Bret Alexander – 20 Under 40

Ernst & Young
35 | Education: University of Southern California

Bret Alexander is honoring the memory of a childhood friend by helping others through nonprofit work.

Willie Tichenor died of osteosarcoma in 2006 at the age of 19, prompting Alexander to become a founding member and advisory board director for the What Would Willie Want Foundation  (QuadW). Alexander also serves on the strategic advisory board of the Osteosarcoma Institute.

“Helping found and lead both of these organizations has been the privilege of my lifetime and instilled within me a deep passion for philanthropy and improving outcomes for others,” Alexander said.

QuadW supports osteosarcoma research and education with the Willie Tichenor scholarship at the University of Texas and the Willie Tichenor Arts Scholarship at Highland Park High School.

“For my work in QuadW and OSI, the lightbulb moment was realizing the opportunity I and my fellow board members had to make a real impact on Osteosarcoma through asking hard questions, driving collaboration, and relentlessly pursuing better answers to difficult problems,” Alexander said. “That realization made me realize that even though I was not a scientist, that I could still be a part of driving progress forward and making a real impact through my work with both QuadW and OSI.”

His day job is as a management consultant in EY’s business transformation practice serving clients in the technology and media industries.

Toughest business/personal challenge:

Toughest personal challenges were watching my best friend succumb to cancer at 19 and then, a few years later, watching my little brother battle leukemia (thankfully, he fully recovered). These experiences have really informed my passion for my work at QuadW and OSI.

What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?

My first job was delivering flowers for Park Cities Petals in high school. I learned that accountability, responsibility, and having fun can all happen in the same job.

What is your favorite local store?

There are too many to choose from as I’m a frequent visitor to Bubba’s and Burger House, which are institutions in our neighborhood. One more I think we should add to the list of local institutions is LDU Coffee. It’s a relatively recent addition to the neighborhood that, besides making great coffee, always makes you feel at home and (like) everyone knows your name.

What was your first job and what did you learn from it?

My first job was delivering flowers for Park Cities Petals in high school.  I learned that accountability, responsibility, and having fun can all happen in the same job.

Fun fact that someone wouldn’t know about you?

I’m a drummer.

How do you motivate others?

I find that the best way to motivate others is through empowerment and a consistent application of empathetic leadership. 

What are you most excited about for the future?

I’m most excited about raising my family here in the park cities and continuing to make a positive impact in the world through QuadW and OSI.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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