County Fair director, chamber chairwoman, and baby makes three
April Mitchell has quite a year ahead. She's not only director of marketing and public relations for the Alameda County Fair in a year when it's celebrating its 100th anniversary with all of the media and promotional activities she has to handle, two weeks ago she took the post as chairwoman of the 2012 Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce. Add to those responsibilities that fact that she and her husband Michael are expecting their third child in late March, and we can see this will be a memorable -- if not banner -- year for the Mitchells and all of us who rely on her for news about the Fair and the business community.
Her background includes various management positions at software and Internet related hi-tech companies in the Bay Area. She's a graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in International Business and an MBA earned later at the University of Phoenix. As Event Sales and Marketing Manager for the Fair, she is responsible for the year-round events, programs, marketing, sponsorship and public and media relations for the Fairgrounds. As this year's chair of the Pleasanton Chamber, she can add numerous early morning meetings and late night events to her schedule. She's also a member of the city of Pleasanton's Economic Vitality Committee and several professional marketing organizations, makes frequent presentations to various organizations, such as the International Association of Fairs and Expos, Western Fair Association and Bay Area Chambers of Commerce, and all this on top of her long commutes to Tracy, where she and Michael live with their two children, Kaden and Noelle.
As the 2012 Chamber chairwoman, Mitchell succeeds Tom Powers of California Financial Advisors, who celebrated her selection to the organization's top post at the annual "State of the Chamber" luncheon on Jan. 24. Powers actually had reason to celebrate his leadership role in 2011 as well, with the chamber now counting more than 800 members, making it one of the largest and most active chambers in the East Bay. With the help of Chamber President Scott Raty, Powers and his team worked with city representatives to approve new sites where more than 3,000 housing units can be built to accommodate so-called affordable workforce housing. The Chamber also was instrumental in persuading Safeway to build a new Lifestyle supermarket here, with Continuing Care to break ground on a new 650-unit retirement center on Staples Ranch, and in hosting a health care symposium at the Palm Event Center.
For Mitchell in 2012, the Alameda County Fair's anniversary could be the biggest celebration in Pleasanton. But there'll be much more. She told Chamber members that the Chamber will accelerate its work with the city of Pleasanton, Alameda County and other city, civic and county organizations to help businesses conserve energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, boost recycling and reduce what we send off to landfills. It is the chamber's goal to help the region achieve California's AB32 "green" goals through incentives and voluntary efforts vs. future heavy-handed government mandates. For example, she wants the Chamber to work with PG&E to reach out to businesses that have yet to take advantage of free energy audits, which can lower costs that will go straight to the bottom line.
In her dual role as a top executive at the Alameda County Fair, Mitchell also faces political challenges as the chair of the Pleasanton Chamber, which has become increasingly influential through its political action committee in funding and recommending candidates for election to municipal offices. With a new mayor and two new City Council members, as well as three members on the Pleasanton school board to be elected in municipal and school elections Nov. 6, Mitchell will have to tread the political waters carefully as a nonpartisan, which is a requirement of her County Fair position.
It's fair to point out that the Alameda County Agricultural Fair Association, which operates the Alameda County Fair, is a 501(c)3 private, nonprofit corporation, which means Mitchell works for a private organization, not Alameda County, as some in Pleasanton believe. Still, it's a name and identity that no doubt will keep Mitchell at arm's length during the upcoming General Election.