Alexandra Zagbayou

Alexandra Zagbayou

Hart Associate Professor of the Practice

Prior to joining the faculty Duke, Alexandra was part of the founding team of Student U, in Durham, NC. Alexandra served the organization as Director of Operations, Founding High School Program Director, Inaugural Chief Program Officer, and Executive Director. During this time, Student U built a 11 year pipeline of supports, 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 became 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, and the broader Durham Community.

Currently, Alexandra serves as Associate Professor of the Practice in the Hart Leadership Program housed in the Sanford School of Public Policy. As a leadership ethics, policy and community engagement practitioner, Alexandra is animated by the following questions: What life experiences and opportunities propel individuals to live into their values and utilize their gifts in service of the world? 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? What creates and binds communities of purpose?  In addition to these questions, Alexandra is also curious about the role non-profit and philanthropic institutions play in shaping communities and public policy. Her interests converge in her classes: Women as Leaders, Lead the Way Durham, and Leading In and With Community where she aims to create a supportive and challenging learning environment that invites her students to localize themselves in the text and apply all the concepts they are wrestling with in class in their own lives.

When she is not teaching, Alexandra continues to exercise her leadership muscles by serving on the following boards: MDC (Finance Committee Chair), The Beautiful Project, DataWorksNC (Board Chair), The Triangle Community Foundation (Outreach Committee). She is also the founder and principle of AnchorED Coaching and Consulting. Alexandra is also a trained Duke Health and Wellness Coach.

To feed her soul, Alexandra hosts a supper club in her home, dances to the sound of the djembe on Saturday mornings, watches DPS school board meetings, sends her friends random memes she finds on Instagram, and travels to be with her family in Abidjan and Montreal. Alexandra is a proud immigrant from the Ivory Coast, child of a first-generation college student and the second of seven children. She dedicates her work to her parents, Safi Lufuma and Gregoire Zagbayou, lifelong public servants who gave her the world.