Sacramento Rising: The New Gold Rush
Alumni share insights on capital's business future
The venue was historic Old Sacramento, hub of the state’s first economic explosion, and the perfect setting to discuss the capital region’s exciting future.
Alumni and students convened at the Ten22 restaurant in Old Sac on Thursday for the Sacramento Business Professionals Lunch. The topic at hand: “Sacramento Rising: The New Gold Rush.”
Amidst an economic, cultural and social renaissance in the region, a panel of MBA graduates shared their professional insights from their roles in downtown property management, business and economic development, corporate government affairs and the city’s soccer franchise.
“Sacramento has become a location of choice for young people,” said Wendy Saunders MBA 87, who came to the School when it was a relatively new program. “Frankly, it wasn’t that way when I moved to Sacramento to go the GSM.” She is now executive director for the Capitol Area Development Authority.
Moderated by alumnus Tre Borden MBA 11, the panelists applauded new housing options being developed in midtown and downtown over the last decade and what that means for residents and the economy.
“I live in midtown and refuse to drive my car unless it’s an absolute necessity,” said Bianca Sievers MBA 16, a business development specialist for the governor’s office. She said the city’s plans for reducing cars will benefit restaurants, entertainment and creative public art displays. “The more cars we push through the city, the more we’re prohibiting that beautiful interaction amongst people.”
With the dynamic mix of old and young, Art Starkovich MBA 97, from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, pointed out how the region is maturing in interesting and diverse ways. It has some of the youngest cities in the state, including Citrus Heights and Elk Grove, while the City of Sacramento is nearly 170 years old.
“There are so many different groups working on identifying their place and seeing what their future is,” Starkovich said. “There are so many opportunities for our graduates to get involved on the community level for whichever community they’re in.”
Bianca Sievers listed several ways that business leaders can connect with municipal governments to support emerging technologies driving this cultural change, such as the SAC311 app for reporting simple fixes for public structures.
“It’s on the alumni community to wear your GSM hat when you’re out in the business world.”
“That underscores for business leaders the amount of proactivity you can use,” said moderator Borden, a Sacramento native and consultant who connects the creative sector with business and civic communities. “Waiting for the city, or the county or some other entity to lay the path before you may never happen.”
The School’s Director of Alumni Relations and Networking Strategy Kristy Peterson captured the spirit of the gathering to shape this discussion around Sacramento’s future.
“It’s on the alumni community to wear your GSM hat when you’re out in the business world. Wear it loudly and proudly and tap into each other when you have needs,” said Peterson. “That’s how we have a powerhouse in the Sacramento area.”