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Thomas Mastro M.B.A. ’75 and Moira Mastro M.S.W. ’05: Making Relationships Matter

Alumni, Professionals


 

Published:

April 5, 2012
Tagged: Robert B. Willumstad School of Business, School of Social Work, Garden City
 

Thomas Mastro M.B.A. ’75 and Moira Mastro M.S.W. ’05: Making Relationships Matter

Alumni, Professionals


 

Members of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.

Memorable Adelphi facultyMoira: Trudy Goldberg, Patricia Joyce, Maria Cuadra, and Regina Tracy.

Proudest Accomplishment: 
Tom: Due to the events of September 11, our general ledger and money management systems went down.  We had to put a balance sheet together by the end of the month, with no general ledger to work from.  I was working 24/7, six straight weeks without a day off.  It was a desperate situation at the time, but we were able to overcome the systemic problems, construct the corporation’s balance sheet and meet both NY State and Federal Reserve Bank examiners’ requirements.   

Recommended Reading: Moira:  The Seat of the Soul, by Gary Zukav

Advice for Current Adelphi Students:
Tom: You need to stay on top of more than just your academics.  Keep current on the events occurring in the business world.  You’ll get an entirely different perspective by reading the Wall Street JournalNew York Times, and Financial Times.

Moira: Being a student is about being receptive to new ideas and ways of thinking.  So practice listening, be flexible and find something to appreciate in every person you meet and every experience you have.

Making Relationships Matter

For Tom and Moira Mastro finding career success, and each other, was a direct result of their ability to relate to others.

In 1974, Mr. Mastro came to Adelphi after realizing there were limited opportunities for upward mobility within the brokerage firm without an M.B.A. degree in his portfolio.  “I needed an M.B.A. and needed it as soon as possible,” says Mr. Mastro.  “Adelphi allowed me to take five classes a semester, a course load that exceeded the maximum number of credits a student is normally allowed to take.  I will always feel indebted to the University for being so understanding of my situation.” 

While pursuing his studies at Adelphi, he also began teaching at a parochial school full time to offset tuition costs.  “I was teaching and prepping for classes during the day, studying on the weekend, and taking classes at Adelphi in the evening,” he says.  He managed to earn the 42 credits required for his M.B.A., as he recalls, “one year, one month, one day” from the day he started at Adelphi.

The real-world perspective he gained from his professors is what Mr. Mastro considers to be the most beneficial aspect of his educational experience. “The School of Business had professors in the field who integrated practical business into their classes.”  Within two months of graduating, he began working as a financial analyst at the Irving Trust Company, where he immediately felt the impact of his degree.

“I had a leg up on my colleagues, many of whom were graduates from Ivy League colleges.  Their education was academically driven, but lacked the practical experience I had acquired,” he says.  “Throughout my career, they sought the advice of the Adelphi graduate.”

Initially reporting directly to the controller of the holding company, he eventually had direct contact with the Chairman as he ascended to positions such as Manager of reports and consolidation and eventually, the corporation’s Comptroller.  He found his practical approach and interpersonal skills to be invaluable assets.

“Whether you’re dealing with business leaders, the Chairman, President, or the CFO, you need to be honest, straightforward, and you need to know the business,” he says.  “I could relate on the business side, and that was unique.  Over the course of my 34 year career, the people I found that had that ability were few and far between.”

At the time he was ascending the ranks at Irving, Mr. Mastro’s future wife was working in the corporate sector.  “Tom was managing financials for Irving Trust Company and I was responsible for coordinating a variety of reports and filings in the Bank Holding Company. When it came time to sign off on the 10K (an annual report required by the SEC each year) I would call Tom, who could walk me through some of the details,” says Moira Mastro.

While their paths first crossed at Irving in 1985, it wasn’t until years later that their relationship developed into something more.  In 1989 – the year Irving Trust merged with the Bank of New York – Tom and Moira were married.

Mr. Mastro’s highly accomplished career at the Bank of New York culminated in the position of Executive Vice President and Comptroller.  While his career grew within a single organization, Mrs. Mastro’s career didn’t follow as straight a path.  She originally earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology, and worked as a caseworker right out of college.  Although she found the work gratifying – “it was the field I was always meant to be in” – she also had an interest in the legal field as a path to serving others.  

She decided to enter the corporate arena in the capacity of a paralegal, and obtained certification through Adelphi University’s Paralegal program.  “My Adelphi paralegal certification opened the door to opportunities and earned me positions at well-respected law firms and banks,” she says, such as Irving Trust.

Mrs. Mastro’s career in the corporate world would later progress into the investment banking industry, where she was named a vice president at Lehman Brothers.  The operations manager within Fixed Income Derivatives at the firm, she found her psychology background prepared her well for the interactions she faced in a competitive business environment.  “It was fast-paced and fun!  No two days were the same. Hundreds of trades were processed each day, and my department was responsible for processing those trades, contract negotiations and IT projects” she says.  “You learn to balance different personalities and manage competing expectations.”

It was her aptitude to relate with individuals from such varied backgrounds and on so many different levels that motivated her to return to her roots and embark on a “second” career in the field of social services.  “After staying home to raise our children for several years, I decided I wanted to pursue my passion,” says Mrs. Mastro, who enrolled in Adelphi’s Master of Social Work program in 2002.

“My professors at Adelphi challenged me to think critically,” says Mrs. Mastro, who also credits her professors for making her transition back into the classroom so smooth.  At the University she savored the experiential learning opportunities offered, and was involved in focus groups and projects that incorporated work in the community. 

“I received great training at the University,” she says.  “Adelphi provided a great model in the academic setting, so I had confidence when I entered the clinical setting.”

Today, Mrs. Mastro is a therapist at the Southeast Nassau Guidance Center, Inc., an outpatient substance abuse treatment agency.  Working primarily with adult men and women, she finds the connections she makes with these individuals to be the most rewarding aspect of therapy:  “I appreciate the opportunity to help clients explore thoughts and feelings with a focus on changing behaviors that may no longer serve them. And in the process, they help me to continue to grow spiritually, and emotionally,” she says.

“Moira really digs underneath the surface to try to understand people,” says Mr. Mastro.  “She’s a great listener and gives sound advice.  It’s easy for people to open up to her because she’s so trustworthy.”

In their free time, the Mastros enjoy golfing (a round of golf was one of their very first dates) and travelling.

 
Tagged: Robert B. Willumstad School of Business, School of Social Work, Garden City
 
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