Fall In Love Blog Series – Karlee Cemo

By Karlee Cemo
Metro EDGE Membership Committee Chair
Director of Marketing for Brooks Cutter
Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff LLP - Cutter Law

karleeheadshotI was born and raised in Sacramento. When I was eighteen years old and off to Southern California for college, I swore to my parents that I would never come back. At 22, and in my last semester at San Diego State University, all I wanted to do was come home. Three weeks after graduation I did just that.

When I moved back to Sacramento after college, I wanted to be here. I loved the city because it’s my hometown and where most of my family and friends lived. I loved my city, but at 22, I did not fully understand how deep that love ran.

After moving home, I started to explore more of what Sacramento had to offer. Slowly but surely I put myself out there; got involved with organizations like WEAVE, American Heart Association and American Cancer Society. I joined and became active with Metro EDGE, the Sacramento Metro Chamber and SACTO. Metro EDGE was a game changer. I loved meeting and being around like-minded peers, and learning what brought them here. I quickly discovered that our city had a wonderful abundance of young “movers and shakers” that were not only awesome to be around, but incredibly passionate about Sacramento! I wanted to be apart of that.

I believe that to be successful in life (beyond a dollar amount) you must love what you do, you must love and respect the ones around you, and you should love where you live.

If you are connected with me on any of my social media platforms, you have heard me say over and over again – “Everyday I fall in love with this city a little more.” Looking back at some of the great occurrences over the past few years, that statement couldn’t be more true.

Hands down one of the most emotional events we have experienced in this city in recent times was the fight to keep our beloved Kings. The saga was actually years in the making, but really took place from January 9th – May 15th, 2013.

On January 9, 2013 news broke that the Maloofs were selling the team to Seattle investors. Mayor Johnson spoke at an event I was attending and said he would work to keep the team. Even though he didn’t have the all details, I knew our city would not fail.

In late March 2013, I watched the city council meeting on TV the night they approved a deal to build an arena at the Downtown Plaza site. Mayor Johnson said, “Let’s do this Sacramento!” We wore purple and high-fived strangers as we shouted “Here We Stay”!

On May 15th, 2013, I’d be lying if I said I worked that day. I sat at my desk and hit the refresh button on twitter every 10 seconds until the news was announced. That was a moment, a day, a feeling I will never forget. I had never been more proud to be from Sacramento. I was so inspired by what the people of our city and the incredible group of “whales” from all over California had just accomplished. It wasn’t just a new era for our team, but an opportunity to finally uncap the immense potential our city has to offer and begin to demonstrate it to the world.

This year’s first ever EMERGE Summit also made me fall deeper in love with my city. In case you’ve been living under a rock, 2014 was proclaimed the #YearofYP in Sacramento - and boy was it ever. EMERGE was the state’s first ever summit put on for young professionals, by young professionals. Metro EDGE, with the support of the Metro Chamber, spearheaded the event and collaborated with nine other young professional groups in our region. The result was a spectacular demonstration of why Sacramento is the only place I want to live, work and play.

As a girl that grew up playing soccer, this past year I was also thrilled to see Sacramento making strides toward obtaining a Major League Soccer team.

What the Sacramento Republic FC did in their inaugural season is “so Sacramento(ish)”! They blew USL Pro attendance records out of the water, went from being non-existent in the conversation for Sacramento receiving an MLS expansion team, to arguably being the top contender for the prize … and, oh yeah … they won the championship! I fought back happy tears at the game that night as the final whistle blew and the crowds went CRAZY!

For me, Sacramento is more than just my hometown. I didn’t move back after college because I had to, I moved back because I wanted to, and I’ve stayed because I fell head over heels in love with my city and could not imagine myself living anywhere else.

So much has happened in these past few years, but what excites me the most is that Sacramento and the people of our city are just getting started ... the best has yet to come!