30 Under 30: Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce CEO Alex Mitchell is inspiring business in the city

Mitchell is overseeing the Chamber, which has five employees and 650 member organizations.

Alex Mitchell, 29

CEO, Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce

Life Story: Alex Mitchell wouldn’t be who she is without Abbotsford. In a couple of years—if they aren’t already—people will say that Abbotsford wouldn’t be what it is without Alex Mitchell.

Mitchell’s family is from Alberta but moved to Abbotsford when she was a year old. “I often tell people I didn’t appreciate in high school how incredible this community is, but it truly was the perfect place for someone young and ambitious who wanted to change the world,” she says.

In Grade 7, Mitchell saw that there was no recycling program in the city’s schools, so she set out to change that. She met with Abbotsford councillor Patricia Ross, who has been on the city’s council since 1994. Ross encouraged Mitchell to do something about it, so she pulled together a presentation around how the school district could save money through a program. The board implemented the program.

“It didn’t matter how old I was or where I came from, it just mattered that I had a good idea and was willing to take the time to present it,” says Mitchell. “If it had been anywhere else, I don’t know that I would have had that opportunity to have them hear me out.”

At 15, Mitchell got an internship at city hall and spent the summer understanding all the departments. Eventually, she would get a bachelor’s in political science from UBC and a master’s in business administration from SFU. Unsurprisingly, she worked in a couple different roles (including as the public affairs and innovation officer) for the City of Abbotsford before going private with Hill + Knowlton Strategies. But she couldn’t stay away from the city for long—this May she was appointed CEO of the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce.

Bottom Line: The Chamber has five employees with a membership of some 650 organizations. “We have a small but mighty team that delivers a lot of impact,” she says. “We’re in a growth period and seeing that bounce back post-COVID. People are missing social connection.”