MIchael Ortiz: This Feels More Like Family Than A Competition

W680 michael ortiz rowing The D10 Athlete Profile explores what brings competitors to The D10 playing field...and what they bring away from it. 

Michael Ortiz
Vice-President, Morgan Stanley
The D10 NYC
Fundraising goal: Individual (10K)
2019 Marquee event: 800M Run (Goal: 3:00)

What is your primary motivator for competing in The D10 events?
With every year I compete in The D10, I see my goals and primary motivations change. Perhaps "evolve" is a better word. I first signed up in 2015 because I was intrigued by what The D10 represented and genuinely believe in the excellent work that Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center does. My grandfather died of cancer. He was a big influence on my life and my biggest fan. He was my biggest motivation every day I trained and fundraised. While that is still true today, I am also motivated by the fact that what we do inspires others and that what we do literally creates communities across cities with a singular goal: to band together to battle against our common enemy, cancer. We achieve this goal through competition, camaraderie, and fundraising.

How much of your motivation for participating in The D10 stems from its charitable mission?
Nearly all of it. I’m neither the fastest, strongest or most agile on the field. But I do have a strong personal mission for helping others. The D10 serves as a unique conduit for achieving this goal.

How did you first get involved in The D10?
I first learned about The D10 in 2014 from a coworker who competed in the first years of The D10 NYC. I remember he told me about The D10 at a work Christmas party in December. I was so intrigued by what I heard that I researched The D10 and signed up for it the very next day. 

Thumb michael ortiz running
Michael does amazing work fundraising off the field for MSKCC; on the field, he's equally as dedicated.

How has The D10 been different from your collegiate or high school sports experiences in terms of training and motivation?
The D10 is unique in that training is not mandatory, yet strong, solid communities form around these efforts. Athletes with demanding jobs find the motivation and inspiration to wake up at 4 or 5 am to train with others they will compete against on game day. The really unique part is that it feels more like a family than it does a competition. Both on and off the field, athletes cheer each other on. Each wants the other to succeed and achieve his or her best because when that happens, everyone wins.

In what ways has your participation in The D10 affected or enhanced your performance at work?
Training for The D10 makes me more focused and perform better at work. Starting the day with an intense workout puts me in a game-time type of mindset when I get to the office. Fundraising for The D10 has also increased my presence at work and encourages me to reach out to people I wouldn’t normally contact. That increases visibility for me, for the event, and for MSKCC – a win-win-win.

Have you made new lasting friendships, or strengthened your professional network, as a result of your D10 experience?
I have and it is awesome. I am friends with many of the athletes I train with and follow them on social media. We motivate each other, discuss fundraising strategies, and genuinely bond over this unique experience afforded to us by competing in this event.

Michael is an amazing fundraiser for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. His hard work has raised tens of thousands of dollars for pediatric cancer research. Give him a fundraising boost in his efforts to raise even more in 2019.