Our 2017 Board President, David Rubin, describes himself as a “serial tech entrepreneur” and has recently started his fifth company. He started his first company in college, dumpster diving behind carpet manufacturers’ warehouses for scrap pieces that could be cut perfectly down to dorm room size. After plastering Jester dormitory with flyers, his business became so successful that he started cutting wholesale deals with manufacturers. At the end of the semester, he would clean the carpet remnants, store them over the summer and sell to a new batch of freshmen in the fall. One of David’s more recent businesses, ProfitFuel, was the largest SEO company in the US with 220 employees and 12,000 customers. ProfitFuel was acquired by Yodle in 2011. His newest project is OJO Labs, which he co-founded with fellow CASA Board member John Berkowitz. OJO Labs is developing an AI-based technology that automates intelligent machine to human conversation at scale. The first use case for the technology is focused on the residential real estate market where they are helping consumers find their perfect home.
From our perspective, though, the thing that sets David apart is his deep and long-standing commitment to CASA – to our mission, vision and the children we serve. David has served on the CASA board for 10 years, and was a CASA volunteer for more than 2 years before that.
The interest in helping children started for David during college when he ran the afternoon chess program at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School (David was president of the University of Texas Chess Club and ranked in the top 3% of tournament players during college). When CASA came to speak at Riverbend Church during a community involvement day in the early 2000’s, the mission resonated strongly with David and he became interested in volunteering. “The fact that this was standing up in court was a draw for me. In high school I was captain of the debate team, which is not a big surprise to anyone who knows me.” CASA was a great combination of his interests and he became a volunteer.
“Volunteering with CASA definitely influenced my role as a Board member. It made me a lot more informed about what we’re doing every day, not just from intellectual standpoint but also emotional. I got to see firsthand what a difference CASA makes. My big focus on measuring outcomes in the next few years comes from this. I know outcomes are there because I saw it,” says David.
David is now serving his second term as one of CASA’s most visionary Board Presidents. His focus for this term is on demonstrating the effectiveness of CASA’s work through outcome measures that capture the impact that CASA can have for children. The first time he was Board President, in 2010, David saw a need for enhanced structure to help CASA get to the next level of serving children: “The first time around we worked on basically creating some structure on what were our goals, what were the tactics that fed up to those goals? Working with Laura Wolf, we drove the board to a place where we created and adopted a 5 year strategic plan that articulates the strategies and tactics that we all agree on. Now my big focus is on outcomes and around taking what other CASA programs have done with outcomes already and bringing it to the next level. I think that would pay big dividends for CASA generally.”
Even just looking at the most basic of numbers, CASA’s growth since David joined the board in 2006, is clear: CASA has grown by more than 50% in the numbers of children served and by 86% in the numbers of active volunteers. For his leadership in all aspects of CASA, including fundraising, strategy development, Board governance and recruitment, David was named 2014 Board Member of the Year by National CASA.
Outside of business and CASA, David enjoys aviation and recently secured his pilot’s license. He and his wife Melissa are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. They have three children who are 23, 19, and 14; their daughter is a freshman in college and has pledged Kappa Alpha Theta, whose national charity is CASA.
We are excited to again have David leading CASA of Travis County into the future and towards our vision of a trained volunteer advocate, a safe home and a promising future for every child who needs us.
February Board 2017