Open Waters

Alexis Underwood is diving into the competitive world of professional swimming, and also exercising her goal-driven determination as a sales team leader at Georgia-Pacific.

May 19, 2015

When Alexis Underwood finished her collegiate swimming career at the University of Pennsylvania, she thought her racing days were over. She hung up her goggles and relocated to Atlanta to join Georgia-Pacific. Alexis quickly navigated from roles in analytics to innovation and then on to sales. Along the way, a GP leader asked her if she would be willing to swim on his team in the Augusta Half Ironman Relay.

She was the first female to complete the swim portion of the race, and was instantly inspired by the challenges and freedom of competing in open water. With continued encouragement from her supervisor, Alexis prepared to race as an amateur in the U.S. Masters Swimming Open Water National Championship Series. Through hard work and training to adapt her skills from short-distance sprinting to more methodical long-distance races, Alexis achieved All-American status over three consecutive years, and she won four national championship titles within her age group, racing at various distances.

Alexis has applied the same goal-oriented mentality and determination to her role as a sales leader at Georgia-Pacific. “I like working and accomplishing really tough things,” she said with pride. “I’m ok if those goals are a long time away as long as I’m able to look back and see how far I’ve come. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have mentors at Georgia-Pacific who have advised me on what kind of experiences and skills I need to develop to get where I want to go. One of my favorite things about working at a Koch company is there’s not a rigid and structured career path.”

Outside of the office, Alexis is diving headfirst into professional swimming. She recently represented Canada, the country of her birth, at the FINA Grand Prix in Cozumel, Mexico. After finishing the race, which covered more than nine miles through the Caribbean Sea, Alexis is already hoping to compete in two more international events and a couple of U.S. championships this year. Considering that she is balancing all of this with her leadership role at Georgia-Pacific, the possibilities on the horizon are endless.

You can follow Alexis in her journey at