Words of Wisdom: Executive Insight Edition

By Matt Notley, EDGE Communications Committee & Perry Communications Group, Inc.

With sweeping views of downtown Sacramento in the background provided by the upper terrace of the iconic Citizen

Hotel, our region’s brightest young professionals gathered on Thursday evening for Metro EDGE’s Executive Insight. A panel of the some of the most successful and well known founders, CEOs and top executives of the region’s top companies told inspiring stories and lessons learned. The message was clear: to make this region continue to grow and thrive we must attract and maintain an influx of young professionals to guide and lead.

This year’s Executive Insight panel included:

  • Dale Carlsen, Founder and CEO, Sleep Train
  • Beth Hassett, Executive Director, WEAVE
  • Adam Pechal, Chef and Owner, Tuli Bistro Group
  • Elisabeth Brinton, Chief Customer Officer, SMUD
  • Chris Johnson, Founder and CEO, The Johnson Group, Inc.
  • Kate Renwick-Espinosa, Chief Marketing Officer, VSP Global
  • Warren Smith, President, Sacramento Republic Football Club
  • Honorable Christopher Cabaldon, Mayor of West Sacramento
  • Cassandra Walker Pye, Senior Director, APCO Worldwide
  • Stan Van Vleck, Senior Partner, Downey Brand & President, Van Vleck Ranch
  • Charles Cunningham, President and Founder, Cunningham Engineering Corp.

The tables were turned, so to speak, on the esteemed executives as they rotated from table to table for one on one discussion with inquisitive Metro EDGE members. But it also gave the more than 100 EDGErs an opportunity to ask some of our region’s most successful business people what they’ve always wanted to know. Where did you find the motivation to get

where you are? Or how did you come to realize your life’s passion?

The first two Executive Insight events were the most talked about events all year, and this third annual edition proved yet again to create an uplifting buzz. Metro EDGE Chair Ryan Porter closed the event by challenging those in attendance to reflect on the event by revisiting their notes in a couple of days, or in a week, or even next month. “Don’t let this evening’s

inspiration end tonight,” Porter said. “Let’s carry it forward to be the best young professional in the region.”

We’ve included some of the night’s best quotes for those who weren’t able to attend:

Chris Johnson

"Identify your nightmare. Then identify your dream. Then you realize your nightmare is nothing compared to your dream."

"Fear and faith have the same components: they both make you believe in something that hasn't happened yet. Which one will it be? Fear or faith?"

Elisabeth Brinton

"Fear is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real."

“Do something different tomorrow, have a different perspective.”

Stan Van Vleck

"People hire you to solve problems."

"Identify your passion, seize that passion, work hard, and do not be afraid to fail!"

“When you see something that’s not right, step up.”

Beth Hassett

"I identified my biggest fear and pushed myself to tackle it."

"My philosophy in life is to never look sneaky or incompetent.”

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon

"I'm the most heterodox mayor there is, every interest group hates me, but not all at once."

"I don't get talking points, that's dangerous for politicians."

Cassandra Walker Pye

"Ask for more money, you're worth it. Especially you ladies out there."

"Share a little about your professional life, and about yourself, people don't trust doing business with you unless they KNOW you."

“Your work is not all that you are.”

Dale Carlsen

"I call my failures my Harvard education, they educate and usually cost me as much!"

On advertising strategy "Focus on and own something, then add more."

"I get to make money in beds."

Charles Cunningham

"I like it when people ask how we can help them in their careers."

"It's not always obvious what civil engineers do but you can eat and drink your way around Sacramento because of us."

Warren Smith

"Your brand is your relationship with the community."

"That's the thing about Sac, it's all about the people, you get to create a brand here."

"I'm bringing the world sport to Sacramento because we deserve better."

Kate Renwick-Espinosa

"I get a thrill out of finding opportunity to maximize potential."

"Be naturally curious about your company, not just your individual role."

"Don't fall in love with your solution, fall in love with the problem."

Adam Pechal

"I used to be shy until I found what I was good at!"

“Make lots of good friends, have fun and you’ll make it.”