Emerge Summit 2023

2023 Emerge Summit

Thanks to everyone who joined this year’s event. Check back June 2024 for more info!


Presenting Sponsor

UC Davis MBA Sacramento

Gold Sponsors

UC Davis Health
Sutter Health

Silver Sponsors

Support Sponsor

Media Sponsor

ABC 10

Lunch Sponsor


Emerge Champion

Myndz Matter

Community Partners

What is Emerge Summit?

This year’s theme ‘Leading with Legacy’ honors the 10th annual Emerge Summit conference. Attendees can expect a jam-packed day with themed keynotes, breakout sessions, and experiences meant to inspire, engage, and motivate. This year’s main speakers will have a focus on legacy – activating changemakers and trailblazers who have come before. After the mainstage, attendees will be able to choose from a variety of engaging breakout sessions through-out the day. Sessions all have a focus on the various stages of the young professional career-journey and feature local leaders.

What better way to end an amazing day than with the Emerge Summit “after party”: EDGE 916? Open to all summit attendees, EDGE 916 allows you to unwind and reconnect with people you met throughout the day. Hang out and relax with food, cocktails, and conversation. This is the premiere networking event for young professionals.

Tickets are no longer on sale.


Group Tickets (5+): $110 each

Single Ticket: $145

EDGE 916 Happy Hour: $25


Schedule of Events:

8:00 – 9:00 AM
Networking and Experiences at the Sofia

9:00 – 10:45 AM
Main Stage Program
Speakers, Keynote, and Experiences at the Sofia

11:00 – 12:00 PM
Breakout Session #1

12:00 – 1:30 PM
Lunch (provided)

1:45 – 2:45 PM
Breakout Session #2

3:00 – 4:00 PM
Breakout Session #3

4:00 – 6:30 PM
EDGE 916 After Party

Quirina Orozco
Vice Mayor, City of West Sacramento
Keynote Speaker


Quirina Orozco was elected to the West Sacramento City Council on November 8, 2016 and was re-elected to an additional four year term on November 3, 2020. She currently serves as the City’s Mayor Pro Tem. 

Orozco began her career as a prosecutor with the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office in 2005. She is assigned to the Special Assault & Child Abuse team which handles the prosecution of crimes involving the abuse of young children. A mother of four, Orozco is committed to programs that improve the educational, emotional, and physical well being of children. She is the Past Chair of the Executive Board of the Yolo County Children’s Alliance (YCCA), the founder of West Sac Kids Give Back, and served as the driving force in the development of the City’s Disney KaBOOM Park in West Sacramento’s Bryte and Broderick neighborhood. Orozco considers herself a proud West Sac Little League and West Sac Soccer Club parent and supporter.

Orozco earned a Bachelor’s degree at UC Berkeley, a Master’s degree in Public Policy at Harvard University, and her Juris doctorate at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. Prior to attending law school, she worked for the White House Office of Management and Budget where she was the lead budget examiner for President Clinton’s Hispanic Education Action Plan. She later served as an advisor to Lieutenant Governor Cruz M. Bustamante and the Executive Director of the Commission for One California.

In 2016, Orozco was awarded the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Latina Estrella Champion Award for her commitment to fighting for justice for victims. The following year, she was recognized by Comstock’s Magazine’s feature article, “She Who Leads: Annual Salute to Women in Leadership,” which highlighted six women of influence in the Capital region. Orozco is a senior fellow of the American Leadership Forum Mountain Valley Chapter, an active member of the Mighty West Sacramento Rotary Club, and graduate of the Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) Leadership Institute. She has been a fitness instructor for the past two decades and enjoys teaching kickboxing, spin, barre, and strength training. 

Councilmember Orozco currently represents the City of West Sacramento on the Sacramento County Regional Sanitation District, Vice President of the River City Regional Stadium Financing Authority, Port Commission, and alternate to the Countywide Executive Commission for the Homeless and the West Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency.

Carissa Gutierrez
Director, Latino Center of Art and Culture
Engage Speaker


As the Director of the Latino Center of Art and Culture in Sacramento, she has a proven track record in creative community engagement, operations optimization and coalition building. She has worked in various spaces including mental health, violence prevention, local and federal government, hospitality, non-profit and academia (most notably as part of the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis). She is dedicated to her community and manages cultural projects to elevate the voices of those who are most often overlooked and disenfranchised- to make visible what is often made to feel invisible.

