Many of us would list “high-powered corporate job” as our greatest career objective, but Derrick Chubbs, the new president and CEO of the Central Texas Food Bank, left an impressive career in the technology sector because he “wanted to live a life of relevance.”
It was a job promotion at IBM that first brought Chubbs and his wife to Austin. The couple, who have raised three children in the capital city, had planned to stay in the area for only three years, but two promotions later Chubbs was still in Austin, helping IBM transition their operations from manufacturing to software. He later left IBM for Pervasive Software and then did a stint at Dell.
Chubbs had a heart for service. He devoted some of his free time to volunteering and sat on a number of nonprofit boards, yet he felt something was missing. During a period his wife refers to his midlife crisis, Chubbs decided his next career move would be to run a nonprofit and put the word out to his network.
It wasn’t long before a friend called about a few openings, including the CEO of the Central Texas Red Cross, a position Chubbs describes as “one of the best jobs I’ve ever had in my entire career.”
Over his nine and a half year tenure at the Red Cross, Chubbs was promoted to several national level positions, including heading up work force development for the disaster recovery unit. The drawback to the increased responsibility was distance from the hands-on work of serving the community. “I loved what I had to manage, but I started to see myself being more of a bureaucrat than someone that was actually connected to the mission.” To revive that level connectedness, Chubbs used to sneak out to volunteer at disaster sites. Like the others workers he’d clean tables, carry water, whatever was needed. “That’s where I got my motivation,” he said.
Another downside of these executive positions was travel. Chubbs spent 85% of his time on the road. It was like he didn’t live in Austin, and he knew there were plenty of issues in the city that needed attention. He decided to look for meaningful work closer to home.
A former colleague passed his name to the search committee for the CEO of the Central Texas Food Bank, the largest hunger relief organization in Central Texas. The food bank serves about and 46,000 hungry Texans every week and will distribute about 40 million pounds of food this year, and will fall between 25-30% short of demand, according to Chubbs.
Chubbs took the helm of the organization in November and believes “in a country where we throw away more than 40% of the food that we produce, hunger is just flat out unacceptable.” It’s that fact that he says that drives his passion and that of all who work and volunteer at the organization.
You can help the organization reach its goals by attending the first annual Soul Food Truck Festival being held on September 30 at Freedom Plaza at Carver Museum at 1165 ANGELINA ST. from 12:00p – 5:00p. A dollar from each ticket purchased, along with a percentage of net profits, will be donated to the Central Texas Food Bank.