Zeal is Contagious
By: John Hunt
It is hard to overstate the benefits to be reaped when a powerful intellect animates a kindly spirit, aiming for the redemption of society, if possible. This is the union that De La Salle “Oaklands” seeks, promotes, and cherishes, richly proclaimed in the unique maxim “enter to learn, leave to serve,” not an idle boast but rather a call to action. We have been blessed indeed in that so many of our graduates have taken to heart the injunction to ameliorate the hardships of the unfortunates, hardships that Jefferson called “a troubled world.” Much praise then is due to the brave souls who maintain a buoyant effort in our time confronting an elusive, treacherous enemy pandemic while hoping to keep themselves alive. Such a graduate is the subject of this profile, Anthony Mastromarini (DEL 16). In his Del years, he achieved every distinction available at the College. He topped the lists year after year for class, grade, and school awards, as well as math contests, Advancement Placement honours, and outstanding extracurricular activities, assisting others as mentor or manager – it is a long, impressive list.
After Del, he enrolled in the medical sciences program at Western University. Since “fortune favours the prepared mind,” to ease his journey and to indicate his ability, he was offered over $90,000 in scholarships and awards, just by being who he is, in three years. In medicine, a promising career beckoned, especially in research where so many problems awaited solutions. However, a new spec appeared on the horizon. In first-year medical sciences, he took an elective, a business course, in case-based studies that pulled him in the direction of business/management decision making. His curiosity aroused; in his second-year, he selected another similar case-based business elective to learn to gauge the “impact of a transaction on the global economy.” After his second year, a summer internship exposed him to the workings of large multinational biotech and pharmaceutical firms, convincing him to pursue a career in business with a focus on global developments. At the beginning of third-year, now at the Ivey Business School, a new adventure arose that led to a position at TD Securities, in finance, as an investment banker on Bay Street. He was acquiring an improved grasp of a variety of large industries – engineering and construction, heavy equipment, agriculture, healthcare, retail, and foodservice.
His “crowning” experience to date was the privatization of the legendary Hudson’s Bay Company before more recently moving on to healthcare technology and North American telehealth companies. Well, now, has he transitioned to the business world and abandoned the “serving” and saving labours of medical research? Not quite. His business acumen has led him to start a regular podcast to draw attention and to assist new charitable initiatives dedicated to making a positive impact on a needy world to make it a better place, to attend to the redemption of society. There were, he discovered, many new charities trying to collect funds but facing the difficulties of raising money in the trying times we now confront. Anthony felt the podcast would facilitate the work of the willing who were already committed to easing the burdens of the poor, the weak, and the troubled, but without any business acumen. He would support the efforts of the young “disciples” who needed an experienced Cortez to reveal and consolidate a Pacific of opportunity across five continents as it turned out: North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania. In the podcast, visionaries reach out from across Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, India, and Australia. The viewers come together to share stories, successes, difficulties, strategies, and suggestions – all the more determined, as activists, to reform society with a Christian message, an echo of the Sermon on the Mount, stressing decency, kindness and generosity. For we see around us the ancient horrors in a modern guise: the separation of the classes, the one percent and the ninety-nine percent, precarious employment or “gigs,” homelessness, mental illness – a train of inhumanity, a monster needing to be addressed. Anthony’s podcast makes the problem obvious: the remedy must involve at least some education, if as Doctor Samuel Johnson claimed, “if you catch them young enough,” to work some influence on and often intractable human nature. Del starts at Grade 5, which is “young enough” to convey notions of decent behaviour, for if people behave decently, the world should become more decent. The podcast has aroused enthusiasm as Anthony, instead of mobilizing himself alone, has mobilized many;to realize the ideals of the Gospels. So vast the possibility has to be contagious. Read his own words.
“Zeal is contagious, so listening to a podcast about starting a charity or making a difference may sway someone else to embark on a similar path. Incremental kindness, fraternity, compassion are all that are needed to improve the status quo, and eventually, small scale effort can collectively affect large scale impact … to promote social benefit.”
Del’s aims continue to be achieved in this happy combination of intelligence and altruism, the goal being to make the world a kinder home.
Asked to explain the genesis of his novel innovation, he credits his years at Del for many valuable lessons, among them three that have been most “integral” in his life and career, mainly discipline, resourcefulness, and curiosity. He explains:
Discipline, so useful in challenging classroom situations, develops a “solemnity of manner” that is applicable to all his tasks, early and recent. It maintains an intensity of purpose and direction. Resourcefulness was necessary to “navigate ambiguity, to make informed decisions” as he ventured into new challenges, often requiring self-teaching, even to the present day. Curiosity, encouraged by teachers and mentors at Del, led him to explore beyond the textbooks and was instrumental in continuing the desire to learn. It fuels his ambition to search and know, even now helping to feed oxygen into a redemptive cause.
Lastly, he cherishes fond and recreational memories of Del, some very close to his heart and heritage. Brother Domenic’s Grade 10 Italian class refreshed the richness of his Italian descent. He knew both languages in his childhood but over time lost the ability to speak Italian, its value reignited in Brother’s class. He developed a passion for the culture in general, enjoying the occasional playing of Italy’s National Anthem in the morning. An additional “nice perk” – cool games at the Heritage House, a welcome cozy retreat.
Anthony also values sweet memories of Mr. Bellisario’s Grade 12 English course in Rome. O Eternal City, repository of enough art, monuments, and treasures, to satisfy the curiosity of many lifetimes. The class took daily tours of an unequalled past: the glorious Papel enclave, magnet to millions, the Seven Hills of Rome, memorialized by Gibbon in his monumental history, of vast structures that Attila the Hun kindly left behind in his haste to depart for other spoils, the City of Marble the Emperor Augustus boasted he had transformed from a city of brick, the legendary heroes and villains of a robust history, the beach trips to Ostia, and the magical evenings in Rome celebrated by author after author after author. So ends for us though, all to brief, the lasting impressions, the permanent delights of a favoured country. We may, in conclusion, aptly recall the powerful, though nostalgic remark of the astute and omniscient Joseph Conrad – “Ah, youth!”
Paragon is the podcast created by Anthony, highlighting charitable organizations and change-makers. It can be found on 22 podcast players, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. The show currently has 12 episodes, and a new episode is released bi-weekly. With listeners in five continents, Anthony has connected with change-makers in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania. For more information, visit the Instagram page @paragon.podcast.
- Spring 2021