She serves on multiple boards including the Californians for the Arts, California Arts Advocates, Mondavi Center of the Arts and Sacramento Alliance for Regional Arts, as a member of the City’s Cultural Tourism Task Force and Language Accessibility Task Force. She most recently joined the Creative Economy working group for Californians for the Arts. She’s also a current Leadership Institute Fellow (one of twenty-four throughout the country) of the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures and is one of the twenty five inaugural Latino Change Makers for the Sacramento region.

Through her work she remains committed to social justice and equitable reform and approaches all opportunities with an intersectional lens. A proud Chicana, she graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, where she focused on globalization and development in Latin America and lives by the motto “think globally, act locally”.

Michael Lynch
CEO and Co-Founder, Improve Your Tomorrow
Develop Speaker


Michael Lynch is a social entrepreneur and certified professional fundraiser. He is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Improve Your Tomorrow, Inc (IYT), an education nonprofit that for the last 10 years has worked to close the college opportunity gap and improve the life outcomes for thousands of young men of color across Northern California.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from Sacramento State, Michael began his career as a Senate Fellow in the California State Legislature. He quickly rose to become a senior policy advisor for a State Assemblymember where he staffed dozens of bills, nine of which became law.

Currently, Michael serves as a Governor’s appointee to the Commission on California Volunteers, a Senior Fellow for the American Leadership Forum, and a Senior Fellow for both the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program and the Sierra Health Foundation’s Health Leadership Program. Michael has been
recognized as one of the top 25 Black Changemakers by the Sacramento Bee, 40 under 40 by the Sacramento Business Journal, and Top 100 business leaders by the Sacramento Magazine.

After marrying his college sweetheart, Michael and his wife Andrea started a family in Sacramento where they’re currently raising two children.

Mac Clemmens
CEO, Streamline
Give Speaker


As the CEO of Streamline, a software company headquartered in Sacramento, he is responsible for the growth of the company, recruiting and retaining top talent, and standing for Streamline’s culture and values. Mac also has a passion for making technology easy to use and accessible to all.

Mac is interested in the intersection of technology, governance, and policy, and how special districts are affected by state and federal regulations. Most importantly, he is dedicated to helping special districts stay compliant with state-specific, ever-changing website requirements.

Like Streamline, Mac is committed to the local community. He has served on the board of EO Sacramento, the largest network of entrepreneurs in the greater Sacramento area. He has also served as a board member of Stanford Sierra Youth and Families, the CSU Monterey Bay Foundation, and the Comstock’s Editorial Board, and has served as Vice-Chair, Public Policy for the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce. 

Prior to Streamline, Mac served as founder and CEO of Digital Deployment, an award-winning agency focused on developing websites for institutions and local government. He build it from a small company in his dorm room into a multimillion-dollar company and sold it to a global media firm in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2022.

Mac was named 40 under 40 by the Sacramento Business Journal, was featured on the cover of Comstock’s Magazine as a change leader, and received the 2017 Young Alumnus award from UC Davis. In November 2014 and again in 2015 and 2016, Mac was invited to the White House to advocate for small businesses and discuss net neutrality. In 2020, the Graduate School of Management at UC Davis honored Mac with the “Rising Star” award.

Cate Dyer Spears
CEO and Founder, CGT Global
Empower Speaker


Mrs. Spears exemplifies an unwavering dedication to the world of business, fostering a dynamic company culture, and driving forward the reality of cell and gene therapies within the market of cell immunotherapy. Her endeavors are centered around alleviating suffering, championing medical equality, and leaving a positive imprint on countless lives. Her relentless commitment to expediting the cure and prevention of substantial medical conditions is nothing short of transformative.

With a mere $9,000 in hand and an ambitious vision, Mrs. Spears embarked on her journey in 2010 to establish CGT Global, previously known as StemExpress. In the years since its inception, the enterprise has transcended geographical boundaries, expanding both nationally and internationally. The company has unveiled an array of cutting-edge facilities, state-of-the-art laboratories, and CGT Clinics. Its track record speaks volumes, standing as a testament to its robust support for clinical trials, acceleration of research and development, and facilitation and commercialization of patient cell and gene therapies within the healthcare sector.

Mrs. Spears’ educational background and accomplishments include degrees earned from esteemed institutions such as Santa Barbara City College, California State University of Sacramento, and the prestigious Stanford School of Business. Her excellence has not gone unnoticed, as evidenced by several esteemed accolades. Notably, she has been bestowed with the Distinguished Service Award from California State University, Sacramento. The Business Journal has repeatedly honored her achievements, recognizing her as part of the Women Who Mean Business cohort and lauding her inclusion in the 40 Under 40 list—a testament to her visionary launch of her company at the age of 31. The year 2020 marked her coronation as Businesswoman of the Year by the Sacramento Metro Chamber, an honor that underscores her profound impact. Building upon this, the subsequent year she clinched the highly coveted title of Most Admired CEO—an acknowledgment truly befitting of her exceptional leadership.

