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VA Secretary McDonald Kicks Off #TRLC2015

Bobbi Snethen

Bobbi hails from Madison, WI, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin where she studied journalism and strategic communication. Following a stint as a freelance reporter, she served as a public relations professional in the nonprofit sector working to enhance community service through storytelling and online engagement.

“Veterans are the greatest asset of this nation,” the Secretary of the Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald told a room packed to the gills with 200 Team Rubicon volunteer leaders and supporters on Wednesday night our annual leadership conference in Chicago.

VA Secretary Bob McDonald tossed on a deployment grey before addressing leaders at #TRLC2015.
VA Secretary Bob McDonald tossed on a deployment grey before addressing leaders at #TRLC2015.

The Secretary weighed in on purpose, leadership, and connecting with those who share a common goal.

TR cofounder and CEO Jake Wood introduced the Secretary by revisiting a light hearted moment in 2014 when he received a call on his cell phone two weeks before McDonald was officially named.

“Hi, is this Jake Wood?”

“Yeah, who is this?”

“It’s Bob McDonald. I’m going to be named the Secretary of the VA soon, and I wanted to introduce myself and pick your brain on some things.”

The Secretary immediately showcased a willingness to connect with leaders in the veteran space, including the members of TR who’ve built the organization from 8 to 30,000 volunteers in just under six years.

CEO Jake Wood led a Q&A session with the Secretary and attendees were given an opportunity to pose questions.
CEO Jake Wood led a Q&A session with the Secretary and attendees were given an opportunity to pose questions.

“I’d not only like to challenge you to become the best leader you can be, I’d like to help you,” said Sec. McDonald, just before sharing his email address with attendees.

We’ve responded to more than 100 disasters across the world and much of this growth and ability to serve communities in need rests on the strong backs of volunteers who donate their time, intelligence, and skills to the mission. The Secretary challenged those in attendance to “get the right people on the bus” and help more veterans and service-minded civilians find their purpose through disaster relief.

The Secretary stuck around after the keynote to shake hands and personally introduce himself to TR members and supporters.
The Secretary stuck around after the keynote to shake hands and personally introduce himself to TR members and supporters.

“It was an absolute honor to have Secretary McDonald help kick off our leadership conference this year,” said Wood. “His candor and advice resonated with our volunteers, all of whom are striving to be leaders in their community as our organization grows into a leader in disaster response.”

While #TRLC2015 rolls on, members are also conducting flood damage assessments in Virginia, gathering intel in South Carolina after historic flooding, and responding to wildfire damage in Washington.

  • gordonsoderberg

    “get the right people on the bus” So true.

  • Sweet. As a VA employee it’s nice to see such support from our highest office