. It’s our mission and our privilege. That’s true whether we’re doctors, nurses, firefighters, or police officers. We believe we need to be there when we’re needed most to support the people we’re committed to serve.
Q: What sets the Witherell apart from other facilities you’ve known?
The work that the Nathaniel Witherell does to support seniors in our community is critical, and it’s a unique commitment that the Town of Greenwich has made. We are servants of this community, and we’re providing essential care to some of its most important citizens. When I was first approached to take over, I asked many of my colleagues about the Witherell, and their impressions were overwhelmingly positive. In coming here, I realized we have many employees who have worked here for decades! That’s unheard of at other skilled nursing facilities and it says a lot about the character of this organization.
Q: What are your future plans for the Witherell?
We are slowly beginning to accept new patients to our short-term rehabilitation unit, in accordance with guidance from the CDC and Connecticut Department of Health. Our main focus is on the safety of our residents, so admitting new short-term patients will be a gradual and measured process, undertaken very cautiously. As we look ahead though, we’d like to build on some of our unique specialty areas and make those services more readily available to people who need them. More to come on that. In the meantime, my focus will be on creating a healthier bottom line for the Witherell by consolidating and streamlining services, without sacrificing the great care for which the Witherell is known.
Q: Did you always want to work in the healthcare industry?
I’m also an adjunct professor at Pace University, and I usually tell my students that I’m the poster person for a musician without a plan B! I started out wanting to play first base for NY Yankees. Then, I wanted to be a rock star. I still sing and play keyboard and guitar, and I’ve played in bands for a really long time. But, I got involved in healthcare early on in my career and loved it. I’m a “people person” and I enjoy the constant interaction, and I have a real passion for helping people. So, although I started down one path, I’m happy it led me to where I am today!