Special/Signature Issues » Top 40 Under 40

Alexsis Rodgers, 31

National organizing director, National Domestic Workers Alliance


If things had gone a little differently, Alexsis Rodgers would be Richmond’s mayor right now.

Most know the native Richmonder as the upstart campaigner who put a scare into a few established politicians in a tight 2020 city election, galvanizing the support of young people and progressives and raising an impressive amount of campaign dollars. “People call me a rabble rouser and anti-establishment,” she says. “But I also bring the experience of someone who actually knows the process and rules and I use that to make the [Democratic] party better.”

Rodgers, who is gay, says that her career has been focused on “building power for women of color.” At the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the policy and advocacy home for 2 million women domestic workers, she manages an organizing team that successfully advocated for Virginia’s first ever domestic workers bill of rights.

As a leader in the Democratic party, Rodgers served as policy director for then-Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and as the former president of the Virginia Young Democrats. A former communications director for Virginia Planned Parenthood, she says that she’s focused on making Virginia Democrats more reflective of the community. During her stint with Virginia Young Democrats, she was instrumental in changing the rules so that undocumented people and individuals identifying as trans could participate. “There were actually policies in place that prevented people from participating and getting involved. I mean, c’mon, we’re Democrats.”

She’s also always been a mentor to other young people, especially young women, whether it’s in nonprofit or government leadership. “People did that for me. They recognized something in me and pulled me aside and invested one-on-one time to help me in professional development.” She counsels college students, young professionals, and those starting work in government, “not always in partisan politics.” It’s an extension of the work she did while serving as communications director at Virginia 21, a college advocacy organization. “I think the best way I can use my volunteer time is in peer-to-peer support, making sure people feel that they have support from someone else who’s been navigating the same issues.”

For fun and relaxation, Rodgers says she loves to explore her home state. “I love to go to small towns around Virginia, like Bedford or on the Eastern Shore, and enjoy the beautiful nature. I love to kayak, either on the James or other rivers or lakes. And anyone who follows me on Instagram knows I love to eat, and there’s not really a restaurant in Richmond that I haven’t tried.” She declines to state her favorite eatery on the record. She’s a politician after all.

“I’ll just get myself in trouble,” she laughs.

Rodgers launched an unsuccessful bid earlier this year to claim now-Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan’s vacated Virginia Senate seat. As the chair of Virginia’s 4th Congressional District Democratic Committee, she managed the Democratic firehouse primary that helped to elect McClellan. There’s that eternal question: Does she plan on running for office again?

“I don’t know what my timeline will look like,” she says. “I’m going to keep serving and keep leading in the ways I feel are most effective to help other women serve as well.”