We had the good fortune of connecting with Mike Rufail and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mike, what’s the end goal, career-wise?
At the end of the day, I want to use this organization to make our city, state, and global community a better place. Gaming has immense power to connect people of all kinds, and we’re taking advantage of that at every turn. Our newest and biggest initiative so far with this goal in mind is the Envy Foundation. This non-profit organization was just launched in April 2021 with massive support from our players and staff. We aim to use our position in North Texas and in the gaming community as a whole to provide support for youth in our circles that need it most. Part of building an entertainment brand for everyone means doing our part to make sure everyone feels welcome.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I’ve always been very adept at judging the talents of the people I work with – first with players on my teams and then, as the organization grew, with staff, leaders, executive teams, investor partners, and so on. Filling the gaps in our existing knowledge and capabilities by bringing passionate experts into this organization has been absolutely essential to our success. One of the most important parts of being a leader is recognizing when your best course of action is to step back and trust the talents of your team members.
There have certainly been challenges along the way, and a lot more recently. Going into 2020, we were expecting our biggest-ever year for live events with live home events happening throughout the spring and summer for the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League. When the pandemic put a pause on all that, we pivoted and moved our efforts to linear TV, online competition, and content creators. It didn’t just work, it was a huge success. We won the inaugural Call of Duty League World Championship. We successfully aired a three-part documentary on the Dallas Fuel. We signed globally popular content creators including Alexandra and Andrea Botez, TeePee, BobbyPoff, and more. We didn’t let off the gas for one second, and we continued growing Envy into a content and competition powerhouse.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m a father now, so I really enjoy the places that are family friendly. We love Downtown McKinney. They have a great collection of boutiques, shops and restaurants there. We always seem to find something interesting when we visit. Our favorite food stops there are Patina Green and Harvest. My office is located in Victory Plaza so I get to experience the vibrancy of Uptown Dallas almost every day. A Mavs or Stars game is a must in the AAC. Spiral Diner in the Bishop Arts area would be the preferred food spot for us there. If we wanted to get even more relaxed, the Dallas Arboretum is the spot for us. Our family really enjoys walking around the arboretum and taking in a little bit of nature. It’s a great place to forget about the busy life.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’ve learned a lot of lessons about running a large organization and treating people right from Ken Hersh. Beyond just smart business decisions, his success – and now mine – has a lot to do with how he brings on great people and gives them the resources to cultivate their talents and make the most of their role. I’ve built Envy with this philosophy in mind, and it’s resulted in an organization full of people who are excited to be here, who believe in what we do, and who deliver serious results day in and day out.
I also have to mention my parents. A lot of what drives me is creating something that makes my parents proud. They’re first-generation immigrants from Egypt who did everything in their power to give me opportunities they never had growing up. I’m grateful for their belief in me and what it enabled me to accomplish.
All photos credited to Envy Gaming.