Zach Alexander

Former position at CEP
Senior Analyst – Research

Length of tenure at CEP
2.5 years

What are you up to these days?
I’m a research associate with the Center for Court Innovation (CCI) in New York City. CCI seeks to create a more effective and humane justice system through research and helping launch reforms around the world.

How did your time at CEP prepare you for what you are doing now?
I was fortunate to work on many different projects and teams during my time at CEP. Starting as an analyst on the assessment and advisory services team, I learned some of the intricacies of philanthropic work at the foundation level. I then transitioned to the research team where I worked on projects that took a more holistic pulse of the philanthropic sector and institutional philanthropy.

Through all of these experiences I developed a great understanding of philanthropy’s impact and role in society. Combing through hours of insight from foundation and nonprofit leaders, and coming to terms with analyses from these same audiences, made me realize how deeply rooted foundations are in the fabric of work seeking to solve some of society’s most pressing issues.

As a research associate working to challenge people’s current perception of incarceration, I utilize not just the hard skills that I learned and honed during my time at CEP (i.e. SQL skills, statistics, etc.), but also the perspective that only an organization like CEP can provide about the philanthropic and nonprofit sector. I feel that this latter piece is equally important to the former in order for me to make accurate judgements about the results I’m seeing in my day-to-day work at CCI.

What do you miss most about working at CEP?
As most people have said on the alumni page, the people are what I miss the most. Each person at the organization is talented in their own way, and it was inspiring to be able to work alongside so many intelligent, driven, thoughtful, and passionate people. I truly feel like I transitioned out of CEP as a better person, one that is more confident and comfortable with my own sense of self and my career trajectory. I owe a lot of that to the people I had around me on a daily basis, who supported me during my tenure and who helped me work toward my own individual goals and through opportunities for growth.

I also miss going to drinks after work with everyone, “cubes breakfasts,” and all of the funny conversations that come with life as a tenant of “the cubes.”

What advice would you give someone about working at CEP?
I think leaning into the amazing learning culture at CEP is what I would emphasize the most. Everyone is smart, and each person wants to grow and help their peers grow. Take the time to learn new skills, ask the questions that you may be too shy to ask, and find ways to get involved in projects that you find interesting — 100 percent of the time people will be receptive to you and what you want to achieve!

Describe your perfect Sunday.
It would have to be about 75 degrees outside and sunny. I’ll have already done all of the chores I’ve needed to do for the week ahead, so I would wake up knowing that I have the full day to do exactly what I want! The day would involve a combination of making coffee, reading The New York Times, eating great food, walking/hiking outdoors, swimming on a beach or in a lake, eating ice cream, and then watching a Netflix show with wine in the evening.

Zach Alexander