Andrea Alexander Interview

A Spotlight on Andrea Alexander, Coterra Energy’s Chief Human Resources Officer 

At Coterra Energy, we believe companies are powered by their people. Human Resources is often the most valuable resource when it comes to assembling, equipping, and empowering a team. Read on to learn how Andrea Alexander, our Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer reached this revelation during her transition from management consulting to HR. 

Andrea found that while she worked to solve technical or operational challenges, the most sustainable path to success often included changing team members’ “mindsets and behaviors, …support them through change, and…empower them to generate new ideas.”  

In honor of Women’s History Month, we sat down with Andrea (who is part of the 7% of American corporate SVPs who are women of color), to hear how she has built a prolific career as a champion of people in business.  

Andrea’s story proves the importance of people-driven work—demonstrating that people can only truly power an operation when they’re properly charged themselves.

Her story proves the importance of people-driven work—demonstrating that people can only truly power an operation when they’re properly charged themselves.

Plugging In: Finding Coterra Energy

Andrea’s journey to a career supporting and empowering others began with young minds. After undergrad at the University of Pennsylvania, she fulfilled her childhood dream of teaching high-school math through Teach for America. While she loved her job, Andrea was eager to impact beyond her classroom.  

After leading a network of charter schools, she still felt there was more she could do. She sought to become a superintendent, enrolling at Harvard Business School (one of the nation’s top five MBA programs, with an 11% acceptance rate). 

New curiosity struck during her time in Cambridge when she discovered management consulting, in which she saw a new avenue for widespread change; upon graduation, she went to work with McKinsey.  

It was during her 12-year tenure there that she glimpsed the epiphany that changed everything: a shift in focus from operations to people.  

It became clear that the solution to operational challenges was not solely technical, but a critical element included empowering employees to develop solutions themselves. 

Andrea was still working in HR consulting when an opportunity to join Rent the Runway surfaced. She wasn’t planning to leave McKinsey, but felt compelled to accept the offer and became the Chief People Officer. 

Submerged in the cross-section of tech, fashion, and the start-up world for the first time, Andrea felt simultaneously hungry to learn and finally satiated in a people-centric role. However, when the weekly commute from Houston to Brooklyn began to take its toll, she knew one more big change was in order.

Fully Charged: Andrea at Coterra Energy

Back home in Houston, Andrea took a breakfast meeting with Coterra Energy CEO Tom Jorden and was instantly captivated by his focus on people. She admired his resistance to “one size fits all” policies and eagerness to hear diverse viewpoints before making business decisions. By the end of the meal, Andrea knew that she wanted Coterra Energy to be her new home.  

Today, Andrea reflects on her last 8 months at Coterra Energy, saying her initial intuition has only been confirmed. 

“I’m challenged every day and I’m working with people whom I respect and like, many of whom I’d call friends, which feels like a huge blessing,” she says. 

She notes that her most rewarding moment at Coterra Energy so far has been her experience supporting the design and delivery of Coterra’s first HR-led training, Feedback That Works.  

“I know the importance of feedback and how challenging it can be to give it correctly, so this training was pivotal,” Andrea says. 

What’s next for Andrea? The sky’s the limit, it seems. She’s eager to host more management training and explore new ways to impact the Coterra Energy community—which as luck would have it, now includes her home city of Houston.

Shining Light: Andrea’s Advice to Women

Andrea is no stranger to “being an only in a room,” having grown up often the only Black person (or one of two) in her classes at school. To this day, she notices when she’s the only woman and/or person of color in a room, but has taken to heart her parents’ advice that “different” is a strength to celebrate. 

“My parents would always remind me to look on the bright side; people would remember me because I was a little different. They also taught me to be proud of my differences and think of them as a benefit, not a hindrance. I still carry this mindset today.”  

Being the “only” often motivates Andrea to speak up and create opportunities for others.  

Andrea explains, “This challenge is not unique to our industry, it’s a reality in most. I want everyone to feel like themselves, enjoy what they do, and feel comfortable. I am hyper-aware that I am often the ‘only’ in many situations and I want to help foster environments where everyone feels comfortable.” 

Andrea urges women who are interested in working at Coterra Energy to apply to open roles, even if that role isn’t exactly what they’re looking for. This gives the Coterra team an opportunity to learn more about them and consider other jobs that could be a better fit.  She advises them to learn about the company and start forming relationships, saying, “Relationship building is an investment in your future” and that a great way to build those relationships is by attending industry events where Coterra’s leaders are speaking or meeting people for coffee. 

Staying Charged: Andrea Outside the Office

Outside of work, Andrea’s lifelong favorite pastime is dance. She recalls a childhood filled with countless hours in the dance studio after school with her best friends, and still takes “drop-in” dance classes as an adult. She jokes that she dreams of becoming a Dance Mom, but is okay with her increasingly likely fate as a Softball Mom.

Like a dancer striving to perfect a routine, Andrea is disciplined and passionate in her pursuit of empowering others and creating a work environment that’s comfortable for everyone. And, true to her career path, she’s quick to adapt to and support her kids’ dreams—even if they are a bit more diamond-shaped.


McKinsey. Women in the Workplace 2023.
Forbes. #4 Harvard Business School.