A Perspective on Executive Insight 2014


By Michael Young, Metro EDGE Communications Committee Co-Chair and Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist at Regional Transit

On Tuesday Metro EDGE hosted the 4th annual Executive Insight panel, gathering 12 of the most successful business, civic and community leaders in our region to share the secrets to success with the next generation of leaders.

It was going to be a good night but I was having a bad day. The kind of day where projects grind to a halt and the morning workout includes my least favorite lift – overhead squats. I’d sworn off alcohol for a few weeks but wanted to drink before noon.

I was excited for the event despite my issues – excited to speak with Sacramento Kings President Chris Granger, Executive Chef and Owner of Mulvaney’s B&L Patrick Mulvaney, Owner/Principal of Uptown Studios Tina Reynolds and more.

Once at the Hyatt Regency, it was nice to meet a few more of my fellow EDGErs and converse with friends, but I was still on edge. Before long, cocktail hour came to a close (I had water) and the panelists were called to the head table for introductions. Each person shared a short elevator speech and I began to forget myself and the problems of the day.

The allure of Executive Insight was next, as each panelist moved to sit at a different table to interact with 10 EDGE members. My intrigue grew as Trish Rodriquez, Kaiser Permanente senior vice president and area manager, took her seat with us. It was great to hear her perspective on managing hospitals and making sure patients get the care they deserve. To be successful, Rodriquez advised learning what’s important to the people around you, being deeply knowledgeable about all facets of the business you’re in, and to take risks.

The next speaker in the rotation for our table was Chris Ganger, whose belief in the Sacramento region was obvious. He said he chose to leave his job with the NBA, which regularly brought him to major cities across the nation, to work for the Kings because of the opportunity to build something lasting. He saw a movement here to improve the city and said Sacramento is a place where people can and will make a difference. People like the young professionals in that room.

I was eating it up.

Rob Stewart, host of KVIE’s Rob on the Road, for me was the most inspiring. “You can’t have lessons without something to regret,” he said. Shed your bad habits and crutches, grow up, and put feet to your dreams by taking action. Be willing to go the unconventional route to merge your career with what actually makes you happy.

Was I having a bad day? Not anymore, I’d forgotten all about it.

CEO of Insera Therapeutics, Inc. Vikram Janardhan continued the theme and referenced a quote saying “An extraordinary life is waiting for you just outside your comfort zone.”

West Sacramento City Council Member and Vice Chancellor of Resource and Economic Development at Los Rios Community College District Beverly “Babs” Sandeen shared tips on becoming a local politician. She said city planning commissions were like farm teams for city councils, giving members experience in making decisions on the future of cities.

Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna was the last to sit at my table, advising leaders to get out of the office and experience what their customers or constituents go through on a daily basis.

Finally, the panelists were brought back to the front of the room to give final words of wisdom. Below are a few more quotes I jotted down:

“Ignore the people who tell you ‘no’,” said Patrick Mulvaney.

“Don’t forget the most vulnerable among us,” said Wm. Jamal Miller, deputy director of health equity, California Department of Public Health.

“Take control of your own life with drive, determination and dedication,” said Alice Perez, president and CEO of California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce.

“Watch what you say, you’ll be judged by it,” said John Hodgson, founder and president of the Hodgson Company.

“Always bring your A-game,” said Chris Granger.

And then it was over. After being a part of the energy, belief and ideas of the night, the issues of my day had evaporated. At least until the next morning. But now I was a little better equipped to bring my A-game.