Kim Rubey | Influence 100
Charting the future of public relations
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Kim Rubey

Head of Social Impact and Philanthropy
AirBnB
US

@rubeykim

 

Airbnb is among the Silicon Valley companies that has stepped up its social good initiatives, which fall under Kim Rubey’s purview as head of social impact and philanthopy. For instance, in 2012 the rental marketplace announced a new site, “Open Homes”, that lets anyone sign up to offer free short-term space to house refugees. So far it has provided temporary living space for 11,000 people displaced by natural disasters, conflicts or illness.

Rubey calls herself a “results-oriented communications professional” with expertise driving “highly-effective traditional and social media strategies at the corporate level, for political campaigns, and for government agencies.” That trifecta is what Airbnb was hiring when Rubey arrived as head of communications in November 2011, signaling a shift in the company’s communications strategy. She was named head of social impact and philanthropy five years later.

Rubey joined after the hospitality disrupter took a big hit to its reputation when renters from the site ransacked an Airbnb host’s San Francisco apartment. Since then — like transport peer Uber — Airbnb’s major battle has been making the case for the legality of its service and how to manage taxes and legal liabilities. Rubey’s combined experience in technology and politics likely serves her well in this capacity. She’s worked at Yahoo and eBay, but also for former Senator John Edwards, the Kerry-Edwards campaign 2004, the Gore-Lieberman 2000 campaign and as press secretary for Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, among other posts within the Democratic Party.