Aaron: What initially brought you to DC?
Alex: Originally, undergrad studies at George Washington University. I was studying international affairs with a focus on development, but I ended up spending the vast majority of my time off-campus involved in some wild and crazy ventures and initiatives. Still, GWU was a good place to spend four years. One of the best parts was the Chic-Fil-A in our dining facilities. One of the worst parts was Chic-Fil-A leaving the facilities a year after I arrived.
Aaron: What are some of the advantages of living in DC?
Alex: In addition to the ever-growing population of food trucks I really like two things about DC. Both are super-cliche. The city is ultra-walkable (and now there’s the awesome bike-sharing program too!) And secondly, there really are a crazy amount of opportunities to learn about the world and meet leaders of all kinds. I thought my college’s admission’s slogan of “Something Happens Here”, was incredibly vague, but turns out it’s true.
Aaron: During the hours of 9-5, what are you paid to do?
Alex: Every day I get to work with and support incredibly ambitious and capable student entrepreneurs through the nonprofit I run, Compass Partners. The Compass Fellowship manages full-year on-campus programs at 15 universities in the United States (with a program in Sweden as well), supporting over 250 young social entrepreneurs this upcoming school year alone. I’ve been involved with Compass for a while (originally as Mentor when the GW chapter started), and I’m lucky to be running the organization at-large now. It’s a daunting job but exhilarating. If anyone wants to connect up with our community, please do!
Aaron: What is the coolest project that you have worked with thus far?
Alex: I was fortunate to be involved in a great initiative connecting young social innovators with their peers in the world of next-generation philanthropy through what has become The Nexus Global Youth Summit. We led and supported gatherings at the White House, UN, and elsewhere focused on building bridges between diverse groups of amazing young leaders. I’m excited to see where it goes from here.
Aaron: When was the last time you were in Israel?
Alex: A little over a year ago I traveled with a group from New England. The purpose of the trip was to get exposed to leadership and diverse opinions from business, government, military, civil society, and beyond. Needless to say, it was action-packed and eye-opening.
Aaron: What was your favorite memory?
Alex: Practically every memory of that trip was “once-in-a-lifetime”, but one particularly amazing day started in a settlement and ended in the Palestinian Prime Minister’s office. As I said, the purpose of the trip was to get exposed to as many aspects of Israeli life and society as was possible in a little over a week. We started one of the days in a settlement talking with the leading spiritual head of the settlement movement and hearing his explanation of the movement, which was fascinating in and of itself. Immediately afterwards, we hopped on a bus and eventually found ourselves in extended conversation with Salam Fayyad about the importance of economic development in Palestine. I imagine the likelihood of these two people talking with one another is very slim, and we were able to connect directly with each on the same day.
Aaron: When are you going back?
Alex: No idea, but not soon enough.