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Peter Mastroianni: “I want to normalize kindness and empathy”

I want to normalize kindness and empathy. That’s what we all need more of today. Criticism is easy. You can always find a flaw. My challenge to the world is to find a way to encourage others through sincere compliments and appreciation. Find the beauty in every face. Bring out the light in someone’s eyes. […]

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I want to normalize kindness and empathy. That’s what we all need more of today. Criticism is easy. You can always find a flaw. My challenge to the world is to find a way to encourage others through sincere compliments and appreciation. Find the beauty in every face. Bring out the light in someone’s eyes. Embrace our beautiful diversity. It’s easy! Just smile and be open to others. Then watch the magic happen!


As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Peter Mastroianni.

Peter Mastroianni is a partner in Reichman Jorgensen’s New York office. He is a seasoned attorney with nearly 25 years’ experience focusing on ESI, E-Discovery, electronic evidence, information governance and knowledge management-related matters.

Peter’s began his law career in 1994 with a boutique law firm in New York focused on representing banks and other lending institutions in real estate transactions. Soon after, he and a partner launched their own firm and grew the practice to several offices and a score of attorneys. Peter eventually ventured into the business side of real estate as a consultant for a startup financing venture. After just two years, 1st Capital Home Mortgage grew from three to more than 330 employees. Peter then returned to his law practice where he again focused on E-Discovery and information governance.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Certainly, I remember it like it was yesterday because it wasn’t very long ago. I was searching for escheatment for myself, my family, and some friends, as I had done on occasion many times previously. This time was unique in that I happened to be thinking about the Fortune 100 companies we work with at Reichman Jorgensen, LLP, the law firm I co-founded in 2018. This conflation of thoughts led to a realization: perhaps these organizations had escheatment funds due!

I searched for assets for some of these Fortune 100 organizations and I found that each had claims. I then searched for claims due to other companies and realized that these entities had claims as well. Astonishingly, it wasn’t just a few claims, most companies had a terrific amount of escheatment claims.

Then it struck me, ‘What about charities?’ I quickly searched for some of the most well-known charities like American Cancer, the Red Cross, UNICEF and Boys & Girls Club. Each one I researched had a wealth of claims. That’s when I knew something had to be done to get these funds where they belong. That’s why I started Escheatment.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

Sure, there are plenty of compelling escheatment tales! One fascinating story has to do with a close friend who has worked for an Ivy League institution for many years. In fact, he is close to retirement. Well, it turns out that, during his employment, one of his payroll checks was sent to the New York State Treasury!

When searching his name we realized that his current employer (again an Ivy League University) had sent one of his overtime checks to the state through escheatment. We reclaimed the check and he deposited the money. We reasoned that this happened because he had moved a few years before. Apparently, instead of mailing the check to his new address, the university chose to escheat it. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

One mistake was not launching Escheatment sooner. It took me ten years to realize how much was owed to charity! It is truly monumental. We can help a lot of people in need. While it is true that, if we started Escheatment years ago, we wouldn’t have the same efficiency we have today, the delay was not necessary. Available technology has improved substantially and continues to. We are using the latest AI and algorithms, so our search results are always improving, resulting in more escheatment claims recovered!

Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?

I’m excited to say that a number of large charities and not for profit organizations have been interested in our solution. We hope to have a substantial global impact once our message gets out. We are holding webinars to educate nonprofits and “reverse fundraisers” to explain to donors how to reclaim escheatment. Charities are giving back, rather than asking for money from donors. We hope this will encourage donors to give back to charity from the escheatment funds received. It’s a win win

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

Nothing is too big or too small for Escheatment. We research local and national charities to find out what can be reclaimed. Then we reach out to them to let them know we can help. Currently, I am helping a small women’s shelter in California and we are speaking with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and others. It’s all about getting the word out. Once folks hear that they are owed funds and what we can do they want us to go to work!

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

Yes, Actions speak louder than words, and we need each to take action.

The first action is to educate folks about Escheatment. Telling someone they may have money they are unaware of is an easy message to give. We need to take action and get the word out.

The second is to search. There are many local agencies that are owed funds. We have links to all 50 state treasuries on Escheatment.com. Searching is free! Find escheatment for someone you care about.

The third is to trigger Escheatment to help. Large entities with name changes, mergers and acquisitions have complicated escheatment needs. We can use our tools to locate claims, potentially increasing the reclamation assets substantially.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

Leadership is a state of mind and action defined by a philosophy of inclusion, empowerment, empathy and vision. I believe the difference between success and failure is passion. A leader is passionate and inspires others to act by taking steps that champion universal values. Importantly, a leader must have focus, a noble purpose, a cause that others can believe in. A leader must be willing to do the things that have to be done, whatever they are. I’m not afraid to “clean the windows” if that’s what it takes. I’ve done that both actually and metaphorically in my career. I was always surprised at individuals who feel they are above others because of a degree or some other status. I am one of the only ones in my family with an advanced degree, and I never think of myself as better, just different. Each of us has a lot to offer. Leaders recognize the strengths of others.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Everything works. Nothing doesn’t.

Luck favors the prepared mind.

Get ready to pivot.

Never take anything too seriously.

The universe opens doors to those who do what they love.

An example for each of these is Escheatment — the result of preparation and pivots, being joyful, using ingenuity and leading from the heart.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I want to normalize kindness and empathy. That’s what we all need more of today. Criticism is easy. You can always find a flaw. My challenge to the world is to find a way to encourage others through sincere compliments and appreciation. Find the beauty in every face. Bring out the light in someone’s eyes. Embrace our beautiful diversity. It’s easy! Just smile and be open to others. Then watch the magic happen!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“When given a choice, take the high road; and remember, there is always a choice.”

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Denzel Washington is someone I would enjoy getting to know. He has achieved terrific heights yet he is humble and always gives back. He uses his celebrity platform to help others and inspire. He resonates with me as a truthful and honest person. I believe he would understand what Escheatment can do to help the world. Perhaps I can convince him to join us and champion the cause!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

www.escheatment.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/EscheatmentDotCom

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/escheatment

YouTube: www.youtube.com/channel/UC5l5zozwuEOh94dcUQz3Irw

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

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