Skin in the Game

Erica Taylor is the 2012 Metro EDGE Communications Committee Vice Chair. She was recently given the opportunity to contribute to the Sacrmanento Metro Chamber's Spring 2012 Metro Buisness Quarterly publication, writing about how Metro EDGE is working to ensure a positive future for the region and the region's young professionals. Read the full article below.

Skin in the Game :: Metro EDGE members work to ensure young professionals have a stake in the Sacramento region's ruture ... and vice versa


When Ryan Porter visited New Orleans during the Metro Chamber’s annual Study Mission in October 2011, he was blown away to learn one particular fact: 62 percent of college graduates pick a place to live before they have a job.

“I knew that research was out there, but 62 percent is really eye-opening,” said Porter, current vice chair of Metro EDGE, the Metro Chamber’s young professional program.

That number, presented by Downtown Development District of New Orleans CEO Kurt Weigle, was part of a body of research that found most young professionals across the nation pick a city based on things they value before finding a job.

“Earning a good living is important, naturally, but the best and brightest are looking for more than just a paycheck,” said 2012 Metro EDGE Chair Sean O’Brien. “Young professionals are looking for a place to live the best life they can—they want to make it count.”

What do young professionals base their locale choices on? In New Orleans the research pointed out things like diverse and unique neighborhoods, convenient housing and public transportation, and a clean environment. A vibrant arts community, access to entertainment and outdoor recreation also top the list.

“We want Sacramento to be a place where young professionals are excited to live. We want to keep our homegrown talent and attract the best from across the country. We want those who will help lead this region toward a prosperous future. That under-40 talent pool is the future of this city,” said O’Brien.

Ensuring Sacramento’s future is at the heart of Metro EDGE’s mission. The goal: to Engage, Develop, Give and Empower the 40-and-under young leaders of the Sacramento region.

Founded in 2009, membership has grown to more than 450 strong. Members come from a myriad of business sectors, ethnic groups and education levels. They have access to various professional enrichment opportunities that are offered throughout the year. EDGE-ucational Forums, networking events and philanthropic projects are among the many Metro EDGE offerings that bring young professionals together.

More than purely social, Metro EDGE provides future leaders a chance to contribute today. Since inception, Metro EDGE has logged more than 1,200 hours of community service and raised more than $8,000 in cash and in-kind services for charitable causes in 2011.

“Our members are incredibly engaged. We want to help, and we want to be a part of positive change,” said O’Brien.

The group encourages members to get involved. From city council meetings to Metro Chamber events to the Next Economy Regional Forums, our members are everywhere.

“Metro EDGE represents the voice of young professionals in the region,” said O’Brien. “We’re not going to be heard, or contribute to any kind of solution, by sitting on the sidelines.”

Not only civically active, Metro EDGE is leading the charge in taking pride in our hometown.

“New Orleans has a very unique brand. It has a culture all its own. It has swagger,” said Porter. “Sacramento desperately needs to embrace its own identity, and Metro EDGE is working toward that end.”

Porter went on by saying, “We have some of the best weather and freshest food in the nation, we’re the state capital, and we have an amazing community and family atmosphere. We all need to take some pride in how great this region is. We all need to believe it and live it every day. Metro EDGE members are doing it, and we want everyone to.”

Metro EDGE is encouraging a larger contingency of its members to join the 2012 Metro Chamber Study Mission to Denver this fall. Part of that program will be devoted to studying the Downtown Denver Partnership’s strategy to attract and retain young professionals. That strategy includes creating a vibrant center city for the surrounding region by building up downtown physically, culturally and socially.

“Young professionals in Sacramento have chosen to live here. We all have a stake in this community and we want it to thrive,” said O’Brien. “It is truly a great time to be a young professional. And it’s an even better time to be in the Sacramento region.