Jenna Arnold is always prepared for a fight–metaphorically and figuratively. As the co-founder of organ-donation startup Organize, she’s constantly fighting to disrupt the more than 50-year-old system of organ donation in America with her goal being to create the first central organ-donation registry.
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According to Arnold, the success of Organize would help thousands of transplant-needing Americans every year–a remarkable feat. But not everyone wants to Organize to succeed.
“There have been many moments along the way that have been discouraging and demoralizing—it would have been easy to give up and accept the status quo,” said the 33-year-old. “Plenty of people wish we would just go away, but their resistance is just proof that we’re doing something right. If a few people don’t hate it, you’re not pushing hard enough.”
She and her co-founder Greg Segal are intently focused on making change. An estimated 90 percent of Americans support organ donation, yet only 40 percent are registered organ donors. Arnold and Segal argue that the number of organ donors is lower than it could be because people must sign up at the DMV. Organize has created a grandiose marketing scheme in order to bring in more donors from diverse backgrounds across America, one of their targets being Millennials.
Of course, Arnold is familiar with the Gen Y stereotype that they’re only interested in causes if it means taking no more action than clicking “Like” on Facebook or contributing to an infrequent crowdfunding campaign. However, she’s set on getting the under-35 demographic to do considerably more.
In an interview with Levo, Arnold emphasized the importance of giving attention and why you should strive to do the same!
- There Is a Long List of Global Problems That Need to Be Addressed, and We Can’t Ignore Them Any Longer
“Why do I give a sh*t? Because I don’t have any other choice—and frankly, neither do you. There is no magic wand (though if a genie appeared, I’d ask for one that sparkles) to solve the world’s problems. Since I witnessed my first human rights violation while on a class trip to Mexico City 20 years ago, a gentleman in a wheelchair was unable to get on the sidewalk for lack of ramps and consequently had to navigate dangerous traffic, I’ve been laser focused (some would say obsessed) with checking silly/stupid/archaic problems off the to-do list.”
- Seeing Life Through New Eyes Is Just One of the Many Benefits of Giving Back
“My obsession with ticking tasks off the world’s list of things to fix has taken me to almost every continent on the planet—though I’m too scared of being cold to go to Antarctica. I have sought the guidance of much smarter individuals to guide me—turns out they’re all chillin’ at miniature desks in elementary classrooms around the world. Who knew? I continue to challenge my belief that humanity means well. I learned to jump from the Maasai, how to deliver speeches from Secretary Generals at the UN, how to spell from my first-grade students, and how to build successful companies from failing at building companies.”
- We May Be Different in Many Ways, but All Humans Share Certain Desires and Values
“I’m a serial problem solver. I have stared trafficking, sanitation, and Fidel Castro in the face. I am committed to making things better—not perfect—just better. I know we can build wider roads to increase commerce in Nigeria. I know we can eliminate the waiting list for heart transplants in the US. I know that girls run the world (source: Beyonce). I’ll throw the towel in when people realize that we’re all the same—that’s all I want. Everyone wants the same thing. They all want safety, education, and healthcare for their families and everybody yearns to feel relevant in this great big world of ours.”
- The Best Gift You Can Give to Others Is to Make Their Lives Better
“I’m decades away from inner peace, and I wrestle with my shortcomings as much as anyone else, but know that you can improve the life of another and the ripple effect is infinite. That it is your duty—to yourself first and everyone else on the planet—to find your purpose and own it. That woman can build businesses that profit the world and their bank accounts, that should be—and will be—the new status quo. That you should recycle, hold doors for strangers, and not beat yourself up as much as you do.”
- For Millennials, Raising the Bar Is Second Nature
“Push harder faster. What I’ve found, both as an educator and social entrepreneur, is the higher you raise the bar for yourselves and others the more impressive and substantive the results. I can be bullish in pushing to get things done, and I can’t say that I’m particularly graceful in my efforts, but looking back, I wish I pushed even harder more frequently.”