Make Your Mark: Sacramento’s Young Leaders at Emerge Summit
Supporting Metro EDGE's signature professional development event

More than 600 Sacramento area young professionals converged at Metro EDGE’s 2019 Emerge Summit, an all day event that featured inspirational speakers, breakout sessions at venues across downtown and a power networking after-party. The Graduate School of Management supported the event as the presenting sponsor.

As a twentysomething new member of Metro EDGE, I came away energized by the presentations and seeing so many talented and innovative EDGErs invest time to come together to share ideas and build relationships. There’s a collective passion and drive for positive social change in California’s capital. 

Make Your Mark: Sacramento’s Young Leaders at Emerge Summit

Sacramento native, best-selling author and TEDx speaker Isaac Serwanga kicked off Emerge at the Crest Theater on K Street. The founder of Inform and Inspire encouraged us to take action.

“Sacramento is essentially a hotbed for young creatives to get together,” Serwanga said.

“Events like these are first and foremost a place to get together, to bounce ideas off one another, and ultimately a place to form connections as people depend on one another as they go in their different directions,” he said. ”We talk a lot about the work aspect, but you have to talk about the relationship aspect as well, and what that means for people.”

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Metro EDGE is the capital region’s 40-and-under young professional program of the Sacramento Metro Chamber Foundation. These movers and shakers (better known as “EDGErs”) come from a myriad of business, public and nonprofit sectors with diverse backgrounds and education levels.

Crest TheaterOur MBA admissions team at Metro Edge Emerge SummitThe BankEmerge attendeesIsaac SerwangaAndrea at EDGE 916


Two of our UC Davis MBA alumni, Bianca Sievers and Siah Gaye, teamed up to present on effective career transitions and work-life balance, sharing their experiences and tips. 

Bianca Sievers

“I see this as an opportunity to share about things I care a lot about, but also as a chance to learn from others,” Sievers said of Emerge. “It’s nice to see Metro EDGE pulling together thought leaders, whether in business, academia or government…That trifecta, and bringing young people together, spurs inspiration and innovation.”

“Sacramento is an incredible place for young professionals right now,” —Isaac Serwanga, Founder of Inform and Inspire

As a policy adviser for the director of the California Department of Water Resources, Sievers manages complex department initiatives, such as strategic planning and reporting, internal and external communications and outreach, and climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Gaye, who has worked for Frito-Lay, Amazon and Tesla, also finds himself making complex decisions with multi-layered implications. He shared advice for positive work-life balance while working under pressure at companies in highly competitive markets.

Gaye recently transitioned again himself, moving from Amazon to become a senior operations manager at HD Supply, one of the largest industrial distributors in North America.

“For me, being in operations, leadership is vitally important,” Gaye shared. “You’re leading people from various backgrounds and how you learn to lead them is key.”

PROFESSOR ELSBACH: How to sell your ideas

Before their session, Gaye and Sievers attended the presentation by Graduate School of Management Professor Kimberly Elsbach. She shared her research on how to effectively pitch new ideas. She shared proven tactics to improve the chances of ideas being accepted based on the personality traits of leaders/decision-makers.

Kim Elsbach at Metro Edge Summit

“When you attend a session like this, you get that ah-ha moment,” Gaye said. ”‘That’s why this leader reacts a certain way.’ You figure out why they are the way they are, and that’s really eye-opening.”

The session included hands-on activities based on Elsbach’s research at companies. 

“I loved the energy of the attendees, and I found the audience to be engaged and willing to jump in and try some new things—that’s exactly what I was hoping for,” she said. “That’s what this summit is about—engaging. And it’s nice for academics to find ways to engage with the business community and teach a practical skill.”


The Bank mixer

Marking Metro EDGE’s decade of success, Emerge culminated with EDGE 916, a networking after-party at The Bank, the iconic financial and architectural landmark turned upscale restaurant and bar. Hundreds of attendees gathered to unwind and meet other young professionals. As sponsor, we also had the opportunity to hand out GSM-branded pint glasses as souvenirs.

Keynote speaker Serwanga said the intangible rewards of the conference include more than lessons learned, and he hopes to see young professionals calling on their newfound relationships in the near future.

“The greatest takeaway for any young professional coming to an event like Metro EDGE’s Emerge Summit is the relationships you can build,” Serwanga said.

“There are people ready, willing and able to support, connect and learn. That’s what it’s all about. The speakers are incredible. The information is incredible. But at the end of the day, if you meet two, three or four people that you vibe with, that have great energy, and you can learn from, then you’ve won your day.”