Profile / Michael Daube: Citta
Michael A. Daube
DOB: 18 December 1964
RESIDENCE: Jersey City, New Jersey
EDUCATION: Pratt Institute, Bachelor of Fine Arts
22 March 2010
0630 — 0900 Our first accomplishment was pinning down the global nomad, Michael Daube. The end of March was the best time to come east, carry Daube’s bags, and learn the intricacies of his daily responsibilities. Daube’s natural humility is traced to learning the ropes in upstate New York while waiting tables, assisting artists, and traveling the world. His blue collar childhood and unusual creativity came from a loving mother and a wildly inventive father. This upbringing lead Michael to a bachelor of fine arts at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute and a series of unexpected circumstances lead him to start Citta International. In 1994, Daube was a 30 year–old starving artist living in New Jersey. While curiously rummaging through a dumpster for supplies he discovered an abandoned David Hockney painting. Trading the painting for $18,000 evolved into an unforeseen future of investing in the market of moral good. This has transpired into Michael’s current role of directing three countries and seven projects under the Citta International brand from his 1,300 square foot home in Jersey City, New Jersey.
22 March 2010
0900 — 1030 Downtown to the Hudson riverfront we switched to the PATH train and off to the World Trade Center station. Waiting for our subway to Spring street, Michael shared 2010 projections of Citta’s two hospitals treating over 2,000 patients a month. Local volunteers service the hospital. The indigenous support keeps their efforts neutral as political storms look for any opportunity to take advantage of a western organization. Yet within Citta’s projections for the year it is exciting to hear that the Kathmandu knitting cooperative leads their goal of creating a self sustaining enterprise. The knitting cooperative is ultimately guided by Daube’s progressive approach of monitoring staff and implementing programs with his inspiring motivation that he owes to his mother. It all began when the Daube family was facing economic constraints and a state officer requested to take Michael’s brother Mark into custody due to the Daube family’s inability to transport Mark an hour to the appropriate school in Buffalo for his severe case of Cerebral Palsy. Jean Daube rose to the challenge by going through the process to obtain a chauffer license and after receiving a school bus inspection for their station wagon, she created a job for herself by collecting the special needs children in their rural community and transporting them daily to and from Buffalo.
22 March 2010
1030 — 1330 Upon arriving in SoHo, Michael clarified our next stop. In 1994 Daube had began developing his first hospital in India and returned to New York to strategically plan for the next stages of expanding Citta’s reach. During this interim, a friend introduced Michael to Scottish–born musician David Byrne. As Daube assisted Byrne with odd jobs they quickly became friends and in 1995 Byrne performed a concert at Irving Plaza to support an initiative in Chiapas, Mexico that Michael would bring under the Citta umbrella. As we headed up four flights of stairs to Byrne’s SoHo studio we were greeted by David’s art director — Danielle Spencer, an avid traveler who received her bachelor of arts from Yale University. Michael and Danielle have been friends over the past seven years as Byrne has supported Citta’s efforts. Danielle prompted our visit with her interest in eye care. She and Michael discussed plans for adding a new ophthalmology clinic to accompany Citta’s Hospital in Humla, Nepal. The hospital has received distinction in Humla, home to 75,000, by treating more than 30,000 patients since the doors opened in 2004. Citta’s progressive vision for healthcare continues to highlight their motto of "Making a difference against indifference."
22 March 2010
1330 — 1730 We made our way northeast up Broadway and took Prince to the corner of Mott to enjoy Michael’s favorite vegetarian lunch at Café Gitane where it was great to slow down and share stories about Citta Himalya’s legendary manager, Prakash Bhurtel. After spending two weeks in December with Bhurtel, I have little reservation reflecting on his classic personality as he manages Citta’s Nepali knitting cooperative. At 30 years old, his contagious smile is traced to a rural village in central Nepal where he values his wife and celebrates the health of their eight month old baby. When Prakash is not juggling the purchasing of materials, production calendars, shipping logistics, bookkeeping and communication with buyers — you can find him dreaming about studying business management in the United States, listening to Bollywood or playing table tennis with peers. Prakash’s rigid excellence and childlike integrity is the driving reason we rest at ease with Nepal’s unpredictable third world environment.
22 March 2010
1730 — 2230 Daube pivots between friendship and professionalism with ease as Citta’s monthly board meeting drew near. We took a taxi up Avenue of the Americas and grabbed our receipt at the granite base of the eighteen year old Americas Tower. Security pointed us to the 29th floor where we prepared for Citta’s eleven board members, a dynamic group of doctors, attorneys, consultants and assorted entrepreneurs, surrounding a conference table overlooking Time Square. Michael’s democratic presence sets the tone with the goal of productively maximizing everyone’s time together. Wisely Daube entrusts the corporate leadership to Citta’s President, Christopher L. Barley, MD. At a handsome 43 years–old, Barley practices medicine and talks politics better than anyone else raised in Canastota, New York. His ambition for serving others was polished in the pre–med programs of Syracuse University and the city University of London. Yet his compassion came from a mother that taught him servanthood as she anonymously gifted Easter baskets to the doorsteps of their community every spring. Barley steers the meeting through the wide agenda of financial projections, project updates, and the overarching goal of enabling each division of Citta to become self sufficient.
22 March 2010
2230 — 2330 Heading out of the city and arriving to Michael’s final stop, I began to get tired of keeping pace, yet Daube always has a way of captivating my attention with his unassuming humor and classic observations. As we head up his weathered brick stairs the 120 years of well–kept character gives his two story home earned respect. Reflecting on Apolis’ partnership with Citta over the past two years, I realize that it hinges on Michael’s charisma, genuine care and aptitude to creatively solve any problem. As the night winds down, Michael’s tireless work ethic makes me feel like a light weight as he fields afternoon European correspondence and says namaste to a waking headmaster in Jaisalmer, India. Michael’s providential history and inspiring vision have landed on equal footing as Citta continues to see success. It was a pleasure to spend a full day with Michael and share ‘A Day in the Life of a Modern Activist.’