JoAnn Headshot 2017 webQ&A with JoAnn Bergeron Nenow, Executive Director of Meals On Wheels of Northampton County.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love interacting with my co-workers, volunteers and clients. I take great satisfaction in knowing that we are caring for our elders and helping them to remain living in their homes for as long as is possible. I love how our volunteers come from all different walks of life yet share the same level of giving.

And our clients are fascinating to talk to. I remember talking to this one client who was a World War II pilot. He was 19 years old and flying missions all over Europe. It’s crazy to think of a 19-year-old doing that and the things he must have been exposed to at an early age and how it impacted his life. Older people have so much more knowledge than I have because of their experiences; they’ve ‘been there, done that.

What makes you most proud?
I am most proud of the fact that Meals On Wheels of Northampton County hasn’t had a waiting list of clients who needed meals since I started here 11 years ago. If someone is in need of a meal, we will get that person a meal.

I am also proud of growing the operation from a budget of $1.5 million to $3.6 million today. It shows that we are meeting a growing need in the community and are able to keep up with it.

We’ve grown so fast and so quickly over the past 3 years, it’s crazy. I see our current rate of growth continuing, based on population projections and the fact that most people want to stay in their homes as long as possible. We have grown so much that we’ve talked about expanding the facility.
On a personal note, I’m proud of my daughter Adrienne. She is beautiful and intelligent, and she has a heart of gold.

How do you define success?
I define it as achieving the goals that I have set for myself and achieving the goals that we have set for our organization. I make a plan with both short- and long-term goals and stick to it. It was ingrained in me from my father.

My dad always set goals and was a planner. He was an Air Force pilot who served in the Korean War. He went to night school after he served in Guam and got his degree in electrical engineering while supporting a family of seven (two of my siblings came later). He’d say, “If you don’t have a plan, you’re flying blind.” I get my planning skills from him. Plus, growing up in a family of six brothers and sisters was very competitive, so it forced me to think about goals and about getting what I wanted. But I also learned how to share and to be giving as well.

What do you do for fun?
I like reading romance novels and books about European and American history. I just finished reading ‘The Rival Queens’ by Nancy Goldstone. I also enjoy gardening – I’d like to turn my garden into a home for hummingbirds and butterflies – and playing tennis.

I love attending great Lehigh Valley events such as Celtic Classic and Musikfest and visiting the local wineries. I would like to travel cross country to Napa Valley and see as much of the U. S. as I can - incorporating my love of traveling and wine tasting.”

What is something that many people don’t know about you?
I am a huge Star Trek fan! The original ‘Star Trek’ is my favorite, followed by ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation.’ I watched ‘Star Trek’ when it started in the 60’s, and it was my favorite show ever. Space has always intrigued me.

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