A Conversation with Alex Lebow, HR&A’s Managing Director

 

We sat down with HR&A’s new Managing Director to discuss the future of HR&A and how there’s no better time to be working in cities.

 

Can you share a bit about your career and what brought you to HR&A? 

 

After six years leading teams at Nike focused on engaging young consumers, global NGOs, and industry partners on the company’s approach to sustainability, I joined HR&A because I was ready to re-align my career with my prior experience and deep passion for working in cities. Growing up in Boston, I spent many years working for a youth development organization whose mission is to build sustainable food systems in the city. During college, I spent time working for members of Congress mostly on issues that impacted cities, and after college, I worked as a middle school English and social studies teacher in a community that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. I saw up close the impacts housing, food security, and access to basic services had on my students. These experiences set the foundation for my career.   

 

After launching a youth development non-profit that continues to impact young people across dozens of schools in South Louisiana, I had the honor of working for Mayor Mitch Landrieu and managing our partnerships with corporate, philanthropic, and industry organizations. Working for Mayor Landrieu and living in New Orleans transformed my entire life. I worked alongside our current CEO Jeff Hébert and so many others, including external partners like HR&A who helped us rebuild the city.  

 

So, when I had the opportunity to join HR&A, I knew this would be a place where I could bring together my experiences across education, non-profit, government, and corporate sectors to positively impact our company and the clients we serve.   

 

What do you think are the most interesting opportunities ahead for this next chapter at HR&A?

 

HR&A’s superpower is that we’re constantly thinking about what’s ahead for cities while remaining in touch with the issues and challenges that exist today. This is possible because our people come from a diversity of backgrounds and because of the extensive work we’ve done across the country for decades, but it’s also because we’re deeply involved in the communities where we live.

  

2024 presents an opportunity for us to grow our impact, business, and brand. I’m excited to explore areas that impact our clients and industry, including technology. With the emergence of AI and other technologies that impact the way we work, we need to be strategic about leveraging these innovations ethically and effectively while advancing our company and clients’ aspirations. With cities evolving at a rapid pace, especially post COVID, we must tap into HR&A’s track record of constantly iterating and transforming to get ahead of or at least meet what clients and communities need from us.  

 

 

What about your work and your new role gets you up in the morning and keeps you up at night? 

 

My morning routine is sacred and since joining HR&A, I feel even more energized (especially as I sip a hot tea from my favorite local business — Interlude) because I work with people who share my commitment to civic engagement and have dedicated their careers to getting stuff done in cities.  

 

When we’re launching new and exciting initiatives at HR&A, Jeff and I often reminisce about how hard we worked together to increase bicycle infrastructure, launch the bike share program, and improve public transit in the city of New Orleans. . This experience exemplifies the work ethic and creativity that we bring to growing this company and helping our clients turn vision into action.  

 

Sleep is fundamental to how we show up for our family, friends, and colleagues, so I try not to lose sleep over anything. Joking aside, I’m serious about leadership and constantly reflecting on how I can better support our team that works so hard every day. Leadership is a responsibility I don’t take lightly, and I’ll admit that I’ve probably lost a few hours of sleep brainstorming ways to honor that responsibility.  

 

Learn more about Alex here 

A Conversation with Alex Lebow, HR&A’s Managing Director