Derek Mitchell is the Founding Executive Director of the Lawrence Partnership, a Private/Public Partnership dedicated to improved economic development and quality of life in Lawrence, MA. Since joining the Partnership in the spring of 2015, Derek has worked closely with the Board of Directors to conceive and implement an inclusive economic development strategy that prioritizes local residents. Among the various initiatives that have come from the Partnership’s work are the Lawrence Venture Loan Fund, a $2.5 Million loan fund for Lawrence Business; the Training Consortium and PathBuilders Coalitions aimed at supporting a regional workforce pipeline; the Revolving Test Kitchen, a food-based incubator; and the WhyLawrence campaign to promote a new narrative for Lawrence. The Lawrence Leads Executive Leadership Program, developed and implemented in collaboration with the Alliance for Business Leadership and hosted at Harvard Business School represents the Partnership’s newest investment in Lawrence’s future.
Previous to his role at the Lawrence Partnership, Derek was the Director of the International Institute in Lowell, which supports newly arrived refugees and immigrants through a combination of housing, employment, and educational services. Prior, he served as Chief Innovation Officer at UTEC, a large youth organization aimed at transforming the lives of gang and criminally involved young people. Having served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nicaragua, Derek gained enough immersion to make friends and do business in Spanish, which are skills he uses regularly in his work in Lawrence. Derek is a strong believer in collaborative action, and leveraging market-based solutions to address social issues, core commitments that he has practiced throughout his career.
In addition to his work in Lawrence, Derek is an active member of Lowell community, where he lives with his wife and two daughters (Layla, a 3 ½ year old who has mastered the skills of self-advocacy; and Giovanna, who still counts her age in months).