The coronavirus pandemic left countless people around the world without employment, but for DU alumnus and former Pioneer tennis luminary Alex Gasson, it introduced an uncannily solid job title.
After all, he’s one of more than 2,500 employees working worldwide for California-based Zoom, the video-conferencing company made famous by online classes and officing from home. A former Pioneers tennis player, Gasson drew on the time he spent on DU courts and in DU classrooms to transition seamlessly to the Netherlands and a highly coveted position with an innovative technology firm.
Hailing from a small town outside London, Gasson came to DU with tennis in mind. At just 16, a full two years before setting foot on campus, he signed a letter of intent to play for Denver. During his four years trekking between the Ritchie Center for Sports & Wellness and the Daniels College of Business, he captained the varsity tennis team and majored in finance and business administration.
He also served on the NCAA’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee in the Mile High City, a leadership position that partly prepared him for his current role as a senior business development representative at Zoom. In fact, Gasson attributes his business savvy to his time as a competitive athlete.
“As many former athletes will attest, we are very well-suited to sales-based roles,” Gasson says. “The grit and determination we have gained over years of devoting our lives to a sport translates perfectly into the resiliency you need to be a successful salesperson.”
Although he tried his hand at professional tennis after leaving DU, Gasson soon decided to “[hang] up the rackets.” After a brief sojourn at a New Jersey technology start-up and spending “a large amount of time, energy and money on immigration lawyers trying to stay in the U.S.,” Gasson made the “heartbreaking decision” to bid a somber farewell to the States in 2019.
Sad as he was to leave the U.S., he soon received a cheering job offer and, in January 2020, accepted a position at Zoom’s Europe, Middle East and Africa headquarters in Amsterdam.
Life in the Netherlands—which he describes as “terribly exciting”—offered plenty of diversions and opportunities, but a mere two months after joining Zoom, just as he was making progress learning Dutch and familiarizing himself with Amsterdam’s iconic canals, the coronavirus changed everything. Alongside the rest of the world, Gasson learned to live with the pandemic and work remotely.
He learned, in other words, just how vital it is to connect with others. Instead of simply using Zoom for his own work, he’s helping others enlist the technology to access jobs, loved ones, doctor’s appointments and virtual livelihoods.
“Working at Zoom during the pandemic has been nothing short of life-changing,” Gasson says. “It has been fascinating speaking with every industry you can think of and with every different size of organization. … I haven’t taken a second of it for granted.”
Gasson attributes much of his current job success and happiness to DU. His business studies gave him the foundation he needs to understand the marketplace, while having the opportunity to work with a dedicated and close-knit varsity team shaped his ability to lead, collaborate and model kindness.
“I hold the coaches, professors and staff at DU in such a high regard and will always be grateful for the education I received at Denver,” Gasson says.
Going forward, Gasson hopes to harness his skills on behalf of causes that engage his passions: climate change, social justice, humanitarian issues. In the meantime, he’s looking to pursue an MBA in Amsterdam while “keep[ing] the world connected” at Zoom.
“I feel extremely fortunate,” he says, surveying his years at DU and his journey to his pandemic-perfect job. “Not a day goes by where I’m not grateful for the position I have found myself in.”