Interview with Dr. Justin Mandel, DOM AP LAC, COO at Global Medical Innovations, LLC.
I recently had the pleasure of connecting with Dr. Justin Mandel, DOM AP LAC, COO at Global Medical Innovations, LLC. Learning about Freedom Belt™was a real eye-opener for someone like me who thankfully has never been in the position of being in need of one or knows of someone suffering with the discomfort and limitations of wearing a drainage bag.
Dr. Mandel's entrepreneurial spirit, medical expertise, and true concern for others is the formula for success. Thanks to people like him and his partner, a life-changing product was created that will surely help millions of people who could have only dreamed such an invention would one day be available.
This Q & A with Dr. Mandel was inspiring, educational, and motivating. Learn more about his endeavors and Freedom Belt™ and see for yourself why he's a PayPath pick to watch.
Q: When did you realize you wanted to start your own business?
A: My involvement with working on this life changing medical product called Freedom Belt™, was the culmination of years of experience with sales, online marketing, medical product development, and experience with inventing and patenting my own proprietary Overactive Bladder treatment. I realized a pretty long time ago that I wanted to create a hybrid online business model where throngs of patients who really needed help were served, instead of just treating one patient at a time like in a practice. This way I could leverage more of my talents to serve volumes of people in a completely different and unique way.
Q: How did the idea for Freedom Belt come about?
A: The time for Freedom Belt™ has finally arrived because my partner, and I were the only two people who were willing to invest massive amounts of time, energy, and capital in this particular way to make a difference in what will be the lives of millions. As practitioners, we have a unique advantage in that we work with patients who need specific help and we can see the areas where innovation is desperately needed.
The idea for Freedom Belt™ came about when Dr. Mario Torres-Leon was making his rounds at Massachusetts General Hospital and a female cancer patient under his care asked him whether he knew what the worst part of her cancer was. He thought to himself, "What can be worse than cancer?" In return she responded, "It's my drainage bag!"
When she said that his mind spun off into a totally different direction because he realized the critical need for patients to be able to properly strap drainage bags to their bodies. So Freedom Belt™ was born out of this shocking experience with his patient who desperately needed a brand new solution for her problem because up until that moment the current standard of care was abysmal.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge with the product/company thus far?
A: The biggest challenge to bringing Freedom Belt™ to market has been a race against the clock. An enormous amount of time was invested into bootstrapping Freedom Belt™ so it's at the point where it is right now. An intensive amount of non-stop sweat equity has been poured into it, and the overwhelmingly positive feedback we've been getting from patients, medical professionals, and medical device manufacturers has been completely reflective of that.
The entire year of 2016 was spent building the foundation for the Freedom Belt™ manufacturing process and putting in place some of the crucial marketing assets to move it forward. We knew that in order for future customers to make the best use of Freedom Belt™, it had to be outrageously comfortable so it could be worn all day and night. So we spent months testing over 30 different types of materials until we were finally able to bring it to the point where it can be worn all day and all night long without people ever knowing it's really there. I can testify to that because I've personally tested it myself so I'm able to stand behind it 100%.
Q: What has been the most rewarding experience throughout the process?
A: The most rewarding experience by far has been hearing from Freedom Belt™ users about how they've been able to get their freedom back following their surgical procedures! Our very first customer had 2 prior surgical procedures and for the third one, he knew what he was in for so he wanted to be prepared for it. What he didn't want was to be stuck at home for weeks on end and be massively inconvenienced with needing to drain his drainage bag as soon as it filled up a little because the weight from it would pull the rubber bands down.
So he searched for a solution for this problem and found Freedom Belt™ online through doing a Google search. Two weeks after he received his Freedom Belt™ he explained to us how it gave him his life back so he could take his wife out to eat and go about his normal business without any concern for what otherwise would've been a nightmare.
