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Up Close with Tina Stendardo, VP of Program Delivery tina photo

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by Kathryn Moery

Responding to an ad in the local Rogers Park neighborhood paper, Tina Stendardo began working at Misericordia thirty years ago this past November.  Tina’s degree is in Special Education and she has worked in many different capacities during her tenure with Misericordia. Most recently, she was named the Vice President of Program Delivery. In her new role, her oversight has expanded to not only include Day Services, but also Misericordia School, the Recreation Department, Moore Aquatic and Fitness Center, in addition to the Outreach and Adult Enrichment programs. Tina considers herself fortunate to work alongside talented and inspiring leaders such as Mary Pat O’Brien to whom she reports, Geana Connelly, Kevin Connelly, Chris Hegg-Krackenberger and Madelyne Trejo. 

In addition to understanding each program, one of Tina’s  primary responsibilities is to make sure that she has the right people in the right places, and to create programs that challenge and invigorate each resident. She strives to check in with her teams weekly and ensure they have what they need. She works to build new leaders who love what they are doing and are invested in the Misericordia mission. She wants to retain talent who will build and create a vision for programming to meet the needs of each resident today, and look toward programming that will meet the needs of an upcoming population of residents in the future. 

Holistically, Tina wants to make sure that each resident has a balanced program that stretches and energizes them, and that the array of programs available will meet different levels of need. For instance, she may have to check to make sure that there are enough hours for swimming, or that the art area is appropriately staffed and outfitted. She also checks to make sure residents can experience how it feels to have a good day’s work in DT. or to relax in the pool, or engage in entertaining evening programming. Supplementing programs that are already in place is key. In doing so, Tina  has assigned an artist to each residential area to lead the residents in producing their creative works for the Artist in All event.  

Not only has Tina transitioned into a new role, but she has moved from her office in Conway to the main building where she is closer to the entire administrative team. This closeness allows the team to foster the growth, vision, and mission of Misericordia. However, much of her time is spent at the various program locations meeting with her teams and checking in on the program operations. 

Tina has had many mentors at Misericordia.  She is grateful for all that Sister Rosemary and Lois Gates have taught her.  She is looking forward to the future under Father Jack’s leadership.  She is inspired by Father Jack and Sister Rosemary’s humility, given all of their responsibilities and accomplishments. On her own behalf, she says she is “nervous, but excited”.  This is borne of her reckoning that she does not want to let anyone down. However, she is uplifted to know that she is “taking what is great and making it greater.” Overall, she is humbled to be working with a talented team who are gracious and inspiring people that always put the residents and staff front and center in all decision making.

She makes it a point to seek out interactions with the residents as often as she can. She confided that some residents have found her new office and seek her out and help her do her job by suggesting programs they would like to have. She finds them to be so genuine and pure in spirit that they can turn a bad day around with their smiles and stories. She also misses her daily interaction with the amazing, resilient Developmental Training team.  

In her new role, Tina would like to work on increasing communication through social media and other channels so that families and outsiders know what is going on. To take programming to the next level, she wants to showcase weekly the exceptional and creative programs that operate most waking minutes of every day at Misericordia. As she grows into her new role, Tina looks forward to developing and retaining talent to build on what Misericordia so masterfully now offers, as she leads program delivery into the future.

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