Will McNulty is a Presidential Leadership Scholar from the class of 2015. His family has a long history of serving our country. His father was a Green Beret and both of his grandfathers fought in World War II. Following in his family’s footsteps, Will enlisted in the United States Marine Corps after graduating from the University of Kansas. On January 10, 2010, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook Port-au-Prince, Haiti. That day, Will’s life purpose shifted forever—Team Rubicon began its first mission.
“Team Rubicon is an idea that was founded in the immediate aftermath of the
Haiti earthquake,” he said. “Along with firefighters and other former Marines, I led a medical team into Port-au-Prince and we ended up being one of the very first teams on the ground. It was there in Haiti where we had the realization that veterans are really good at disaster response because of the skills they retain from their military experience. These are men and women who thrive in chaos.”
The small group focused on populations often overlooked or underserved by traditional aid organizations and served thousands of survivors in Haiti. Upon returning to the U.S., Will and former Marine Jake Wood established Team Rubicon USA as an official nonprofit. They were determined to continue to combine the skills and experience of U.S. military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams into disaster zones.
“The veterans who serve with Team Rubicon regain a sense of purpose, community, and identity,” Will said. “Those are the things they lose after taking off the military uniform. We give them these things back through continued service, but this time, through disaster response.”
During one of the PLS program modules in April 2015, a deadly earthquake hit Nepal. Will seized the opportunity to launch Team Rubicon Global, a goal he set for his personal leadership project at the start of PLS.
“When I first began PLS, Team Rubicon was just Team Rubicon USA,” he said. “Team Rubicon Global has now launched in five countries, and I think a little bit of that has to do with what I learned through my experience in the program.”
Will said PLS inspired him to think about his own leadership potential. He attributes part of his success in advancing Team Rubicon to the PLS modules focused on strategic partnerships, vision, and communication.
“Without vision, you can’t pull together this global network of country units,” he said.
Over the last eight years, Team Rubicon has deployed to over 25 countries during the world’s most devastating disasters including the 2010 Pakistani floods and the 2017 hurricanes in the Caribbean. Will recently became Founder Emeritus of Team Rubicon and is focused on writing a book about the founding, impact, and brave veterans of Team Rubicon.