Julia: Mike – we are so excited to have you on the team! Can you tell us what drew you to The Milestone Foundation?
Mike: The Milestone Foundation’s mission is truly a special one; a quality mission is important to me, as is knowing that my work makes a difference. Not to mention, the growth, culture, and awards won by Milestone speak for themselves. Plus, with the Foundation headquartered in Buffalo [New York], it was a perfect fit!
Julia: That’s great to hear! Our mission also drew me in. Your answer also leads me to my second question … where would you live if you didn’t live in Buffalo?
Mike: Well, based on the weather and last year’s snowstorm, I would like to go somewhere warm. Maybe somewhere down South, like North or South Carolina.
Julia: Oh yeah, last year’s winter was brutal! Have you ever been to the Carolinas?
Mike: I have! I’ve been to Ocean Isle, NC, and Charleston, SC.
Julia: What is your favorite sports team?
Mike: This may be a surprise, but it’s the Atlanta Braves! I grew up in the 90s, and they played on TBS and were winning during that time. They won the World Series in 1995, and I took a liking to a number of their players. I was lucky enough to see them win two World Series games in Atlanta in 2021.
Julia: You’re right, that IS surprising! Especially for being a Buffalo native. So I take it you’re a baseball fan?
Mike: Absolutely! I played third base on Medaille University’s baseball team all four years of college.
Julia: What would you do with your extra time if you didn’t have to sleep?
Mike: Ultimately, I think I would spend more time on the golf course. Ideally somewhere warmer than Buffalo. I’m a fair-weather attender of all things – sports, events, concerts, you name it.
Julia: I’m with you on that, count me in if it’s nice outside! Now here is a tough question. If you could invite anyone to dinner, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
Mike: I would invite my grandpa, who passed before I was born. Everyone in my family says I’m most like him, so I would like to have the chance to meet him. Allegedly he was a great time!
Julia: That’s such a sweet answer, grandparents really are a treasure! Now, what is at the top of your bucket list?
Mike: I would love to go to Italy. My heritage is Italian, so it would be nice to see my roots. I’d just love to explore and eat all the good food.
Julia: What would be your dream vacation?
Mike: Can I say Italy again?
Julia: Absolutely! Any place in particular?
Mike: I’d love to see all of Italy, but I would really love to visit Positano. All the colorful buildings on the coast would be nice.
Julia: Is there a fictional place you would visit?
Mike: Hogwarts! I’m a Harry Potter fan who read all the books as a kid.
Julia: Have you been to Harry Potter World? The butterbeer is very good!
Mike: I have not! But it sounds cool.
Julia: So, aside from The Milestone Foundation, what is your favorite charity?
Mike: The Niagara Falls Boys and Girls Club! I spent a lot of time there as a kid growing up, and I know the impact they make on a lot of children’s lives.
Julia: Who is your role model?
Mike: Cal Ripken Jr. from the Baltimore Orioles – he was a true professional who showed up each and every day and set a record for playing in over 2,600 consecutive games.
Julia: What is your favorite quote?
Mike: It’s actually from The Office … it’s, “As long as you believe in yourself, you will never truly be defeated.” – Dwight Schrute.
Julia: Is The Office your favorite show?
Mike: Yes! The Office is my favorite, it’s a great show you can put on at any time.
Julia: Who is your favorite character from the show?
Mike: I have to go with Michael Scott – he has too many memorable lines.
Julia: So, if The Office is your favorite show, what is your favorite movie?
Mike: I like action movies. This is a tough question. My first thought is Top Gun or James Bond … I saw the new Top Gun and was impressed! It was much better than I thought it would be, especially for a remake.
Julia: Do you have any irrational fears?
Mike: Rollercoasters! There are so many things I don’t like about them. I don’t trust the mechanics, and they give me motion sickness.
Julia: What is your favorite childhood memory?
Mike: Playing sports outside in my neighborhood. I grew up in Niagara Falls and was outside a lot as a kid. I still keep in touch with my old neighbors!
Julia: If your life was a movie, what songs would be on the soundtrack of your life?
Mike: One song would definitely be “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey – it’s a great message and song, and it can relate to a lot of scenarios. Another song would be “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty, another motivational song that amps me up.
Julia: If you could have one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Mike: This might be the boring answer, but I am going to have to go with pizza or tacos.
Julia: So then what type of pizza do you prefer?
Mike: I like thin-sliced pizza, so I prefer New York City style.
Julia: OK, as long as it’s still New York. Putting our pizza preferences aside, what would you consider to be your biggest achievement?
Mike: I would consider this to be my biggest achievement – being the Executive Director at The Milestone Foundation! I’m Catholic, so giving back and helping others has always been a big part of my upbringing, and it followed me into my career path.
Julia: Well, we’re so thrilled to have you on our team. Now as Executive Director, what do you most look forward to?
Mike: Making an impact and growing what was already built from this incredible organization. I’m looking forward to continuing to expand our mission and make a difference in people’s lives.
Julia: The work we do is very rewarding in that aspect. Now that we’re at the end of this interview, I have to ask – what did you have for breakfast this morning?
Mike: I usually have eggs, and today was scrambled. I have to add some type of hot sauce or TRUFF sauce to spice it up.
Julia: A chef and Executive Director, very impressive! Well, it looks like this is all the time we have for today. But same time and place tomorrow? Maybe discussing fundraising strategies, instead?
Mike: Sounds like a plan!