PROVO, Utah – Oct 17, 2022 – As an artist and musician, Alexa Fox wanted a career that would enable her to use her creativity. Fox discovered the experience design and management (ExDM) program at the BYU Marriott School of Business and, now a senior, is using the program’s blend of creativity and business skills to prepare for a career in business development.
Fox was born in Provo while her parents attended BYU. She jokes that she attended her first BYU class before she was one year old because her parents would bring her with them to campus. After being raised to love the university, Fox officially took a class of her own for the first time in 2017 as an undergraduate. During her freshman year, Fox considered both the music education and communication disorders majors, inspired by her passion for music and serving others.
After serving a mission in Cincinnati and Guatemala for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Fox returned to BYU and continued searching for a major. “I wanted job security in my career,” she explains. “I also wanted to combine my creativity with profitability. My cousin’s wife was an ExDM major, and what she said about BYU Marriott sounded cool, so I decided to pursue ExDM.”
Since officially joining the ExDM program, Fox appreciates how the major supports her personality as well as her personal goals. One of her career goals is to create safe work environments where everyone can feel comfortable expressing their creativity, just as she has.
“Some of my childhood friends came from marginalized communities, including the LGBTQ space,” says Fox, who grew up in Texas before her family moved to St. George, Utah, where she completed high school. “I always felt that these friends didn’t have as many opportunities as I did. Also, as a woman in business, sharing my ideas is difficult sometimes. I’ve experienced situations throughout my career where my ideas were dismissed, only to be acknowledged minutes later when brought up by a male coworker.
“I want to make sure that everybody I work with feels comfortable and has opportunities to express their thoughts, because I’ve definitely had trouble with that,” she continues. “In ExDM we frequently focus on creating better workplaces. Ramon Zabriskie’s class—ExDM 350: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Experience Design—was eye opening and helped me understand how I can help create change in ways that I hadn’t thought of before.”
The ExDM program also helps Fox develop as a businessperson. She has worked at BYU Print and Mail as the manager of Cougar Creations, a public copy center, since December 2020. In her role, Fox says she uses ExDM principles to succeed.
“I’ve learned that I can change a company drastically by applying what I learn in the ExDM program,” she says. She has incorporated lessons she’s learned in ExDM 431: Customer Experience Management, ExDM 404: Experience Design, and ExDM 405: ExDM Theories & Frameworks. Principles from those classes include standing up when customers enter and not using the word no.
“Cougar Creations has gone from 1.2 stars on Google reviews to 4.2 stars since I’ve been there. I know this number sounds fake, but profit also increased by about 1,200 percent,” Fox adds. “But that success is not because of me, and I’ll say this over and over again to anybody who asks me: that impact is a team effort created by my coworkers.”
During summer 2022, Fox temporarily left Cougar Creations in the hands of a management team while she worked in San Francisco as a client services intern with AlphaSights, a company that connects businesses with experts on various topics. The internship was an important first step toward her goal of working in business development.
“AlphaSights actually reached out to me on Handshake,” Fox says. “I was told I was hired because of my job at Cougar Creations and how much impact I’ve had through my growth mindset. I learned that mindset in the ExDM program, specifically Mat Duerden’s ExDM 404 class.”
As she approaches graduation in April 2023, Fox loves how experience and creativity is becoming an increasingly important part of business development, creating a blend between her major, work experience, and passions. “One of the biggest things with the copy center is that my employees help fix issues that customers experience. Having a team of people who are trying to improve a company is valuable,” she says. “That’s what business development is, you go in and use creativity to solve problems.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Mike Miller