Board Member Spotlight: Erin Kupferman Ponders the Powerful Impact of Organ Donation
Written by Erin Kupferman, Board Member, as told to Zoe Engels, Contributing Writer and Editor
Meet SODA National Board Member, Erin Kupferman! She joined SODA’s Board of Directors in May of 2022, bringing her passions for organ, eye, and tissue donation and helping nonprofits reach their full potential with her. We had the chance to ask Erin about the inspiration behind her organ donation advocacy, her advice to students, and her day-to-day life. Learn more about Erin—and her Boston Terrier, Woody—in the Q&A below!
What inspired you to get involved with SODA?
My dear friend, Laura, suddenly passed away from a brain tumor when we were freshmen in high school. Even though Laura was tragically gone, she was able to save a life by donating her liver. I am humbled to now serve on SODA's Board of Directors—an organization Laura's sister, Sara, founded. My involvement with SODA is a small way I can honor Laura's memory and advocate for organ donation in an intentional way.
What does organ donation mean to you?
To me, organ donation directly translates to saving lives. It is so unbelievably powerful that by making a decision that no one wishes to come to fruition, you can change someone else's life. Organ donation means being a good neighbor, an empathetic leader, and in no uncertain terms, a hero.
What do you enjoy most about being part of SODA National’s Board of Directors?
I am grateful to serve on this board with industry experts and families that have been directly impacted by organ donation. I am constantly learning from these leaders, and to work alongside them is a joy. I also love to hear about the work happening all across the country! The students are remarkable changemakers.
If you could give students any piece of advice, what would it be?
Every inch you crawl counts. Every person you register as a donor makes a world of a difference. Keep pushing for your common goal, and your impact can last generations.
Are you looking for a way to pursue your passion for organ, eye, and tissue donation and make a difference in your community? Visit sodanational.org/students to take the next steps toward hosting a SODA event or starting a chapter.
Tell us about yourself!
I am a Vice President at CCS Fundraising, a global fundraising consulting and management firm. Currently, I live in Chicago, Illinois, with my husband, Jake, and our Boston Terrier, Woody! I received my undergraduate degree in Nonprofit Management and Entrepreneurship from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and my MBA from the University of Louisville.
When you’re not working, how do you enjoy spending your free time?
I’ve played tennis my whole life and continue to play regularly. I’m also a big walker. No matter the weather, you'll find me racking up the miles—even if it's slowly! On the opposite end of the spectrum, I love exploring Chicago through food. Trying new restaurants is a great way to get to know a city!
When you were a kid, what was your dream job?
I know that this is oddly specific, but when I was a kid I wanted to be an allergist. I had terrible seasonal allergies as a child, and my allergist was so great and helpful that I thought I wanted to be like him someday!
What are you currently reading?
I'm currently reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.
Do you have a motto or personal mantra?
During college, I was sitting in a seminar in which a local business leader was sharing advice. He said: “Never forget that confidence sells and competency keeps them.” I always try to put my best foot forward and exude confidence, but you have to back that confidence up with hard work, knowledge, and drive.
Finally, do you have a fun fact about yourself that you’d like to share?
I am a fifth generation Boston Terrier owner! There are currently six in the family between me, my aunts, uncles, cousins, and parents.