19 Mar 2019
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Mission Critical

Educating the public about the value of organ donation

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Janice Whaley (GMP 15, 2013) is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of LifeShare of Oklahoma, an affiliate of a national, nonprofit organ procurement organization. In this video, she talks about the challenges facing her industry and why she turned to HBS for leadership development.

“I was fortunate to find my passion and actually wrap my career around it. LifeShare is an organ procurement organization federally designated to recover organs and tissues for transplantation. We cover the entire state of Oklahoma; there are approximately 3.9 million people in that service area.

“I truly believe in our mission, and that's to help so many people who are waiting on a transplant. Twenty-six years ago, there were 116,000 people waiting on the list, but not very many people who were actually donating. So, those wait times were really long. Part of that is because of myths and misconceptions that are out there about donation. So our industry has worked really hard to dispel the myths and misconceptions so that more people will be open and willing to donate.

“More and more people are being made aware about organ donation through media. Facebook did a campaign last year about donation and encouraged people to sign up. We have national registries where you can sign up.

“I came to the GMP program in 2013. I was, at that point, wanting to move into executive leadership, and I knew that I needed to have a different perspective. I learned so much about leadership. I learned all the things that I probably should not have been doing and learned the opportunities that I had to redefine my leadership.

“In our industry, just like any other industry, you really have to inspire and engage your teammates in order to be successful. We have the greatest mission in the world, to save lives, but if you don't have a team that's committed to that too, you won't be successful. I have been fortunate to lead teams that are engaged, that are active, and that are everyday looking for that next opportunity to help save someone's life.”

Since this interview was conducted, Janice Whaley has taken a new role as CEO of Donor Network West, the organ procurement organization that serves Northern California and parts of Nevada.

(Published March 2019)

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Class of GMP 15

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