Biography

Alexandra Zagbayou is a Professor of the Practice at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy. As a leadership, policy and community engagement practitioner, Alexandra is animated by the following questions: What life experiences and opportunities propel individuals to live into their giftings? What narratives and stories do leaders need to adopt or let go of to lead authentically and effectively? What “rules of life” allow for an integrated, joyful and purposeful life? What are the core tenants of equity centered leadership and how do we prepare leaders to be effective equity champions? As a coach, she hopes to create a supportive and challenging environment that invites her clients to take control of their gifts, their dreams, and their daily decisions in service of themselves.

Prior to joining the faculty at Duke, Alexandra was part of the founding team of Student U, in Durham, NC. Over her 13+ tenure, Alexandra helped grow the organization 10x, served the organization as Director of Operations, High School Program Director, Chief Program Officer, and Executive Director. During her season of leadership, Student U changed its mission, acquired a 55 thousand sq ft building, brokered a 11-million-dollar renovation project without debt, implemented structures to increase collaboration and shared decision making across the organization, and transitioned from a white people lead organization to a people of color lead organization at the Board and staff levels. She is most grateful and proud of the relationships she built with students, parents, co-workers, peers and what they taught her about her values, her vision for her community and her role in it.

When is not teaching or causing good trouble in Durham, you can catch Alexandra hosting a supper club, dancing to the sound of the djembe on Saturday mornings, watching school board meetings, sending her friends random memes she finds on Instagram, planning her next trip to the Ivory Coast or cussing while working out. Alexandra is a proud immigrant from the Ivory Coast, child of a first-generation college student and the second of seven children. She does this work in honor of her parents who gave her the world.