The Freedom Belt™ difference can be summed up best by Carl B. from The Villages in Florida. "I want to share a better way to live with a catheter. When my doctor told me of a 4-week recovery with a catheter after surgery, I knew I had to find a better way to deal with the thin elastic straps that come with a standard leg bag. I've used a Freedom Belt for 2 weeks. Zero fear of the leg bag sliding down my leg, pulling on the catheter. No worries about readjusting before sitting because the bag rotated to either side of my leg. The bag stays put. No matter what I do or where I go. Standing, bending, sitting, walking, driving, worn under my pants or long shorts. Very discrete and secure. Highly recommended."
Q: What is different about Freedom Belt compared to other products in its category (if there are any)?
A: Freedom Belt™ is the very first patented suspension based strapping system that's ever been devised for managing drainage bags that hold urine or other bodily fluids. Until now, the decades-old standard of care has forced patients to hold up their drainage bags using cheap rubber or Velcro that might cost as little as a penny each. These archaic straps do not do a sufficient job holding the drainage bags in place because they fall down as soon as they fill up with fluid. As you could easily imagine this highly limits people from going about their lives like they did before their surgery.
To help make a little more sense of it, think of it this way: You just woke up from surgery and you now all of a sudden have a rubber tube sticking out from inside your body with a big plastic "bladder" attached to it at its end. Now you are forced to keep everything on you so not only it stays in place, but you also need to make sure that the rubber tube never comes out because if it does it'll be incredibly painful plus beyond that, you'll need to go back to the hospital to get it surgically reinserted.
So now with Freedom Belt™ you can go about doing pretty much everything you did before your surgery like food shopping,getting lunch from a local deli, attending concerts, exercising at the gym, etc., which makes it a very welcomed relief for probably nearly all patients who need a drainage bag.
Q: Who is Freedom Belt aimed towards?
A: This product is for ANY patient that has the need to manage drainage bags following surgery. It could be for anyone from as young as a pediatric patient on up to senior citizens.
Q: Where can people purchase Freedom Belt™?
A: Patients or family members can visit www.FreedomBelt.com to purchase their Freedom Belt. Alternatively it can be ordered by calling our toll free phone number at 844-FREE-NOW.
Q: Where do you see the company going in the future?
A: Freedom Belt™ is the first product that our company, Global Medical Innovations LLC is bringing to market. Additionally, there are 9 other additional related product lines that will be able to help patients' lives be more pleasant during or after they've had minimally invasive surgeries.
Because Freedom Belt™ is a major game-changer that offers the next evolutionary leap in medical devices for patients who have drainage bags, it will be just a matter of time before it is adopted as the gold standard for all patients who need a surgically implanted catheter. This will be like the modern day digital calculator replacing the Stone Age abacus, where hardly anyone who needs to would always prefer a calculator, which can perform computations more easily faster.
Q: What advice would you give a budding entrepreneur or business-minded individual seeking to launch a new product or service?
A: Working on a medical start-up that can profoundly affect the lives of millions of people with a product like Freedom Belt™ involves a tremendous sense of responsibility involved with it. There's a moral sense of responsibility to create the very best product possible because of how many people's lives that will be able to be touched with it without ever meeting over 99% of them.
If you know in your heart of hearts that you have a winning product or service that will dramatically improve lives, then do everything it takes to make your vision happen. People who know nothing about entrepreneurship will tell you that you'll fail. Your family might not fully support you. Your friends will talk behind your back. People who think they have your best interests at heart will try to crush your dreams because they don't want you to succeed and don't want you to get ahead so you can stay way behind like them.
Ignore everyone. Grow some thick skin, put your blinders on and dig in deep. Then do everything you can without reservation to see your vision manifest itself.
Q: How many people work for Freedom Belt at this time?
A: We have 5 people that work for the company as of now. Both Dr. Mario and I have been spearheading its efforts to get it to where it's currently at. We recently brought on board an experienced investor relations executive to help us acquire investment capital, and we also have two really wonderful sales people working with us in the Caribbean.
Additionally, we have well over two dozen people that we've hired through outsourcing who help with everything from website development to marketing.
Q: Sum up your company philosophy (or your own mantra) in 3 words:
A: Patient-centered products.
