Emerge Summit 2023: Leading with Legacy - A Transformative Experience

My reflections as a first-time attendee and breakout session speaker

A group of Sac MBA students outside a restaurant in midtown Sacramento
Photo courtesy of: Julian Christopher of Snapped Sacramento

Pictured: Alex Svensson, Shivanand, Franz Chan, Leticia Garay, Esther Muriithi, Jocelyn Guzman, Alice Vega, Angelina Cayabyab, Marissa Hernandez. Jocelyn Guzman (front left) was a part of a trio of Sacramento Part-Time MBA students who led a breakout session on the unique challenges women of color face in their career paths

Success is not measured by the heights you reach, but by the legacy you leave behind.

My experience at Sacramento Metro EDGE’s 2023 Emerge Summit—a remarkable annual gathering for young professionals from across the capital region—left me inspired, enlightened, and eager to embrace the future. My feelings reflected the summit’s theme, “Leading with Legacy,” that marked the event’s 10th anniversary.

As a first-time Emerge attendee and a panelist, I had the privilege of providing valuable insights and contributing to meaningful discussions alongside my UC Davis MBA cohort members, Leticia Garay and Esther Muriithi. In our session, we delved into the unique challenges that women of color encounter in their careers.

Diving into the Experience

Metro EDGE, a part of the Sacramento Metro Chamber Foundation, offered an immersive journey into the world of young professionals. From the moment I walked into the venue, the Sofia Theatre, I could feel the energy and enthusiasm of Emerge in the air. The event was a melting pot of diverse perspectives, a true testament to the commitment of regional organizations to support the growth of young professionals in the community.

The day was packed with engaging activities, including themed keynotes, breakout sessions and plenty of networking opportunities. The speakers were nothing short of impressive, sharing their stories of leadership, resilience and innovation. It was clear that the Emerge Summit was designed to inspire and motivate us to reach our fullest potential.

Empowering Through Conversation: Navigating Challenges for Women of Color

Esther Muriithi, Jocelyn Guzman, Leticia Garay sitting on a stage as part of a panel
Photo courtesy of: Julian Christopher of Snapped Sacramento

Sacramento Part-Time MBA students Esther Muriithi (left), Jocelyn Guzman (center), and Leticia Garay (right) leading a discussion on 'Challenges for Women of Color' at Metro EDGE's Emerge Summit.

I also challenged myself to a situation I wouldn't typically seek out. I was a panelist in a breakout session with 20-plus attendees. It's a personal achievement that I'm immensely proud of because truth be told, I've always shied away from public speaking. But with the support of my colleagues and fellow panelists, I embraced the opportunity. Kudos to UC Davis Graduate School of Management Lecturer From Volunteer to Visionary: Leading with Legacy at Metro EDGE’s Emerge Summit for providing me with the tools needed for public speaking in our core course on Articulation and Critical Thinking.

Our session, 'WOC for WOC: Working on Challenges for Women of Color,' at the Emerge Summit, was well received, and I'm thrilled that it resonated with our audience. Alongside my brilliant MBA colleagues, Leticia Garay and Esther Muriithi, we took a deep dive into the challenges discussing everything from imposter syndrome to systemic barriers.

To tackle these complex issues, we leaned into our own vulnerabilities and personal journeys, sharing authentically on the topic. We dissected these obstacles, making them tangible and relatable.

Our goal was to identify these challenges and to provide actionable solutions. We talked about setting goals, the importance of self-reflection, seeking mentorship and fostering a culture of inclusion. We aimed to equip our attendees with practical tools to navigate both internal and external challenges. Furthermore, we shared valuable insights for allies, stressing the pivotal role of advocacy and allyship in creating a truly equitable workplace.

Our breakout session created a safe and empowering space for dialogue—a space where we could openly address the hurdles women of color face. The positive feedback we received affirmed the importance of these discussions and served as an empowering testament to their impact.

Key Takeaways and Inspiration

As I reflect on my enriching experience at the 2023 Emerge Summit, I am reminded of why I chose to pursue my MBA at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management (GSM). This event served as a profound validation of my decision, aligning perfectly with the values and principles I've come to cherish during my academic journey.

The summit illuminated the power of collaboration, knowledge-sharing and mentorship. It was an environment where professionals from diverse backgrounds came together to exchange ideas and experiences, fostering an atmosphere of growth and development. This spirit of collaboration and shared wisdom echoes the ethos of UC Davis GSM, where I've had the privilege of learning alongside a dynamic and supportive cohort.

More importantly, the Emerge Summit left me with a renewed sense of purpose and determination. The theme of "Leading with Legacy" resonated deeply with me, as it reinforced the idea that success is not just about personal achievement but also about leaving a lasting impact.

For prospective MBA students, I encourage you to seize opportunities like the Emerge Summit. They are not mere conferences; they are transformative experiences that can shape your future and inspire you to lead with purpose.

As you embark on your MBA journey, remember the lessons learned here: the immense value of diversity, the strength that comes from unity and the boundless potential of your legacy.

Stay inspired, stay driven and always keep emerging.