One of the aspects of the Communication and Leadership program that I love most is the integration of real life application of content with organizations in Buffalo.  The real life learning extends beyond classroom assignments and semester projects.  While catching up with a former colleague, small talk led to yet another opportunity to share my enthusiasm of the ComLead program. “Yes, I’m loving it. My focus is Managing Not-for -Profits.” Her eyes widened, “That’s wonderful! My husband and I are in the midst of starting our own non-profit!” Of course they were. Yet another reason why I love the small little world of Buffalo. There’s always a reason for why and when things happen.

Later that week I set up a coffee meeting to hear more about the non-profit.  My hope was that even if I didn’t have the answers, I could help connect him to the people that did. In an hour’s like-a-warm-cup-of-coffee-gary-hoovertime, Tom Jasinski shared not only his riveting life journey but also narrated the curriculum of my studies into the story of starting his non profit.  Tom is a double organ transplant recipient.  Do you know where New York State ranks in the nation for the number of registered organ donors per capita? I didn’t either. But we are last. Yep, last.

Driven by his personal experience and this staggering statistic, Tom Jasinski is launching ONE8FIFTY with bold passion and conviction to change not only this ranking, but to create awareness, increase registration and ultimately save lives.  The ONE8FIFTY name is derived from the fact that “ONE single donor can provide up to 8 people with organ donations and greatly impact up to FIFTY others through tissue donation.”  For more information visit the official website:

logo for one8fifty

Until this conversation my knowledge of organ donations and transplant journey was minimal and my skills in starting a non-profit are not quite expert level.  In this short meeting I was affirmed that I knew more than I thought in both arenas.  I have certainly been inspired to share the ONE8FIFTY mission.  I have definitely found the right fit in the Communication and Leadership program at Canisius.


I aAprilOrganDonationm so thankful for the chance meeting with my former colleague. It allowed for a valuable learning experience and making connections for Tom and the launch of ONE8FIFTY.  After all, they say it’s all about who you know, and in the case of organ donation and saving lives, sometimes it’s all about the people you don’t.