It doesn't sound logical when I say "patient-centered products", so I will explain. Until now, medical devices have been exclusively designed to typically only benefit the medical device companies. Now, with Freedom Belt™ and the other 9 D'Ultima product lines that will set the gold standard in the minimally invasive surgical niche, it's the patients that will finally come first. That's because Dr. Mario has the insight into the needs of the patients themselves, given that he's worked with thousands of them.
Q: What about your personality makes you a successful business owner?
A: I'm relentless. I don't give up. With millions of people worldwide who will benefit from Freedom Belt™ I don't have the luxury of being able to be idle and let things happen on their own.
With a brand new start-up, there's a crazy amount of things that need to get done so it's critical to realize the pieces that need to be in place as well as the order that those pieces need to be assembled in, etc. I'm pretty good at prioritizing what needs to get immediately done and what can be saved for later.
Q: Anything else you'd like to share?
A: Freedom is something that all of us hold near and dear to our hearts. When we lose our freedom it can profoundly affect us on many levels. We're very glad because Freedom Belt™ is there to successfully serve those patients that up until now, the medical community did not have an adequate solution for.
If you're an entrepreneur and you can provide humanity with something so fundamental that people have a critical need for, then do everything that you can to make it happen!Entrepreneurship isn't straight forward. Every day brings different challenges. If you're going to work on a medical start-up or another type of start-up, the workload is non-stop. There's always, always, always work to be done. So make sure that you're really passionate about what you're doing because when the times get tough, that will help to float you through.
What you really need to do is to speak deeply to yourself at your core and not chase opportunities simply because there's a high dollar figure that could be associated with it. If you're not highly passionate about what you're doing then when the going gets tough it'll be too easy to just give up.
Looking for a job? In addition to encountering those annoying never-ending job interviews you may find yourself face-to-face with an artificial intelligence bot.
Companies worldwide increasingly use artificial intelligence tools and analytics in employment decision-making – from parsing through resumes and screening candidates to automated assessments and digital interviews. But recent studies claim that AI does more harm than good.
While AI screening tools were developed to save companies time and money, they’ve been criticized for placing women and people of color at a disadvantage. The problem is that many companies lack appreciable diversity in their data set, making it impossible for an algorithm to know how people from underrepresented groups have performed in the past. As a result, the algorithm will be biased toward the data available and compare future candidates to that archetype.
The City’s Automated Employment Decision Tools (AEDT) law is designed to offset the potential misuse of AI and protect job candidates against discrimination. It was enforced on July 5th, 2023 in New York City - with other cities and states expected to gradually follow suit. Employers must now inform applicants when and how they encounter AI. Furthermore, companies have to commission a third-party audit of the AI software used, and publish a summary of the results to prove that their systems aren’t racist or sexist. Job applicants are able to request information regarding what data is collected and analyzed by the AI. Violations of the law can result in fines of up to $1,500.
Replacing Human Hiring Decisions
However, should a job applicant want to opt-out of such impersonal judgement by a bot, the new law's scope is quite limited.
While the law specifies that instructions for requesting an alternative selection process must be included in the AI screening disclosure, companies aren't actually required to use other screening methods. Not to mention that the law only applies to AI in hiring and not any other employment decisions. It also wouldn't apply if the AI, for example, flags candidates with relevant experience, but a human then reviews all applications, making the ultimate hiring decision.
Some civil rights advocates and public interest groups argue that the law isn’t extensive enough and that it’s even unenforceable. On the other hand, businesses say that it’s impractical, costly, and burdensome, and that independent audits aren’t feasible.
Responsible use of AI in hiring
Although this law may be a good first attempt to assign more regulatory guardrails around AI, it remains to be seen if it ensures the responsible use of AI in hiring processes. At the end of the day, perhaps recruiting talent should remain a human-made decision.
The good news is that AI can help companies without harming potential job candidates in many ways – such as connecting new employees with internal organizational information and company benefits during onboarding. Or helping employees to do their jobs more effectively rather than replacing them.
