CEO and Co-founder, Team Rubicon
Jake Wood is cofounder and CEO of Team Rubicon, the only nonprofit disaster response organization that utilizes the skills of military veterans to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. In repurposing the skills gained during service – like emergency medicine, risk assessment and mitigation, logistics, teamwork and decisive leadership – Team Rubicon provides veterans with a sense of purpose, community and identity created by joining a new mission. Since the organization’s founding in 2010 following the devastating Haiti earthquake, Team Rubicon has responded to over 100 disasters and grown from eight to 35,000 volunteer members. Under Wood’s leadership, the organization has responded following the 2011 tornado in Joplin, Missouri, Hurricane Sandy, the 2013 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the 2014 wildfire in Pateros, Washington, and the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal, among many more.
Prior to Team Rubicon, Wood served four years in the United States Marine Corps where he graduated at the top of his class at Boot Camp, the School of Infantry, and the Marine Scout Sniper School. During his service he deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, and earned numerous commendations, including the Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Valor distinguishing device. Wood left the Marine Corps a Sergeant.
A leading veterans’ advocate, Wood has briefed President Obama on veterans’ issues, met with former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton to talk about Team Rubicon’s role in veteran transition and disaster response and testified before a Senate committee to improve mental health care services for returning veterans. He has also appeared in the major media, including MSNBC, CNN, NBC, ABC, Al Jazeera, US News & World Report, Forbes, Huffington Post and Fox News and penned an op-ed for The New York Times. An expert on veteran reintegration, disaster response and social entrepreneurship, Wood has spoken at Harvard, University of Wisconsin, University of Washington, University of Southern California, and Syracuse University as well as Goldman Sachs, Jones Lang LaSalle and Home Depot. He has also delivered keynote addresses at the National Emergency Management Conference and the National Green Building Conference and presented at TedX San Diego in 2010. In 2014, Crown Publishing published Wood’s book, Take Command: Lessons in Leadership.
Wood has received numerous awards including: the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s “40 Under Forty”; the LA Chamber of Commerce Visionary Leader Award; the Goldman Sachs “100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs” award; GQ Magazine’s 2011 “Better Men, Better World” Gentleman of the Year designation; University of Wisconsin’s “Forward Under 40” award; the Grinnell Prize for social change; the Heinz Foundation’s Heinz Award; and was selected as a CNN Hero in 2012. He was also selected as a Millennium Fellow by the Atlantic Council.
Wood holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin with a double major in Business and Political Science. He played football for the Badgers on a full athletic scholarship and was twice selected to the Academic All-Big Ten football team. He splits his time between Los Angeles and New York City with his lovely wife.