adam@2revolutions.net

Adam lives in Burlington, Vermont with his wife, Jessica, and their four lovely daughters, Dahlia, Lola, Kaya and Mabel.

Adam Rubin | Founder and Partner

Adam has spent over two decades catalyzing change through the design and launch of social enterprises across the education and community development sectors. He started 2Revolutions to feed this love, and to reinforce a belief that two critical levers we can pull are the birth and scaling of innovative ventures as a way to affect real change. At 2Rev, Adam is able to feed his love of both systems change and practice innovation.

Adam previously held leadership positions across the non-profit and for-profit sectors. Most recently, he was Director of Policy and Research at New Visions for Public Schools where he supported new program design, research and policy/advocacy/lobbying efforts for a network of 125 New York City schools. Prior to that, he founded and managed Swerve Associates, a consulting firm launching education-focused social enterprises in Montreal and New York. He managed economic development efforts in Long Island City focused on community development through real estate development and the arts. He was the founding Executive Director of Tikkun Cape Town, a non-profit working on issues of educational reform and equity in the townships of South Africa. He began his career teaching and managing in Oakland, California and in Cape Town, South Africa.

Adam graduated with a B.A. in Government/Race Relations from Colby College. He holds an MPA from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. A combination of wanderlust and intellectual curiosity find him exploring the world through travel and wilderness adventure.

How do you think about catalyzing change?

More than anything, this work is about creating a mindset shift.  It is about establishing a belief in the possible and getting started, often in advance of having all of the answers. It is this disposition that is open to real change and drives learning. Unlocking the passion within our partners and bringing creativity and a different perspective to bear gets the flywheel turning. Most leaders at all levels of the system have a real desire to change, but being told to do something from the top down is a recipe for inertia or worse. Rather, real change needs to be co-created and supported through the right partnerships. It also starts by establishing a big vision and clear ways to test that logic and find success in stages, rather than all at once. When I set up my first social venture in South Africa in the late 1990’s, our tagline borrowed from Confucian scholar Xunzi, “What I hear I forget, what I see I remember, what I do I know," which aptly captures this disposition.  

What kind of learning systems do you think we need in the future?

I’ve given this a lot of thought over the years, as an educator, an advocate and most recently as a consumer of the system (with four children passing through various parts of it). I want systems that are flexible rather than rigid, that incentivize and reward risk-taking versus maintaining the status quo, and that are aligned around a big vision of learning. In this vision, learners are at the center but the system itself and the adults in the system are constantly learning, as evidenced by personalized and competency-based adult learning and rigorous, transparent learning agendas. This vision produces learners who love learning, can problem solve and are compassionate. I think in these ideal future systems there is a shared understanding of what we are aiming at, why we are headed in that direction and how we’re going to get there -- coherence that is transparently communicated and informed by experimentation and the derivative learning.