A Q&A with Verizon Powerful Answers Award Winner Greg Segal of ORGANIZE
Verizon is now accepting ideas for the 2015 Powerful Answers Award
Expanding its ongoing commitment to innovation and social responsibility, we are currently accepting submissions for the chance to win up to $1,000,000 in prize money. Enter here by June 18th, 2015: verizon.com/powerfulanswers/award/.
ORGANIZE found an innovative way to bring the organ donation registration system to the 21st century, earning the company a 2014 Verizon Powerful Answers Award in the healthcare category, along with one of the four $1M grants handed out to the top four of the 12 overall winners.
Through increased portals of entry and a coordinated approach to registration, ORGANIZE developed a new platform that can help spread awareness of, and create a mechanism for, a better and more modern U.S. organ donation program.
We caught up with ORGANIZE co-founder Greg Segal to better understand how ORGANIZE became interested in the program and how they plan to utilize the funds.
How did you find out about the contest?
A good friend forwarded me the first round application about 12 hours before it was due and thought we might just take a shot and apply. Luckily, I was live on my email that day.
Did you think you could win when you entered?
Maybe we're just the right amount of crazy, but yes, I thought we would win. We couldn't be more proud of what we're building and believe our team can do anything. Although, that's not to say we didn't get butterflies as it got closer; I spent about 20 minutes with my head in the toilet the morning of our in-person presentation.
What was your first thought when you found out you were a $1M winner?
At first, I just felt gratitude and excitement. And then my next thought was: what's the funniest way I can tell the rest of the team about it, and maybe mess with them a little bit.
What will you do with the money?
We are a product-driven organization, so the money will let us invest in new, state-of-the-art technology, and continue to push the state of the industry forward. The DMV registration infrastructure is so system-driven; our goal is to put the power in the hands of the registrants, giving them an unprecedented ability to express their end of life wishes truly personal, flexible ways, and to make sure their next of kin is equipped with the right information at the right time.
How will the money make a difference in your efforts?
Of course, the money is tremendously helpful, but the ability to work with a corporation like Verizon is what's truly game changing. Not that a million dollars isn't transformative - of course it is - but this relationship with the incredible team at Verizon is probably even more valuable.
What do Verizon’s efforts in this space mean to organizations like you?
Organ donation has always been important, but somehow has never been a mainstream cause. Very few organizations fund organ donation specifically, and even fewer promote organ donation at a national scale. This kind of recognition and support from a company like Verizon not only brings ORGANIZE into the forefront, but helps bring organ donation into the national conversation. It's really unbelievable what Verizon can do in this space.
What’s next for ORGANIZE?
We are launching a new partnership with the Sec. of Health and Human Services' Office called Innovator in Residence. We get to place one of our teammates in the Secretary's Office for two years, working full time on innovative new solutions for the organ donation system.
Andrew Testa is a public relations manager with Verizon Wireless. Follow him on Twitter at: @VZWDrew.