This summer, a group of volunteers from West Monroe embarked on a volunteer mission with Team Rubicon, a natural disaster response organization that relies on the skills and expertise of military veterans. Jordan Nouhan, a manager in West Monroe’s Mergers & Acquisition practice and lead of the West Monroe Veterans’ Committee, sat down to discuss the experience.
Q: Tell us about Team Rubicon. What is the organization’s mission?
A: Team Rubicon is a quick response, natural disaster relief organization that was created out of the earthquakes that devastated Haiti in 2010. The organization model is mirrored from the US Marine Corps, specifically to fill the immediate response gap that bigger, long-term organizations are not nimble enough to fill. Team Rubicon seeks veterans as their primary volunteer because of the highly transferable skills developed in the military.
Q: How did you get involved with Team Rubicon? Why is this organization important to you?
A: After the devastating hurricane season in 2017, West Monroe immediately contributed to the Red Cross, but many of us were asking what we could do beyond donating money—how could we put boots on the ground and assist with relief efforts? A few members of the Veterans’ Committee found Team Rubicon while vetting multiple volunteer organizations. Our priorities included ensuring the safety of our volunteers, maximizing our impact, and partnering with a trustworthy organization, and Team Rubicon emerged as the best fit for our volunteers. As a veteran myself, the organization is important to me because of the alignment with veterans and flexibility they provide to the volunteers.
Q: The West Monroe team was ultimately deployed to Houston to contribute to the rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Harvey, which are still ongoing. How long were you there, and what was your typical day like?
A: The team — which included Kaila McDonald, Crystal Kent, Stephanie Rex, and myself–were onsite for one week. We laid flooring, painted walls, cleaned up debris, and completed many other activities. Team Rubicon focuses on families without insurance who are located in lower income neighborhoods with the greatest need.
Q: What was your most memorable moment in Houston?
A: The most memorable moment for me was the gratitude expressed to us by people in the community of which we worked. Sometimes it would happen at the house, when a neighbor would stop by and thank us, but people would also see our shirts when we were out and about in town, and thank us for the work we were doing. This showed us how much this work was needed and how much impact Team Rubicon was creating.
Q: How did West Monroe support the Project Rubicon volunteers?
A: Financially, West Monroe covered all flights and housing for the volunteers. Our PMs, Practice Leaders and Career Advisors also provided support in terms of granting us the time away and making sure our project work was covered while we were on the ground. This allowed us the flexibility needed to both deliver on our volunteer commitments and our work obligations. We are extremely appreciative of the support we received—I think there are very few firms who would grant its employees both the time and financial support to enable such an effort.
Q: The concept of “service above self” is one of Team Rubicon’s driving principals. As a veteran and volunteer, what does service mean to you?
A: I believe service is a fundamental concept of human need – both from a receiving and giving perspective. It is important to find the time and opportunities to meet this need and when you identify a truly amazing and innovative partner, it really enhances the experience for everyone involved. In the military, I felt strongly I was working for a higher purpose, and it’s easy to lose sight of that in the day-to-day grind of a corporate career. Having the opportunity to contribute to something bigger—particularly with the incredible support of the firm behind me—is very satisfying and intrinsically rewarding.