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Disability Rights Advocate Says PRIV Helps Her Create a Better World

04.15.16 / Ryan Blundell

GiaGardner-OrrGia Gardner-Orr’s entire career has been focused on advocacy for others. She’s presently working for an Illinois government agency that advocates for the rights of persons with mental, physical, emotional, developmental and intellectual disabilities, but numerous opportunities have led her here.

She proudly says that she is doing her true calling: advocating on a larger scale for basic human respect and rights, especially for people who are underserved and overlooked. Through her agency, she ensures that the laws and policies that cover people with disabilities are upheld, while educating citizens on their rights and how to plan for life’s unexpected twist and turns.

More importantly, Gia’s success is powered by her daily mantra; her moral footprint is her legacy. For many years now, she’s relied on BlackBerry devices to help her live that mantra, and recently upgraded to a PRIV.

Gia is among good company among BlackBerry fans who’ve traded up to PRIV. Learn what other influencers have to say, like this teenage tech CEO, this international sales executive, this TV host, this Irish tech blogger and entrepreneur, these fashion executives, this best-selling author and pastor, this TV chef, this sports editor this aerospace engineer, this manager at a major Dominican insurance firm, this entrepreneurial lawyer and this consulting firm CEO.

Ryan: Which BlackBerry are you using right now?

Gia: I’m two weeks into being a proud BlackBerry PRIV user. I just converted from a BlackBerry Q10. I’ve had almost every single BlackBerry that has been released to date. I even remember having a model that used the scroll wheel.

Once, I switched to another platform because someone bought me another phone. I lasted less than a year before I ran back to what my tried and true was. I am a self-proclaimed BlackBerry Aficionado.

Ryan: How did you find the transition from the Q10 to the PRIV?

Gia: It’s interesting, because I’m not used to all of the features that the PRIV has. I’m so used to the standard, but powerful, productivity features in BlackBerry 10. I’m used to a streamlined way of working, so hopefully I can find new ways to be efficient. I’m working on it. When I’m up at night, I pick up the PRIV and try to learn new things or find new apps to use.

Ryan: What does your typical workday look like?

Gia: I manage about five email accounts and over 500 text messages weekly depending on the nature of the seven-day week. I consider myself my own business; my personal and professional lines constantly blur. I’ve been saying that I’m running my own business of “me” since I was a pre-teen. Everything I’m doing is about work. You are supposed to wake up and be passionate about what you do, right? I am passionate about running the business I am entrusted with at maximum level.

PRIV Beauty Shot FeatureA typical day for me honestly sees me doing some form of work for at least 18.5 out of 24 hours. I’m an insomniac, and while my career is a very essential part of my life, the business of being an active mother runs concurrently with the career. So it’s an all-day thing; I take power naps in between.

Before I ever get to the office each day in downtown Chicago, so much has transpired already via my BlackBerry smartphone that it’s absolutely ludicrous to me. I do have a work-provided phone, but I prefer my BlackBerry as my actual personal business work phone. My other phone is an “entertainment” phone, as I like to call them. I’m not proficient with it and I don’t want to be proficient with it, however as a civil servant I must toggle between both. Between the work phone, a desktop or a tablet, I’m managing everything else, both internal and external, via my BlackBerry Hub.

Ryan: How does your PRIV help you stay productive?

Gia: I really try not to be that type of person who’s always looking at their phone, though I know several people who would accuse me of actually being that person. Here is my response to that: most people are looking down at their entertainment phones to be entertained; I’m looking down at my phone to carry out the business of life.

Sometimes it’s my business and other times it’s the business of others. You will want me to do this business, because it will help us all in some small way in the grand scheme of things. Between all of those messages and emails, I could not handle my day without the Hub functionality and the LED indicator light. I can’t be productive without it.

Even my daughter, who uses a Z30, uses it to stay on top of her schedule. Can you imagine being a 13-year-old who is the only one who uses a BlackBerry among everybody? She has embraced it for over year and is actually so upset that she can’t have a PRIV right now. This is because she tells her friends now, “I am of the business of my business, I have so much to manage.” More than likely, I will let her convert as soon as my carrier allows for her upgrade (hint, hint… someone should let her do it now to save my sanity).

PRIVRyan: What is your favourite feature on PRIV?

Gia: The LED indicator light is my absolute favourite feature. When I can’t/shouldn’t have my head down in the phone, I can at least tell if my daughter is texting/calling. My PRIV is set up to shine light on my day in seven different colours so I know who is buzzing what. I do also run DTEK a few times throughout the day to make sure my security is tight.

Ryan: What do your colleagues think of your PRIV?

Gia: Now I am in meetings or at sports venues where fellow attendees are asking me, “what are you using?” The PRIV is everything you wanted in a BlackBerry over the past 15 years combined. A day ago someone said, “why do you keep sliding your phone up? Ah, you and your keyboard!” There are so many avid, loyal BlackBerry users who understand that their device is a vital component for business.

Ryan: What would to say to somebody who hasn’t checked it out yet?

Gia: This is a typical elevator conversation in downtown Chicago. They see the PRIV and ask if it’s worth switching back. I say, “you bet your bottom dollar it is. Everyone should check it out.”

Ryan: Out of 10, what would you rate the PRIV?

Gia: The PRIV is a 9.5 out of 10. I’m a 7.5 only because I’m still learning new things about it.

Interested in learning more about PRIV? Look at the praise it’s received from major media outlets, or see why users love its “old-school” slider keyboard. You could also watch our how-to demo videos or check out the PRIV’s official product page. And if you’re ready to pick one up for yourself, click through to our availability blog to find out how. Many carriers such as AT&T in the U.S. and Rogers and Bell in Canada are also offering PRIV at new, lower prices (as low as $299.99 on two-year contract in Canada or $21.34/month with zero down at AT&T)

Ryan Blundell

About Ryan Blundell

Ryan has been involved in the wireless industry for well over a decade; currently managing technical communication, interaction design and content strategy for a Canadian wireless provider. He has previously been published on Innovation Insights, Business 2 Community, Everything Zoomer and You can follow Ryan on twitter @ryanblundell