James A. Alexander

Occupation: Founder, Alexander Consulting

First Car: 1963 Dodge Pickup

Favorite Restaurant: Double Nichol Pub, Pine Island, FL

What are three things most people don't know about you?

I’m not sure - as a researcher, I’d need some data before I could respond properly!

What's been your greatest adventure in life?

Dealing with a mid-life crisis every few years!

What's your best childhood memory?

Watching Saturday afternoon boxing with my Dad.

If you could have a conversation with a person of your choice, past, present or future, who would that person be and why?

That’s an easy one - Winston Churchill.  A remarkable person at a pivotal point in history.  Possessed all the attributes required of a great leader under crisis: courage, conviction, unwavering principles, with a phenomenal power of communication.

What's the hardest thing you've ever done in your life?

Writing and delivering a eulogy for a dear friend.

Tell us about your favorite hobby.

Oh my, I have three - you choose:

- Cruising for dolphins with my wife and two dogs (Pele and Jerry).  It is great sport.

- Traveling (for fun, not work!) with my wife and friends. (I’m writing this in Peru.)

- Photography.  I’m just learning.  I live in an awesome spot to take pictures of nature and wildlife.  Besides, on holiday, if you are the picture guy you can get out of lugging stuff and other nasty work.

What are you currently reading?

Three guide books on Peru and Ecuador.

What is your favorite book? Churchill’s six volume account of World War II.

Is there a particular place or thing you want to see?

Lots of things - I have a long list. Earth from space is at the top, but pending lots of quick technology breakthroughs or lots of luck, it probably is not going to happen. I’d say right at the top of our travel list is Easter Island.

If you could give $10,000 to a charity, what would that charity be and why?

Hey, I’ll take any amount.  I’d give it to the Calusa Land Trust of Pine Island. I’m on the board and we acquire and preserve environmentally sensitive land. As everyone probably knows, in Florida, developers are king so it takes lots of dedication, perseverance, (and cash) to save what we can.

If you weren't on the professional services career track, what would you be doing?

I can’t think of anything else.  My profession allows me the variety I crave - I get to research, consult, coach, facilitate, teach, train, write, and speak. What more could one ask for?

What is the path that led you to Professional Services/Consulting?

After a dozen years in the corporate world, I learned three very important things:

  1. I was a lousy manager
  2. I kept wanting to change things that the big bosses didn’t want to address (another word’s I don’t fit in well with the status quo.)
  3. My real mission in life is to help people and organizations thrive and I can best do that from the outside looking in.

What advice would you give to a recent graduate who just took a job in professional services?

Think in terms of a 50 plus year learning curve and make yourself totally responsible for creating and managing your own personal/life development path.  Don’t tolerate arrogance or stupidity - life is too short.