UKG Workforce Institute Welcomes City of Memphis CHRO Alex Smith to Its Advisory Board

LOWELL, Mass. & WESTON, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Workforce Institute at UKG, a think tank known for its global research and actionable insights on what’s impacting HR, organizations, and their people, is privileged to welcome Alex Smith, chief human resources officer (CHRO) for the City of Memphis, Tennessee. Named an HRO Today magazine CHRO of the Year in 2020, Smith has been highly praised for positioning the City of Memphis as a 21st-century model for city governments. She joins the Institute’s advisory board of experts, representing the public sector as a proponent of servant leadership and an advocate for working mothers.

Since 2007, The Workforce Institute at UKG has helped organizations drive performance by addressing workplace challenges while serving as an important voice for frontline, hourly, and salaried employees across industries. Its 20-person advisory board comprises global practitioners, consultants, and thought leaders with decades of experience in HR and workforce management. In her role at The Workforce Institute, Smith will provide firsthand perspectives from the CHRO of a city with more than one million residents.

[Read Smith’s first article in a two-part series for The Workforce Institute at UKG, “Servant Leadership Lessons and Growth: Observations from a CHRO.”]

Smith joined the City of Memphis as CHRO in 2016 and soon began positively impacting city employees and residents. In 2017, the city became a pioneer for offering a private health insurance exchange for its retirees and being the first municipality to provide employees a program for student loan contributions. In 2018, Smith was instrumental in moving the City of Memphis from paper-based processes to cloud HR technology, garnering national recognition for its administrative time savings and recruiting enhancements.

Focused on making a difference in the community as part of and beyond her role at work, Smith serves on the advisory council for 3Sixty Insights and the advisory board for Government Executive Media Group’s Route Fifty, which connects people and ideas focused on advancing state, county, and municipal governments across the U.S. She also serves on the board of directors for First 8 Memphis, a nonprofit committed to universal pre-K education in Memphis, and the Soulsville Foundation, which prepares youth and aspiring artists for life success.

Prior to becoming CHRO for the City of Memphis, Smith built a career as a strategic HR partner for key business leaders, serving in HR management roles for Brightstar Corporation and such industry leaders as Target and Microsoft. She has been a featured participant in Netflix’s “Real Talk: A Conversation with Black Leaders in HR,” as well as a panelist at the HOPE Global Forum, the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Ideas event, the National League of Cities’ conference, and the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas. Smith also has been covered by American City and County magazine, CNBC, Forbes, and Governing Magazine for modernizing government through culture change, technology, and innovative programs.

“We are thrilled to welcome Alex Smith to our advisory board at The Workforce Institute, as she brings deep expertise and transformative experience in public service,” said Dr. Jarik Conrad, executive director of The Workforce Institute at UKG. “Not only will fellow leaders and our readers benefit from the insights Alex has amassed from running HR for a major city, but they’ll also gain from her passion for servant leadership and her firsthand knowledge of building a formidable career while raising children. We have a productive, collaborative future together and we already have some great projects in the works.”

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About The Workforce Institute at UKG

The Workforce Institute at UKG provides research and education on critical workplace issues facing organizations around the world. By bringing together a global consortium of HR and workforce management thought leaders, the think tank is uniquely positioned to empower organizations with practical ideas for optimizing the 21st-century workplace while also providing an important voice for employees, including frontline and hourly workers. Founded in 2007, The Workforce Institute focuses its research and education — including books, podcasts, surveys, blogs, and its annual list of workplace predictions — on balancing the needs and desires of diverse employee populations with the interests of organizations in order to manage absenteeism, fight burnout, develop equitable work schedules, and build strong leaders, all to drive inspired performance. For additional information, visit

About UKG

At UKG, our purpose is people. As strong believers in the power of culture and belonging as the secret to success, we champion great workplaces and build lifelong partnerships with our customers to show what’s possible when businesses invest in their people. Born from a historic merger that created one of the world’s leading HCM cloud companies, our Life-work Technology approach to HR, payroll, and workforce management solutions for all people helps more than 75,000 organizations around the globe and across every industry anticipate and adapt to their employees’ needs beyond just work. To learn more, visit

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