Alum Alexis Loving, SEARCH CEO/President, Named to HBJ’s 40 Under 40
By Ashley Kilday
Alexis Loving (MBA ’18), President and CEO of SEARCH Homeless Services, was recently named to the Houston Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, an acknowledgment of her outstanding leadership and contributions to the community.
Alexis Loving knows SEARCH from the ground up. After starting her career as a case manager there, she rose through the ranks to her current position as President and CEO. She was there when Houston adopted a coordinated access system under the Way Home program in 2011 and has been working on the transition ever since. She ultimately led the transformation of Houston's homelessness-reduction strategy to its current state. The results? “We’ve decreased homelessness in Houston by 61% since 2011,” she said. “It’s something we’re really proud of.”
The initiative was not without obstacles. “Pulling everyone together under the Way Home initiative was very challenging, and we’re still not perfect,” Loving acknowledged. “But people come from all over the country to learn from us, and most of them are in the early stages of this kind of work. When we see that, it’s a good reminder of how far we’ve come.”
The UHD Factor
Loving believes her UHD education was instrumental in driving the organization’s impactful work. “I wanted to get my MBA so that I would be seen as someone who was credible, competent, and who could run a nonprofit really well,” she said. “Not just to touch the hearts and minds of people, but to help our agency command the respect it deserves for the work it does for our community.”
She initially chose UHD in part due to the convenient evening classes, which allowed her to continue her work while furthering her education. Her courses proved valuable in helping her refine SEARCH’s strategies. “The work we do at SEARCH is based on our understanding of people, how they change and what science says about how they change. What works today may not work the next day, what works with one person may not work with the next,” she said. “Through my MBA, I learned how to better use data to create a flexible approach that fits this constantly changing environment.” (Photos show Loving with fellow MBA Class of ’18 Gators.)
‘Hard Work and Heart Work’
Loving noted one of the vital areas of focus for SEARCH is making sure that the homeless experience is rare, brief, and nonrecurring. “Through outreach, housing navigation, and supportive housing programs, the team at SEARCH is able to support individuals’ transition from the street to stable homes of their own,” Loving said.
Like many Gators before her, Loving is a leader who sets a powerful example for the next generation of changemakers in the field of human services. For UHD students planning on pursuing public service as a profession, she offered wisdom from her own experience, “In nonprofit services, things are always changing, and we’re always learning. Evolving with our clients and the community’s needs is the most important piece.” She summed up with a final, compelling observation: “It’s hard work, and it’s heart work.”
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.