William McNulty

Marine Veteran; Founder Emeritus, Team Rubicon

William  McNulty
  • Co-founded and grew Team Rubicon to a global presence and volunteer army of over 60,000
  • Led response teams in response to the decade's worst natural disasters including Hurricanes Harvey and Irma
  • Moving stories filled with lessons on utilizing your workforce to the best of their abilities

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William McNulty is the Founder Emeritus of Team Rubicon Global and the Co-Founder of Team Rubicon, an NGO that deploys teams of military veterans in response to natural disasters. Under McNulty’s leadership, Team Rubicon has grown from a group of four operators who traveled to Haiti in the wake of the devastating 2010 earthquake to a volunteer army of over 80,000 members. Over the past seven years, Team Rubicon has deployed on more than 250 operations, with a team that is 75-percent veteran, including international operations in Burma, Dominica, Greece, Nepal, South Sudan, and Pakistan. In eight years, McNulty raised over $50M in donations and launched Team Rubicon relief organizations in Australia, Canada, Norway, United Kingdom and USA.

Team Rubicon has responded to several of America’s largest natural disaster crises including Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Sandy. A 2015 Presidential Leadership Scholar and recipient of numerous leadership and service awards, McNulty is exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau. Captivating and inspiring, his presentations look at building purpose-driven cultures, finding productive ways to embrace and push past difficult moments or audacious goals, building and scaling a brand globally, and pursuing innovative methods to solve age-old problems.

Humble and genuine, McNulty shares his personal story of coping with the service void in his life after his Marine Corps enlistment ended, as well as how that void led to the idea for Team Rubicon. Realizing a symbiotic need for purpose and community within the veteran population—and a desperate need for skilled first responders in the aftermath of disaster—McNulty shares how he laid the groundwork for Team Rubicon and how he built consensus around his innovative new model. Pulling out specific lessons for each audience, he talks about implementing Team Rubicon domestically and globally, and inspires groups to build cultures of purpose, tackle problems that seem out of reach, and find new opportunities for injecting meaning and hope in the everyday.

Before founding Team Rubicon, McNulty served for nine years in both the infantry and intelligence and worked for the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Council’s Iraq Threat Finance Cell. McNulty currently serves on the Board of Directors of Airlink Flight, Team Rubicon Australia, Team Rubicon Canada, Team Rubicon USA and Team Rubicon Global, and on the advisory board of the Truman National Security Project. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

He is a recipient of: 2017 Honorary PhD in Humane Letters from the University of Kansas; 2016 Presidential Delegation to the Invictus Games; 2015 Heinz Award for the Human Condition; 2014 Purpose Economy 100; 2012 Grinnell College Young Social Innovator of the Year; and the 2010 Johns Hopkins University Government Service Alumni Award. He holds a B.A. in Economics and Communication Studies from the University of Kansas and an M.A. in Government from The Johns Hopkins University.

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Speaker Video

William McNulty Explains Team Rubicon Mission

William McNulty & Team Rubicon

William McNulty Addresses KU Class of 2017

Unlocking Potential & Building A Purpose-Driven Culture.
It’s never been more important for employees to feel the impact of the work they’re doing: A recent study found that 84% of millennials said that making a difference in the world was more important than professional recognition. But it’s not always easy for employers to find ways to invigorate employees to tackle company challenges. Here, McNulty shares his personal journey to find purpose at work, as well as the institutional policies he established at Team Rubicon to ensure every volunteer feels engaged and recognized for the value of their work. Moving and inspiring, McNulty explains why unlocking the potential within an organization’s value is the key to success—and how to do it.

Embracing The Suck: Turning Challenges Into Endless Opportunities.
As a Marine, McNulty learned the meeting of the phrase “Embrace the suck.” A military ethos, it means learning to embrace and power through tough situations with the understanding that those experiences will hopefully better you as an individual, your organization, and maybe even the world. With this talk, McNulty explains how “embracing the suck” has served as a guiding principle since his Marine days, leading to the launch of Team Rubicon, and why outlook is everything. A rousing talk for organizations undergoing disruption and change, or for teams facing insurmountable odds, McNulty inspires audiences to lean into the aspects of their lives or jobs currently weighing them down and begin viewing challenges as opportunities.

Then We Went Global: Taking Your Brand To The Next Level.
Team Rubicon is widely known as the success story in terms of modern ways to combat the effects of natural disasters. Having completed missions across the globe, tapping into foreign veteran communities and drawing on the skills of translators, Team Rubicon Global is in the process of doubling its presence across the world. Here, McNulty talks about how to manage risk and preserve integrity throughout the process of expansion. In a presentation that can be tailored, McNulty discusses identifying the right communities for collaboration, juggling competing priorities, and how to replicate local success abroad.

The New Way To Problem-Solve.
In creating Team Rubicon, McNulty solved two problems by pairing communities in need: veterans looking for service opportunities and areas devastated by natural disasters. Here, he talks about unlocking solutions to problems using existing resources and pairing one set of unmet needs with another. McNulty also looks at the importance of adaptability and agility in overcoming obstacles in real time—like the time his teams conducted swift water rescues for the first time ever after arriving in areas devastated by Hurricane Harvey and seeing a need. McNulty shares his keys to innovative problem solving, and encourages audiences to rethink the status quo in pursuit of a better future.

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