Roeper Review: Promoting Equal Opportunity and Preserving Democracy: An Interview With Public Affairs Consultant Alexandra Sims
July 30, 2020
Roeper Review: Alexandra P. Sims believes that one’s birthplace and economic status should not disproportionately determine one’s life journey. Her career path has taught her that real change can be brought about when there is empathy and synergy of aligned purposes... Review:
Alexandra P. Sims believes that one’s birthplace and economic status should not disproportionately determine one’s life journey. Her career path has taught her that real change can be brought about when there is empathy and synergy of aligned purposes among all public affairs sectors: private, government, philanthropy and strong grassroots organizing. These forces working in coordination can create the “great leveler” intended by the country’s founding principles.
“Alex” began her journey at 3 years of age in Stage I in the Roeper School with Carol Charette and culminated her “lifer” status with the Class of 2006. She then ventured to Chicago to attend Northwestern University, where she majored in social and educational policy and graduated with honors in 2010. The impact of that experience, coupled with the remarkable incubation of this remarkable learning community, reaffirmed her belief in the power of fairness and equity … with her commitment to democracy deepened and her advocating for the marginalized among us undeterred.
Having been awarded a prestigious CORO Fellowship upon graduation, Alex was assigned by the CORO program to serve in the St. Louis, Missouri area. The comprehensive nature of that program included stints in a variety of sectors (commercial, industrial, unions, nonprofits and more), and on completion of the program, followed her passion for educating and inspiring students and accepted the role of Vice Principal in a progressive school located in north St. Louis.
Recognized for her achievements, Alex was appointed to lead President Barack Obama’s 2012 Presidential Campaign for the St. Louis region reelection effort. Following President Obama’s historic victory, she continued as a State Coordinator with Organizing for Action (OFA), and relocated to the Chicago headquarters. It was there that she more fully recognized the importance of voting rights and parlayed that invaluable experience and growing expertise toward founding the Chicago-based, Every Vote Counts. As its first Executive Director, she directed the registration of over 120,000 voters in 4 months—the largest voter registration campaign in the country that year.
As the Campaign Manager for Kurt Summers’ 2014 race for Chicago City Treasurer, she directed Treasurer Summers’ broad and impactful platform. Once Summers was elected, Alex was named Senior Advisor for the Treasurer’s Office and helped advance an aggressive and strategic agenda of financial equity and access. Their documented and widely lauded initiative called “Chicago’s 77”—visiting 77 neighborhoods in 77 days, aided the passing of landmark legislation for improved taxpayer investments, developed a constituent communication program, and served as a template for all levels of government and political influencers. It even became a case study for a Harvard Business School MBA exercise.
In 2017, Alex established her firm—APS and Associates—to realize an ambition and pair aspirations with skills honed to effectively serve a range of clients in governmental affairs, grassroots organizing, communications, and nonprofit and political strategizing. To date, those partners include Governor J. B. Pritzker, Treasurer Kurt Summers, States Attorney Kim Foxx, Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus Bill Lowry, The Obama Foundation, Ichor Strategies, Senator Elizabeth Warren, AARP and more.
Ambrose: Please describe some of the work an expert typically does in your field.