From Canada to California: An interview with Jenna Abbott

Kareem Abdalla Avatar

For this month’s Meet Your Metro, we are featuring Jenna Abbott, the Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, and diving into her journey to California and insights on business advocacy.

Jenna’s passion for Sacramento was ignited at age 13 when she visited from her Northern Canadian hometown. She fell in love with the city and dreamed of living here one day. At 28, Jenna took a leap of faith, leaving her job in Canada to pursue new opportunities in Sacramento. Within a week, she had secured a position at E*Trade—working to build their third-party stock administration department. Over the next two decades, Jenna ran membership organizations, her own business, PBIDs and, in May of 2022 joined the Metro Chamber.

Jenna is well known for being unapologetically for business.  When asked about how best to advance solid public policy,  Jenna emphasized the importance of relationships. She advised being aware of upcoming legislative agendas and bills to identify opportunities for input was key to fulfilling the Chamber’s mission. Access to decision-makers is critical and disagreements, when managed creatively, can lead to constructive compromise and a better final product.

Reflecting on her own transition from the Canadian to the American political system, Jenna stressed the importance of researching issues and understanding the platforms of local candidates. She emphasized the need to recruit and support business-friendly leaders and made that a priority both personally and professionally.

Jenna Abbott at a leadership meeting with Congressman Garamendi

Jenna explains that partnerships are essential for executing chamber initiatives. Goals are best accomplished by collaborating with like-minded organizations and maintaining effective connections with elected officials. While diverse perspectives may not always align, they contribute to inclusive and representative solutions.

When it comes to leading a team, Jenna aims to be a collaborative leader who encourages calculated risks. She lives by the motto “Dream big, do it scared!” and wants colleagues to feel empowered to share opinions and ideas.

As a seasoned leader, Jenna advises young professionals to seek out involvement opportunities, to offer help, and to speak up. She believes that fresh voices are assets for adaptation and sees successful chambers continuing to listen to trends and member needs to evolve programming and maintain relevance.

Jenna’s podium selfie from the 2023 Cap-to-Cap Gala

Jenna Abbott’s story showcases her passion for the Sacramento region. Her leadership and strategic initiatives through Sacramento Metro Chamber have helped strengthen advocacy efforts and business development in our city.

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