Since Jenna Arnold witnessed her first human rights violation 20 years ago on a class trip to Mexico City (a gentleman in a wheelchair navigating dangerous traffic for lack of sidewalk access ramps), she has been laser focused (some say obsessed) with checking silly/stupid/archaic problems off a collective “to-do” list. Her obsession with ticking tasks off the world’s list of things to fix has taken her to almost every continent on the planet (not all; she’s too scared of freezing to go to Antarctica). She learned to jump from the Maasai; to deliver speeches from a UN Secretary General; to spell from her first grade students; and to (finally!) build a successful company by failing first.
Jenna is a serial problem solver: trafficking, sanitation (as in not enough toilets in slums around the world) and challenging Fidel Castro face to face. She is committed to making things better, not perfect. “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),” she says. “I’ll throw in the towel when people realize that we’re all the same—that’s all I want. Everyone wants the same thing: We all want safety, education and healthcare for our families. Everyone loves to poke fun at each other and to dance (even if they deny it). And everybody yearns to feel relevant in this great, big world of ours.”
Greg Segal’s dad needed a heart transplant. He was out for a jog when he collapsed—no one saw it coming. It was five years and three open-heart surgeries before he finally got it. The donor was an IV drug user, and his doctors couldn’t even say for sure whether or not the heart was HIV positive (fortunately, it wasn’t).
Even though Greg’s father was lucky enough to receive his transplant (and getting a heart transplant in America takes a whole lot of luck), this wasn’t a problem Greg could just walk away from. It felt too solvable. Even though 95 percent of Americans support organ donation, the system captures about 30 percent of the actual potential for transplants; with just a few key improvements, the waiting list for heart transplants could be eliminated completely.
Greg’s passion is easy to communicate—anyone who has lost, or almost lost, a loved one understands it intuitively. But knowing that his dad is only alive because someone else lost their life brings a whole other level of responsibility and of urgency. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t ask myself if I’m doing justice to our donor family,” Greg says.