Tom Alexander is a leader in inclusion and diversity, working across a variety of organizations to support and foster welcoming, open, fair and productive environments in business and in the community. He is the founding partner of Holistic, a technology firm dedicated to improving the entire employee experience through the use of data.
Tom is the former chief operating officer for 1871, one of the largest technology incubators in the United States. His role included operation of a facility that houses hundreds of startups, business development efforts focused on integrating 1871 into the Chicago technology economy, and external relations efforts with government and media partners, with a particularly strong focus on diversity and inclusion initiatives which advanced 1871 and helped it become the number one rated university-affiliated incubator in the world.
Previously, Tom served as deputy communications director for Mayor Rahm Emanuel. In his role with the Mayor’s office he oversaw day-to-day communication strategy and long-term planning, including events, written press materials, and coordination among city agencies. He additionally played a leading role on the Mayor’s economic council, working to attract and retain companies and jobs to Chicago.
Prior to his time in the Mayor’s office, Tom served as a senior communications director at the University of Chicago, a policy and communications projects director in the Office of the Governor of Illinois, and a senior disaster analyst for the U.S. Small Business Administration in Washington, DC. He has also worked as a newspaper reporter, editor of an online business publication, adjunct professor of journalism, and was founder of a small sports newspaper.
Tom has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Chicago and a master’s in public policy administration from Northwestern University. He is a notary public, and was selected by former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar as a 2014 Edgar Fellow. Tom serves on a number of boards, including Common Threads National Board, the YWCA Impact Investing Advisory Council, and a number of local technology companies, including LISA App and Noirefy. Tom was selected by the Aparecio Foundation for their inaugural “14 under 45” class in the summer of 2015.
Tom lives in Chicago’s Old Irving Park neighborhood with his wife Tiffany, son Ben, twins Lyla and Sam, and his best friend, a Burnese Mountain mix named Shadow. He is available via email at email@example.com and is on social media as @tomalexander19.