Joe Ferreira is the CEO and President of Nevada Donor Network, an organization dedicated to the recovery and allocation of organs, eyes and tissues for transplantation along with community education around the importance of donation and transplantation to humanity. Prior to starting his current position in 2012, Joe already had extensive experience in the field, having spent 14 years at Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency in Miami, Florida where he served as the Director of Clinical Operations for several years.
As a boy, Joe spent his summers in a remote southeast region of Brazil, where his parents were born. He recognized the immense odds that his parents had to beat in order to thrive. This was a region with limited access to societal resources, with little educational support. Yet his father trained to be a doctor and his mother became a teacher. Their drive planted the seed of ambition to overcome obstacles that informed all of his later success stories. But it was not a characteristic that took root immediately. Joe floundered as a young student, graduating high school by the skin of his teeth. It was here that he started setting lofty goals for himself. With his parents’ example in his periphery, he decided to get a college degree. He set his sights on the University of Miami and was accepted after one year at a community college. After he earned his B.S. in Microbiology and Immunology and while working at the OPO in Miami, he graduated from the University of Miami with his MBA with a specialization in Healthcare Administration and Policy.
After college, Joe started working for the University of Miami’s Organ Procurement Organization (OPO), one of only 57 such organizations in the country. He spent 14 years at Miami’s OPO, the last seven of which he served as the Director of Clinical Operations. In 2012, he got his chance to lead an OPO in Nevada. “It was the worst performing OPO in history,” he remembers. “And the only one at the time to receive an imminent shutdown threat by the federal agency authority for OPOs.” Undaunted by the odds, and knowing there were only a handful of these positions in the entire country, he accepted. Since he took the job, his top-down reform of the Nevada Donor Network created one of the premier OPOs in the world.
Ferreira has served as the President of the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) in 2020-2021, Member-at-Large on the AOPO Executive Committee and Chairman of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee of AOPO. He is a Certified Member of the National Association of Healthcare Quality (NAHQ), a Certified Procurement Transplant Coordinator (CPTC) and a former Faculty Member of the North American Transplant Coordinators Organization (NATCO). Joe is a member of the International Society for Organ Donation & Procurement (ISODP), he is a former Board Member of the American Society of Transplantation (AST) and a past Board Member of the Nevada Chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). He has also served as an At-Large Representative on four separate committees of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network/United Network for Organ Sharing (OPTN/UNOS) and most recently served as a Board member of the OPTN/UNOS in 2020-2022.
Nevada Donor Network is a federally designated 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organ procurement organization (OPO) committed to maximizing the gift of life and health through organ and tissue donation. Established in 1987, Nevada Donor Network is one of only 58 OPOs in the U.S. serving more than 3 million people in the state of Nevada and 113,000 potential transplant recipients across the country. We work collaboratively with hospital staff and community partners to promote research and provide a strong support network to courageous donor families who’ve turned loss into hope. At Nevada Donor Network, we encourage Nevadans to help individuals in need of life-saving transplants through education, research and action. Nevada Donor Network is a member of Donate Life Nevada, an affiliate of Donate Life America, whose state-wide efforts encourage Nevadans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors.
“Joe Ferreira transformed Nevada Donor Network from a near crumbling Organ Procurement Organization to an innovative, high performing organization. When Joe came to Nevada Donor Network, he made every effort to listen to what each employee had to say about the organization and the leadership; and implement changes to better the culture. He clearly communicated his vision for Nevada Donor Network with all team members and asked for their support in changing the direction of operations to set meaningful goals, but not to just talk about it, be about it. Leadership was empowered to make real change in our community and implement new ideas and ways of operating, that with his support and guidance has led Nevada Donor Network to be a national leader in Organ Procurement Organizations.”
” I have had the opportunity to witness Joe Ferreira lead our organ procurement organization’s growth from one of the lowest performers to the top performer in the United States in a few years’ time! Joe’s leadership style of inclusion of voices at every level shows his strength and dedication to “employees first” and “every voice matters”, which brought forth ideas and opportunities that had not been sought out prior to his arrival. His determination and top-notch engagement with staff have been pivotal attributes in our success as an organization, that our marked growth and change would have been impossible without. I’m proud to have the privilege of working under Joe’s leadership, where our embodied culture and strength resonate throughout the organization.”
” It was evident from day one that Joe came to the Nevada Donor Network with purpose; knowing that we not only needed a strong leader with a plan, but needed someone who would be very intentional about their follow through to make it happen. He took the time to get to know the team individually and created an unexpected, but necessary, shift in the culture at NDN through his honest and transparent style of leading. When you work for someone that you respect and know that their intentions are to support and grow the staff however possible, you inevitably work harder and strive for a higher level of excellence in your daily tasks. Strong leadership is what has made NDN into the highest performing OPO in the world.”
” Joe Ferreira’s humble and successful leadership restored confidence in the organization through the development and empowerment of NDN’s team members. He carried a super aura that enveloped the entire organization by the development of strong, loyal and modest leaders that were able to drive employee engagement. Allowing his focus to be on the “Bottom Up Theory” he was able to take the organization from the brink of regulatory closure to the best OPO in the Universe.”