There’s all this talk about solo travel. And for good reason — no wasting precious time waiting for others to get their act together, take the plans out of the group chat and actually buy the tickets. Going solo, you can be spontaneous. You can plan your trips according to your precise tastes. You can hop on any flight and fly awayyyyyy.
But what if each time you flew you’d get a free ticket? That’s what you get with the Southwest Companion Pass.
Award status, upgrades, lounge access — there are many perks in the frequent flier game. But one of the coveted holy grails is the Southwest Companion Pass.
What is the Southwest Companion Pass?
The Companion Pass is part of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program. You get to choose one person to be your “companion,” and they fly with you for free (plus some taxes and fees) on every flight. That’s right. Two for the price of one. That’s half off each ticket if you split it! Whether you’re flying with a partner, family member, friend, or anyone else, they can tag along for free.
And it gets better: once you earn the pass, you can reap the rewards for that full calendar year … AND the next. That’s why people go mad trying to earn a companion pass during the early months of the year. The sooner you qualify, the longer you can use it.
There are also no blackout dates. There are no limits. And if you didn’t purchase the ticket (think: work travel, your companion, or a generous benefactor), there are no restrictions! As long as you’re the one on the plane, your companion can also … be on the plane.
You can also switch out your designated companion 3x a year. So, no need to stay in a relationship simply to get the most out of your companion pass! Ghost and fly away — with a whole new companion!
If this sounds too good to be true — it’s not. But there is one small catch. It’s kinda tough to earn this mega reward.
How to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass?
You can qualify for the pass in one of two ways:
- Fly 100 qualifying one-way flights
- Earn 135,000 qualifying points in a calendar year.
Clearly, this is no small feat — especially if you’re trying to qualify ASAP.
So how do you actually earn the Southwest Companion Pass?
Don’t worry, there’s a path to earning this amazing reward without climbing on 100 flights or spending an exorbitant amount of money.
Earning 135K reward points may seem completely impossible, but it’s easier than it sounds. Simply sign up for a Southwest Credit Card and turn those spending habits into a rapid rewards account. Through the Rewards Priority Credit Card, earn points when using local transit and commuting, plus score major points and miles whenever you spend.
Stay with me here. This is not some scheme to get you into credit card debt. Many airline cards come with potential savings, giantic rewards, awarding you points, and cashback with every purchase you make that can be redeemed for travel. And often they can come with passive sign-up bonuses. If you spend a specific amount of money within a certain timeframe of opening the card, you can be in for a windfall of points.
Now that’s where the companion pass comes in:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
- Southwest Priority Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
- Southwest Performance Business Credit Card
Southwest has three personal cards and a business card. Each of these cards offers rewards between 30K-80K points. In the past, people could open two cards and get a bonus that granted enough points to almost meet the minimum. However, with new restrictions on personal cards, you can only get one bonus every 24 months. Boo!
However, this doesn’t apply to business cards. If you’re eligible, have good credit, and not likely to spiral into insane credit card debt, you can open a business card and a personal card, and accrue 100K+ points. The Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card will get you points after you spend money in no time.
Now to earn the rest of them.
The secret to gaining these credit card points is to plan your card sign-ups around big purchases. Just before a recent move, I opened a card . . . and the rewards came rolling in — a small balm to ease the pain of how exorbitant moving can be.
Put everyday spend — especially big purchases or bulk items — on your Southwest credit card and watch your award points quickly add up. Typically, you earn 1 point per $1 spent on your Southwest card and 2 points per $1 on actual Southwest purchases.
But there are other ways to earn points, including:
- Flying Southwest: Booking travel on Southwest earns more points. The cost of this travel will be worth it with your companion pass
- Shopping from Rapid Rewards Partners: Purchases with Southwest’s “Home & Lifestyle” and “Shop and Dine” Partners also earn Companion Pass qualifying points. While you shouldn’t make gratuitous purchases, browse Southwest’s partners to see if you could earn extra points for items you'd be purchasing anyway. All this, simply from enrolling in their Dining Program and shopping with their partners.
So there you have it! And since it’s almost Spring, get to earning and soon you’ll be flying two for the price of one!