Making the Most of Retirement

December 08, 2014

Most people retire to slow down a bit. Not Saint John’s Health Center Foundation trustee Mark Gibello, who allegedly retired about a year and a half ago. He was executive vice president of Trust Company of the West for decades and is currently a senior advisor with Oakmont Corporation, a private investment company.

Today, he is enthusiastically and actively putting together a business plan to start a new investment management company. “I think I flunked retirement,” he says. “That’s what my family says.” While his retirement from business is questionable, he’s never even considered retiring from the Saint John’s Health Center Foundation.

“I became interested in Saint John’s in the late ’90s,” Gibello says, adding that two of his four children were born there, so his association really began years before. Good friends and Foundation trustees A. Redmond “Rusty” Doms and Thomas P. Mullaney encouraged Gibello to join the group, and he did so in 2002.

“The timing was good because I was at a point in my career when I wanted to get involved in a few philanthropic activities,” he says. But, he adds, “It takes a year or two to get up to speed on how things work and what role one might play.”

His first role played into one of his passions: golf. He co-chaired the Saint John’s Golf Tournament with Robert O. Klein, president and CEO of the Foundation, for a number of years. “Golf is a passion of mine, and we were able to put on a very successful tournament and grow it to the point that it became a significant fundraiser,” he says.

"Once you have the opportunity to become part of the Saint John’s ‘patient family,’ it gets inside of you, and you want to become a spokesperson and advocate for the hospital." – Mark Gibello

Gibello co-chaired the campaign council for the Campaign for Saint John’s, an effort that raised $125 million to rebuild the hospital. He also co-chaired the Challenge to Lead Campaign, another capital campaign that raised $100 million.

He currently serves on the Foundation board’s executive committee, the affiliation endowment fund advisory committee and the investment committee. But he thinks he accomplished the most as chair of the Foundation’s board affairs committee from 2007 to 2014.

“One of the critical items for any organization—private, public or philanthropic—is the need for new people. The committee made tremendous strides during that period to bring in new members. It was a team effort,” he explains. “We needed input from a lot of people to identify and recruit prospective new members, individuals who have the interest and the ability to contribute.”

Gibello has had a couple of experiences as a patient at the Health Center. While no one wants to undergo treatment for a medical problem, many patients find themselves feeling a close connection to the Health Center long after regaining their health, he notes. “Once you have the opportunity to become part of the Saint John’s ‘patient family,’ it gets inside of you, and you want to become a spokesperson and advocate for the hospital.”

He has visited friends hospitalized at other facilities and sees a difference. “At Saint John’s there’s just a very comfortable feeling. People here make you feel welcome, and you know you’re going to be well taken care of. It’s a different feeling than the one you get at other hospitals.”

When he reflects on Saint John’s history, he sees a theme. “It’s compassionate care—state-of-the-art care. The hospital’s affiliation with the Sisters has been very, very special. The Health Center has wonderful doctors and nurses—everyone here is special. It’s a thread that binds us all together.”