Alexandra Barba ’09 to deliver convocation at Carleton

Barba will deliver Carleton’s convocation address, “How a liberal arts generalist becomes a chief of staff in a global emergency,” on Friday, Oct. 7 from 10:50 to 11:50 a.m. in Skinner Chapel.

Luna Schindler-Payne '26 5 October 2022 Posted In:
Alexandra Barba '09 headshot
Alexandra Barba ’09

Alexandra Barba ’09, director of strategy and chief of staff for the Division of Disease Control and Public Health Response at the Colorado State Department of Public Health and Environment, will deliver Carleton’s convocation address on Friday, Oct. 7 from 10:50 to 11:50 a.m. in Skinner Chapel, titled “How a liberal arts generalist becomes a chief of staff in a global emergency.”

Barba served as chief of staff to the COVID-19 incident commander and as senior advisor to the executive director of the Department of Public Health during the height of the COVID-19 emergency. Her division is responsible for ensuring prevention, mitigation and response to public health emergencies, such as disease outbreaks like COVID-19, fires, floods and other natural disasters. In her capacity as director of strategy, she directly oversees three teams: project management and performance, communications, and technology and product. As chief of staff, she also coordinates all cross-departmental work and carries out delegations from the division director, including liaising with the governor’s office.

In her role, Barba has built out a comprehensive approach to government responses to emergencies, with a particular focus on coordination amongst state agencies and vulnerable populations, and filled strategic gaps to ensure that COVID-19 work was coordinated and had a strategic framework and performance metrics.

Prior to coming to CDPHE, Barba worked for former Congressman Mark Udall, the 2008 Obama campaign, Skadden Arps in the D.C. energy practice, former Vice President Al Gore’s nonprofit Climate Reality, and the climate resilience strategy team for the state of Rhode Island. She has also worked as a script editor in Los Angeles and a book-to-film scout in New York. 

Barba received her B.A. in political science from Carleton College in 2009 and her Master’s in public affairs and policy from Brown University in 2018. When she isn’t working, she sings in a rock band and a choir, plays soccer, edits YA novels and spends a lot of time with her family.

Carleton will also hold a special luncheon after Barba’s convocation in the Great Hall at 12:00 p.m. The luncheon will feature guest artist and Honduran drummer Jonathan Alarcón, accompanied by St. Paul guitarist Dean Magraw. To attend, contact Noel Ponder with an RSVP.

Carleton convocations are free and open to the public. Find upcoming events and archived recordings on the convocations website. For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-5461.