How do we raise the bar?

August 2013

By Emilie Cameron
Vice Chair, Metro EDGE
Sr. Public Relations Manager, 3fold Communications

As Vice Chair of Metro EDGE I’m often asked why I devote so much time to a volunteer program.  Simply put – access. Access to other motivated professionals, access to regional business and civic leadership, and most importantly, access to inspiration.

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and forget about the big picture. But we can’t. To truly affect change and become a destination where not only I but also hundreds of thousands of other young professionals choose to make their lives, we need to be inspired to create a better city, county and state. How do we do that? Learn what’s been done before, then blow it up!

Metro EDGE’s annual Executive Insight brought together eleven of the region’s top business, philanthropic, civic and cultural leaders to share how they got to where they are today, what it takes to be successful, what missteps to avoid along the way, and what it means to be a great leader.  Whew, a mouthful!

This event really does set the bar for professional and leadership development.  From the classy location to the unlimited personal access and networking err… make that fun, fancy and insightful conversations!  It’s been nearly a week and I’m still on cloud nine, devising my personal strategy take over the world. That’s right, in case you haven’t heard I have big plans!

What did I learn that has me so inspired? Luckily for you, I took notes!  Below are just a few of my favorite insights from the night:

“Fear keeps you from success. Identify your nightmare and your dream, the nightmare will always be nothing compared to your dream.” – Chris Johnson, The Johnson Group

“Want to be successful? Find your true north, listen to who you are, and always be authentic. There are no shortcuts.” – Elisabeth Brinton, SMUD

“A good idea is always a good place to start.” – Chuck Cunningham, Cunningham Engineering.

“Roll up your sleeves and help your community.  It will always come back to  you.” – Stan Van Vleck, Downey Brand & Van Vleck Ranch

“Don’t network, be interesting – and always have a sense of humor!” – Beth Hassett, W.E.A.V.E.

“It’s not about what you do, it’s about what feeds your soul. Blow everything up. Get involved. Be engaged.” – Warren Smith, President & Managing Member of Sacramento Republic F.C.

“If you roll up your sleeves and work hard you’ll get it done. But remember, work is not all that your are – it’s about balance.” – Cassandra Walker Pye, APCO Worldwide

“Don’t be everything to everyone. Instead, find your passion and take the next step to grow the region.” – Dale Carlsen, Sleep Train

“Do something different, be it volunteer or another perspective. It will always lead to better things.” – Kate Renwick Espinosa, VSP Global

“Find what you’re good at and you will reach your potential.” – Adam Pechal, Tuli Bistro Group

“Burn down the status quo. Disrupt the norm and things that could’ve never been envisioned will happen.” – Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, City of West Sacramento

So what did I take away from all of this? I will NEVER be okay with the status quo. I will ALWAYS be passionate. I will NEVER let fear stop me from trying. And, I will ALWAYS dream!

Now, who’s ready to join me and kick start the movement to make the Sacramento region THE destination for young professionals to live, work and play?!  Email me at and let’s get the conversation started!