From Performing Arts to Politics: Alex Bybee Politics / Stories

You learn a lot about empathy when training to perform the character of others in Hollywood, on the musical theatre stage in Las Vegas and through other performance groups growing up. You regularly put yourself in someone else’s life and try to understand who that character is. You are encouraged from a very early age to not only define your voice but to gain the confidence to define the voice of someone else. This nurturing experience from family and performance coaches is how Alex Bybee attributes his fluid departure from performing arts into politics and leadership.

I learned a lot about about empathy training to perform the character of others. I was encouraged to define my voice and gain the confidence to define the voice of others.

When Alex was young his best friend was a Hollywood actor. Every weekend they would drive together from Las Vegas to Los Angeles for acting school. His friend was in Freaky Friday and some blockbusters, so it inspired Alex to give acting a real shot. His Mom agreed to allow Alex to move to LA in the 4th grade for an entire year. His legal guardianship was pasbybee 4sed on to his Mom’s best friend and Alex was signed to a talent management group and started auditioning for acting roles about three times a week.

After that year, it became too much to be away from his family, but with passion he continued to perform on stages in Las Vegas including one opportunity to sing solo at a Circus Circus venue. He was so nervous but his mom said she’d give him $100 cash to go for it. Alex’s mom saw the value in having the courage to define his voice. She nurtured his passions and encouraged him to continue in local performance groups all through high school.

I was so nervous to sing solo on a stage at Circus Circus but my mom saw the value in having the courage to define my voice, so she gave me $100 cash to do it.

The moment Alex departed from performing arts he went into politics and leadership. The jump was easy but getting elected was not. Alex shared several stories about putting his all into campaigns and failing to be elected. He ran for office over and over again, but it was not until late sophomore year of high school that he landed the role as Junior class President at Bonanza High School in Las Vegas.

It was an excruciating process especially in high school to put yourself out there then lose at several attempts at being elected. Alex would advise young people to embrace their authentic self. Don’t give the answers you think people want to hear and don’t craft a personality that you think people want to see. Be your true self and excellence will come sooner.

Don’t give the answers you think people want to hear and don’t craft a personality that you think people want to see. Be your authentic self and excellence will come sooner.

Senior year, Alex ran for class President and lost, again. It was devastating but when he heard about the opportunity to run for President of the Nevada Association of Student Councils he spoke to his advisor and plunged into the race that took every ounce of strength and focus. He waited behind a stage with a room filled with 1,500 people and when his name was called as the successor of the state President, he was floored. In that moment, Alex believed in the power of persistence and to never give up. He knew if you have the conviction that you are called to serve, then don’t give up and chase it.

Believe in the power of persistence and don’t believe in giving up. If you have the conviction that you are called to serve, then don’t give up on that and chase it.

That year, Alex gained his first real exposure to Nevada politics. He testified at the legislature and represented anyone under 18 in his senate district. He lobbied for Senate Bill 14 in 2011 that made it through both houses and was signed into law by the Governor. The bill developed curricula for common core standards and allowed for resources for teacher implementation of standards in the classroom.

bybee 2Alex continued in politics through his college career at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is most widely known for his exemplary leadership as the former ASUN Vice President alongside President Jake Pereira. Alex ran on a platform to design and implement the Pack Internship Grant Program. He had a vision for students to gain professionally relevant internship experience that would open opportunities they would otherwise not be able to pursue. Alex chose to include the University of Nevada Career Studio in implementing the project. As a result, ASUN provided $30,000 in seed funding to pilot the program in 2015.

I ran for ASUN Vice President on a platform to design and implement the Pack Internship Grant Program. I had a vision for students to gain professionally relevant internship experience.

The launch of the program was a success with 21 students gaining internships in the first year. There were far more applicants than could receive internships, but the demand for the program led to its growth with now 40 students receiving internships in our local community. The program directly pays the students at $12/hour wage for 120 hours/semester. Start up companies, non profits or organizations that otherwise cannot afford interns are selected as internship sites to host students.

This program is evidence of excellence in Alex Bybee. He brought the vision to life through building relationships and collaborations on campus and throughout the community. Most recently, EDAWN announced the program ‘Workforce Catalyst of the Year‘ at the NCET Tech Awards. Although the program is now headed by the Career Studio, the credit and vision of the program goes to the Alex Bybee.

The credit and the vision of the Pack Internship Grant Program goes to Alex Bybee.

At just 21, Alex displays the qualities of an intrinsically motivated individual that grapples with finding the right balance of confidence and humility in his everyday life as a young, emerging leader in our community. It’s tough to keep up, but his best tip is maintaining a well-managed calendar. After all, he’s currently finishing his honors thesis, graduating this May and has already started working full time at the Abbi Agency as the Manager of Public Affairs for the Save Our Schools Washoe ballot initiative. This one blog post doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the things I know and you imagine Alex will do with his future.

Alex Bybee is a Manager of Public Affairs at Abbi Agency | The former ASUN Vice President | Vision behind the Pack Internship Grant Program | Follow Alex on Twitter | Connect with him on LinkedIn

Photos courtesy of Alex Bybee

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