Company: GreatCall, San Diego, California
Entry Submitted By: Connecting Point Communications
Company Description: GreatCall, makers of Jitterbug, was founded in 2006 by Arlene Harris, a 45 year wireless veteran, and Martin Cooper, inventor of the first portable cell phone. GreatCall’s vision to deliver easy to use and helpful cell phones and service created a new industry standard for simplicity. Jitterbug is sold nationwide at trusted retailers. GreatCall is a privately-held company located in San Diego, CA.
Nomination Category: Company/Organization Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Best Overall Company of the Year – Service Businesses – up to 2,500 Employees
Nomination Title: GreatCall, Inc.
1. Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated company during the eligibility period (up to 500 words):
For over 35 years, Arlene Harris has been a successful entrepreneur, board
member, and investor in numerous wireless-related businesses. Often referred to
as the “First Lady of Wireless,” Arlene won industry-wide acclaim in May 2007
when she became the first female inductee into the Wireless Hall of Fame. Arlene
is dedicated to developing new technologies and building technology companies
that improve people’s lives, and, inspired by her mother’s experience with the
widening technology gap that troubles so many in our always technically-evolving
society, Arlene and her husband Marty Cooper founded GreatCall in 2006, makers
of Jitterbug phones and services.
In pursuing her vision to create accessible technology, Arlene crafted Jitterbug
from the ground up. In 2004, Arlene and her team brought their idea of simple cell
phones to Samsung, which led to the successful launch of Jitterbug two years
later. Jitterbug was specifically designed for those disenfranchised by today’s
complicated models—and since the phones’ launch, Jitterbug has come to be
known as the premier provider of straightforward communication.
The Jitterbug phones have yes-and-no prompts, simple menus, and even a dial
tone. Oversized, backlit buttons and large text are easy to see; a patented ear
cushion and hearing aid compatibility make the sound loud and clear; and
Jitterbug is inherently personalized—features can be turned on or off based on
user preferences. But what makes Jitterbug unique is its service: live, 24-hour,
friendly operators are available at the touch of a button to place calls and
by name. Also, Jitterbug never requires a service contract, and plans start at $10
In the past year, Jitterbug has been further enhanced with service additions such
as myjitterbug.com. Unlike most carriers, GreatCall allows users and designated
family and friends to manage their account entirely online, where, with access to a
full keyboard and monitor, users can easily add phone numbers and turn features
on and off. Jitterbug Roadside Assistance is also a new service expansion. For
just $4 a month, members have access to towing, battery jumps, locksmiths, and
support with other roadside predicaments while at home or on travel—all without
complicating the simplicity and ease of use of the Jitterbug phone.
As the founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of this innovative company,
Arlene Harris is personally invested in the interest of her customers. Research and
focus groups to continually improve Jitterbug are common staples at GreatCall,
and Arlene often visits the Call Center, where she listens in as customers share
their stories of success with the phone and their suggestions for future
improvements. Armed with these personal anecdotes, Arlene keeps the business
evolving and growing to her users’ needs.
Because of Arlene’s familial experiences with the technology gap, she has taken
great care to make sure her customers are provided for. Technology, meant to
help us gain footing in our fast-paced lives, can do just the opposite when over-
complicated, but Arlene is determined to keep access and connection open to all
of her users no matter their level of technical competence.
2. List the URLs (web addresses) of any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that you would like the judges to see that support your entry. IMPORTANT: List each URL on a separate line, begin each URL with http://, and enclose each URL in square brackets. For example, [http://www.yourcompany.com/pressrelease.html]:
New York Times, “For the Advanced in Age, Easy-to-Use Technology”
Wall Street Journal, “Simple Cells: Basic Phones Put to the Test”
TMCnet, “Jitterbug's Cellular Phones and Services Available at Best Buy Mobile
VentureWire, “GreatCall Hangs Up Fund-Raising with $38M”
Press release: Arlene Harris, Founder and Chairwoman of Jitterbug®, Wins
Prestigious ATHENA San Diego Pinnacle Award
Press Release: Elder Care Author, Expert Doctor Marion Recommends Jitterbug®
Cellular Phones to Simplify Communications for Mom and Dad
3. Provide a brief biography of the person or persons who lead the nominated company (up to 100 words):
Arlene Harris, GreatCall Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors, has
more than 35 years experience as an entrepreneur, board member, and investor in
successful wireless-related companies. Often referred to as the “First Lady of
Wireless,” Harris won industry-wide acclaim in May 2007 as the first female
inductee into the Wireless Hall of Fame, a joint effort of RCR Wireless News,
Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) and the Enterprise
Wireless Association (formerly the Industrial Telecommunications Association).
After more than two years in operation, GreatCall and Harris are proud to aid those
who want to use a cell phone but are overwhelmed by technology.