Notably, the enterprise she painstakingly constructed from the ground up has earned its rightful place amongst the fastest-growing companies in the United States, as heralded by its inclusion in the esteemed Inc. 500 roster.

Beyond her professional achievements, Mrs. Spears is deeply engaged in philanthropic endeavors, exemplified by her establishment of a non-profit foundation. This foundation extends invaluable STEM-related grants and paid internships, thereby ushering in a realm of fresh possibilities for gifted young individuals from underrepresented communities. Her profound commitment to fostering talent is further manifested through her active role as a mentor, particularly for up-and-coming female trailblazers within the STEM sector.

This year’s breakout sessions:

📍 Barwest

Session 1: What are we Running Toward? Leading Ourselves to Lead Others
Marcie Shelton, The Leaders Partner

Do you know what truly motivates you to do your best work? What about the people who work with you? Learn how being intentional about your choices in life and work has a significant impact on both your quality of work and your quality of life.

Session 2 & 3: Joy is a Superpower
Marssie Versola, FLEX Folsom

In a world driven by deadlines, targets, high-stress environments, and the drive to get ahead, stress, hustle and burn out culture are running rampant in the world of business. As such, business can get a bad rap for being serious and being stressful. But, the truth is, there is a better way. Decades of scientific research in the field of positive psychology has proven that building a mindset strengthened by optimism and joy create measurable improvements in nearly all areas of work and life. In this breakout session we will dive into the science behind joy as a superpower, and share 3 tools you can adopt to begin to supercharge your own mindset. As a young professional, or a seasoned leader, now is the time to build habits that will serve you for years to come, and allow to create a career that is steeped in joy, fun, fulfillment and creating a lasting impact in your life and in the life of those around you that will become your legacy.

📍 CLARA Auditorium

Session 1: Empowering Young Professionals as Social Responsibility Champions
Kevin Burdick, Sacramento Republic FC

Join us for a breakout session led by a seasoned leader in social responsibility through sports and community engagement. Discover the power of social responsibility in today’s professional landscape and learn how to align personal values with career goals. Gain practical insights on integrating social responsibility into your professional journey, from skill development to leadership growth. Uncover effective strategies for leading and driving impactful social responsibility initiatives within your organization. Walk away with actionable steps and a personalized blueprint for becoming a champion of social responsibility in your career.

Session 2: Exploring your Leadership Style
Adrianna Lucero, City Year

Are you hoping to develop as a leader? In this session, you’ll use a tool called the “The Leadership Compass” to identify your leadership strengths. We will discuss how to use those strengths in the workplace, how to work with people with different strengths, and how to become a more balanced leader. Our organization City Year has used this tool with our 30,000 alumni, and we are excited to share it with you!

📍 CLARA Library

Session 1: Building Your Authentic Edge: Mastering Identity and Personal Branding
Dixie Briseno

Attendees will learn how to: develop a unique personal brand aligning with their values and aspirations; communicate personal brand effectively; craft a compelling narrative to engage their target audience and stand out from peers; build meaningful connections through networking; showcase their expertise and achievements confidently; use the power of a strong, personal brand and reputation. Attendees will leave with an an action plan for ongoing personal brand refinement.

Session 2 & 3: Leading Through Chaos: A Lesson in Bravery
Dan McGar, SAFE

Leading is not for the faint of heart — it can be downright hard, and I mean all-consuming, brain-bending, and heart-wrenching. Legacies are not built solely on our successes, but on our ability to navigate struggle, failure, hurt, and uncertainty. That inevitable chaos is our opportunity to change how we lead, connect, serve, create, innovate, and become better humans. In the moments where our hearts are pounding, our minds are racing, and the future unclear, the only choice we have is to be brave. What legacy could you write if you choose to be brave? During this session, we’ll talk about how we utilize chaos and the role that bravery can play in helping us be the leaders (and humans!) we want to be. Through stories, laughter, interaction, and candid discussion, it’s my hope that attendees will walk away feeling seen, empowered, motivated, and armed with the tools they need to leave a legacy built on bravery.

