50 for 50 Spotlight: David Block (JD ’02)
"Pepperdine has always pursued excellence, so I want to be a good steward of the education I received and people that supported me along the way, and be a reflection of excellence in the marketplace."
Where there's a problem, David Block looks for a solution. Starting his career as a research analyst covering the Health and Wellness industry, nutritional supplements became David's core area of expertise. David spent extensive amounts of time reading clinical studies, touring manufacturing facilities, meeting with companies, and speaking with investors. Through his work, one major thing stood out to David: unless consumers had a background in nutritional science, they basically had zero chance of understanding what products and/or ingredients could actually benefit them and promote their health.
"It was like companies were banking on this and preying on consumers with products of ineffective quality, safety, and effectiveness," David said.
In 2013, he launched Previnex, a preventative healthcare company that makes clinically effective nutritional supplements that promote longevity, performance, and everyday health. There's a philanthropic component too–for every customer order, Previnex donates a bottle of its premium children's multivitamin, Super Vites, to malnourished children in great need.
As CEO, David says that it is his number one priority to ensure that the company serves all of its constituents well (customers, partners, employees, malnourished children) and keep in alignment with the mission of creating health for everyone.
David uses his aptitudes and abilities in the name of service to others. As this week's featured alumnus, David offers a deeper insight into the education and experiences that led him on a journey to help people live longer, healthier, and more active lives, outreach that extends to the most vulnerable corners of the world.
How did you get started in your outreach to undernourished children?
My wife, Noelle, and I have a huge heart for children. Noelle's a NICU nurse who has a real passion for caring and advocating for critically sick babies, and we've both supported children's charities and children in need with our resources over the years. Supporting these organizations and kids gave us a good perspective on the challenges that impoverished children face on a daily basis.
When our daughter was born in late 2016, it changed our lives in so many amazing ways, but one thought I kept having as I held her in my arms as a newborn, was that there were parents around the world holding babies just like ours that were going to lose them to preventable things like malnutrition. Attacking malnutrition as a company was something I always wanted to do and the birth of my daughter really accelerated this. I started researching malnutrition, and what I thought was largely a food and poverty related issue wasn't actually the whole story. I learned that 17,000 children around the world die everyday from malnutrition, but for up to 45% of these children, it's not a food and/or starvation issue. It's a vitamin deficiency issue. If these kids get vitamins, they live.
I couldn't believe this and knew we had to do something about it as a company, so I walked in the office the following week, gathered our team, and told them that we were going to produce a best in class children's multivitamin and that we were going to start donating a bottle for every customer order of any product. Since officially launching the program in July 2017, we've donated close to 600,000 vitamins to malnourished children in Haiti, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Peru, and I'm really excited to see the impact we're going to be able to make as Previnex continues to grow.
How did a Pepperdine education influence your professional trajectory?
As someone who went to law school knowing I wasn't going to become a lawyer, getting a legal education and learning to think a certain way has been a huge asset in my career. During my second year at the School of Law, the Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship launched, and I was a fellow and founding student board member. The Palmer Center allowed me to pursue my entrepreneurial career ambitions in a nontraditional way that still gave me the benefits of a traditional legal education. From company externships, to taking business school classes for law school credits, to the curriculum of the program itself, the Palmer Center supported my career goals and was definitely a catalyst that helped me pursue a career in finance and entrepreneurship.
Do you feel that you have a particular responsibility as a Pepperdine alumnus?
As I see it, Pepperdine has always pursued excellence, so I want to be a good steward of the education I received and people that supported me along the way, and be a reflection of excellence in the marketplace.
Is there a name that comes to mind when you think of a mentor during your time in law school?
Yes, Janet Kerr was a rockstar! Her vision brought the Palmer Center to life and she was an incredible encouragement to me as I pursued a nontraditional legal education. She opened up her network, was my advocate, helped me in so many ways, and I'm really thankful for her and the role she played in my education and career.
What do you hope to see for the next fifty years of Pepperdine Caruso Law school?
I hope the school of law continues to pursue excellence in all things. It's what they've done since I was a student and it's been incredible and so encouraging to see how much progress the school has made in such a short time. I also hope the law school continues to invest in nontraditional programs to support students who are pursuing careers outside of law.
For more on how Previnex gives back through its nutrition program, click here.
This year, the Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law celebrates its 20th anniversary. To learn how the Palmer Center integrates business, law, and innovation, we invite you to visit our website.