Tom Alexander is chief operating officer for 1871, one of the largest technology incubators in the United States. His role includes 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 initiatives which advance 1871 and Chicago as the most inclusive place in the world for entrepreneurs.
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 recently selected by former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar as a 2014 Edgar Fellow. Tom is on the Common Threads National Board and 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, five-year-old son Ben, two-year-old twins Lyla and Sam, and black lab Johnny Cash.