📍 Harlow’s Patio

Session 1 & 2: Shift: Change your state, change everything
David Aguilar, Capitol Coaching

This breakout session intends to bring awareness for participants regarding the quality of our thoughts and our overall state of being. Participants will be guided on how to intentionally change from non-resourceful to resourceful states in order to maximize performance for both professional and personal success. Participants will learn about shifting their state and will have the opportunity to apply their learning during the session to allow for experiential learning.

📍 Harlow’s, Starlet Room

Session 1: WOC for WOC: Working on Challenges for Women of Color
Leticia Garay, UC Davis

Panel Featuring: Jocelyn Guzman, Esther Muriithi, Leticia Garay

This interactive panel is designed to empower and support emerging women of color professionals by addressing their unique experiences, challenges, and opportunities. Through discussions, participants will explore topics such as impostor syndrome, limited leadership representation, access to systems, building a strong support system, and envisioning the next steps towards personal and professional growth. Attendees will leave with valuable resources, tips, and actionable takeaways to navigate their careers successfully.

Session 2: Real Estate + Race = Resistance
Nino Roy Machado, All City Homes

Panel Featuring: Dr. Damany Fisher, Michael Benjamin, Dr. Jesus Hernandez

Join us for an open and honest conversation about the landscape and formation of Sacramento. In this breakout session we will look at the intersections of how segregation and generational wealth have shaped the legacy of the region and continue to shape it as new development continues.

Session 3: “Community Insights + Experiences: What You Don’t Know and How to Figure It Out”
Sara Crackel, 3Fold Communications

Join us for an eye-opening breakout session that will revolutionize the way you approach community engagement. In this dynamic session, we will explore the untapped potential of community insights and experiences, uncovering what you may not yet know and equipping you with the tools to unlock a deeper understanding. Industry experts will share their strategies for effectively gathering and leveraging community insights. You will gain practical understanding into the art of empathy-driven research, uncovering hidden perspectives, and designing impactful experiences that resonate with diverse communities.

📍 Red Dog Real Estate

Session 1: Mental Health & Your Success
George Washington, MyndzMatter

Joined by Priya Kumar this session will address your mental health when it comes to your career and how it could affect your professional growth and personal financial success. We will discuss tools to deal with your mental health so you’re in a great state of mind to be successful in whatever you do. Financial literacy is tied greatly to mental wellbeing and overall happiness. Understanding your finances and how to be financially stable will be the final component to ensuring an overall positive mental state to set you up for success!

Session 2: Don’t Stress! Interview Prep to Impress for Government Appointments
Julissa de Gonzalez

Make the impact we need in our community! Join us to learn more about how you can have a successful interview for a state or local appointment to a board or commission. Learn from appointees and decision makers who have gone through the process. Come prepared to ask questions to prepare you to impress as you seek opportunities to become more engaged at the state and local level!

Session 3: Intentionally Build Your Network and Relationships with Mentors to Promote Professional Success
Joanna Siebert, UC Davis Mike and Renee Child Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

In this panel session, Joanna Siebert, Associate Director of the Mike and Renee Child Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UC Davis, will facilitate a discussion with innovators and leaders who have realized the benefits of networking and mentorship for professional development and success in business. Panelists will discuss what they have learned through their experiences intentionally building their networks and how this has contributed to their professional identity, business development, and career trajectory. They will address concerns that early- to mid-career professionals and entrepreneurs frequently encounter in complex, rapidly changing work contexts. In addition, the panelists will discuss the value of mentorship for their own career and business development. The panel session will include PollEverywhere surveys and encourage questions from the audience to promote directly relevant information exchange and engagement. Participants will have opportunities for self-reflection and they will receive recommendations for how to approach networking and mentoring in ways that are authentic and meaningful to them.

📍 Sofia Theater, Gallery B

Session 1: Interview Improv!
Daniel Chapnick, Raleys

Are you ready to stand out in interviews and land your dream job? Elevate your skills and boost your confidence by attending our exclusive breakout session on mastering the art of interviewing! Discover insider secrets and proven techniques for crafting compelling narratives, showcasing your strengths, and handling even the toughest questions with finesse. Whether you’re a recent graduate stepping into the professional world or a seasoned pro looking to pivot your career, this session is tailor-made for you. Don’t miss this chance to refine your interview strategies, build a lasting impression, and secure the opportunities you deserve.

