Alexa Courtney has over 15 years of experience working in the US and globally in South Asia, Africa, and Europe; building new businesses, designing strategies to help organizations adapt and create impact, and leading research and assessment teams. She pioneered the application of design thinking, innovation, and systems complexity studies to human security challenges. Since founding Frontier, she has worked with executive leaders at large non-profits (United Way, Omidyar Group, and Council on Foreign Relations) and Federal organizations (USIP, classified National Security sponsors, Social Innovation Fund) to apply the tools of design and innovation practices to drive organizational change. Prior to founding Frontier, Alexa held senior positions in the public and private sectors dedicated to using innovative approaches to tackle complex problems. She led the design and implementation of field research networks in Syria for USAID that allowed Syrians to guide donor assistance toward life-saving needs in near real time. She helped pioneer the design and implementation of USAID’s evaluation systems in Afghanistan to determine the impact of donor programs on community stability country-wide. She also facilitated the design of a post-electoral governance strategy for an African political opposition group.
Alexa holds a B.A. in Sociology and International Studies from Yale University and an M.S. from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies in the Political Economy of Violence, Conflict and Development. She is a former Fulbright Scholar, Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar, and Presidential Management Fellow, and a former Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She was honored by DevEx and Chevron Corporation as one of forty international development leaders under forty in Washington, DC, for acting as a change agent within USAID and driving adoption of innovative approaches to prevent vulnerability and conflict.