Elisabeth Mistretta

Elisabeth MistrettaIf you understand the phrase, “It takes a village,” you understand the work of Elisabeth Mistretta,

As the Senior Brand Communications Specialist at Midwest Palliative and Hospice CareCenter, she compiles a newsletter to inform 22,000 different donors and family members of the center’s events and initiatives.

When there are special events like fundraisers or guest speakers for patients, Mistretta will photograph and write about it, and then try to spread the word through media outlets.

Her public relations work at Midwest CareCenter gives Mistretta a new title, but is surprisingly similar to past newspaper jobs.

“When you’re a reporter you might have a beat,” said Mistretta, a former journalist. “What I do now is I’m on the hospice beat.”

The environment is new to Mistretta, but she said loves being able to write about her true passion of serving people.

Mistretta, 37, who received her Communication Studies bachelor’s degree in 2000 from Loyola University Chicago, was particularly drawn to journalism and took as many of those classes as possible before graduating.

That November, she began working at the Daily Herald, a suburban Chicago newspaper, to cover community topics from local politics to local school plays.

She admits, though, that the immediate transition from young college student to neighborhood reporter was not easy.

“I started at the Daily Herald, and for me, at the time, it was a little bit soul crushing because you’re 22 and you’re cool and you want to work in the city and write about nightlife, and I was popped into the middle of DuPage County out near Naperville,” she said.

Mistretta grew to love her neighborhood topics in time, though, because local stories change every day. To this day, she remains a freelancer for the Daily Herald.

After almost 13 years, Mistretta made the transition from journalist to editor for a new company, Pioneer Press, a Chicago Sun-Times owned newspaper specifically tailored to individual towns.

Mistretta spent 18 months serving as editor of six local newspapers on Chicago’s suburban North Shore, which she said was an exciting challenge that expanded her skills beyond anything she could have imagined.
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But she also quickly came to feel that the thin staff and high volume of publications in the entire news group — which included 32 papers total — never allowed her team or any other to fully spread their wings, since they were always under the gun with too few resources. By June 2014, she moved on to Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter.

 

Mistretta’s introduction to this company began years back, though.

At 40, her mother, Louise, gave birth to Megan Mistretta when Elisabeth Mistretta was 15. Six weeks later, the single mother had a massive heart attack.

Doctors were not sure of what happened to Louise Mistretta for a while because she did not have artery blockage. They said her arteries were disintegrating, and research introduced them to a number of postpartum women aged 40 or older who also experienced unexplained heart attacks.

Attending Loyola helped Elisabeth Mistretta with this journey because it allowed her to stay close to home during her mother’s illness, and she received a $20,000 scholarship for high academic performance with her financial aid package.

Because of this, the comfortable campus, time at the Felice Rome Center and influential professors, Mistretta raves about her time at Loyola.

Louise Mistretta was placed on disability after her heart attack for about 10 years until her death in 2005.

At 26 years old, Elisabeth Mistretta became a mother to her 11-year-old sister.

When sister Megan Mistretta seemed to be on a bad path with bad grades and friends eight years ago, Elisabeth Mistretta sent her to Midwest CareCenter, which really changed their lives, she said.

Loyola’s impact helped Elisabeth Mistretta raise her younger sister, now a senior at Dominican University.

“Loyola and a Jesuit education is always about being so well-rounded and being in a city so you can touch the most lives, right? I think that really carried into my journalism career,” she said. “I love journalism because you can touch so many lives and I loved being a parent while doing it and having a kid, [my sister], who was old enough to watch this unfold.”

By Lydia DeCoud