Session 2: Make Your Mark: Creating an E.P.I.C. Personal Brand
Vanessa Errecarte, UC Davis MBA

How do experts become experts? How do thought leaders/pundits become thought leaders/pundits? How do you get to the point where you are being recruited for opportunities instead of applying for them? In this workshop, attendees will learn how to use the cornerstone principles of both corporate branding and content and digital marketing to define and create their own personal brand funnel in four phases: Establish, Package, Inform, and Cultivate (E.P.I.C.). This is a fast-paced and actionable workshop that attendees can immediately implement to grow their careers and personal brands online.

Session 3: Fix your algorithms, fix your business. Address your self-esteem and enhance your business
Melissa Muganzo, Muganzo Entertainment

This breakout session dives deep into the connection between self-esteem, social media, and career success. It challenges us all to investigate how what we follow, support, and share can influence our ability to grow our careers, monetize our business, and inflate/deflate our self-esteem.

📍 Sofia Theater, Gallery C

Session 1: Scaling Your Leadership Capabilities to Grow Yourself and Your Business
Nick Gunn, The NiVACK Group

Leading at scale is exponentially more difficult than being a great leader of a small team. It requires vision, creative and strategic thinking, exceptional people leadership and consistent execution to create value for the organization. Leading at scale is an awesome challenge. Few people get to do it, and even fewer are successful. So, ask yourself the question: “If not me, then who?” and lean into the challenge! Take the “Leaders” journey and learn what it takes to scale your leadership brand refinement.

Session 2: Negotiable
Skye Connors, Unleashing Leaders

Transitioning from the role of an individual contributor into a team leader can be a challenging move. Management skills are entirely different than the tasks of your previous role, and with increased visibility, the pressure to succeed feels imminent. Without solid preparation, hard lessons learned may feel inevitable. Get prepared to rock your first management role.

Session 3: Using the P.A.ST. to build Partnerships

Are you new to Sacramento? Is your organization struggling with outreach in the Sacramento region? Come learn about the history and present day situations of Sacramento communities, and how you can use the past to inform and build your BEST professional and personal life in the region. Attendees will receive a template to create an outreach plan. The session is based on the research of CULTURPHORIUM, INC. a nonprofit with a vision to promote the Social and Economic contributions of underrepresented communities.

📍 Sofia Theater, Mainstage

Session 1: Rise and Thrive: Becoming a transformational leader in Greater Sacramento
Jasmine Ward, Greater Sacramento Economic Council

Panel Featuring: Kelly Fong Rivas, Maritza Davis, Juan Novello and Christine Mahon. Moderator: Olivia Cano

The Greater Sacramento region is on. the. rise. And it’s thanks to the innovative, creative and inspiring leaders here within our community. During this session, four local, mid-career professionals will share their stories of professional growth, secrets to success and why they chose to build their careers in Greater Sacramento. The session will feature a discussion between the audience and panel about what makes our community unique and how we envision our future, with guidance from the panelists on how to optimize your impact here. Expect to walk away inspired and energized about opportunities to not only advance your career but also make our region a better place to live and work.

Session 2: Journey to the C-Suite: What it takes to get there and how to succeed when you do
Scot Siden, NELP

Moderator: Michael Marion, Director for Partner Eligibility and Oversight, United States Department of Education Panel Featuring: Evan Schmidt, CEO, Valley Vision, Kenneth Johnston, CEO, KJ2 Productions and Adonai Mack, CEO, Child Action, Inc.

Hear from some of Sacramento’s top leadership at organizations in the region! In this panel session you will hear from executives about their path and journey to the roles that they are currently in and the roles that helped to shape their legacy along the way.

Session 3: Entrepreneurship: Sacramento Growing from Within
Cameron Law, Carlsen Center

Moderators: Cameron Law, Carlsen Center, Monique Brown
Panel Featuring: Roshaun Davis, Mathew Magno, Rachel Zillner, Bobby Reed and Antoinette Banks

📍 Star Lounge

Session 1: Leveraging Social Media for Advancing Your Career
Adrian Pinon, 3Fold Communications

Ready to level up your career with the power of social media? Explore key LinkedIn best practices to skyrocket your professional profile. Discover insights that magnify the importance of online branding! Grow your network as you connect with other local young professionals. Don’t wait, secure your spot today and gear up for a career elevation!

Session 2: What is your Communication Style?
WIN Solutions

This workshop demonstrates effective ways of communication and identifies leadership styles for professionals to be competitive in the workforce. This workshop will force attendees to think critically, work as a team, and use their individual voice, all of which are essential to being competitive in the workforce. This presentation breaks down the individual professional and how they individually show up for themselves and within a team. Once the attendees learn the tools and knowledge, they can help solve problems in any industry. Understanding effective communication and various leadership styles will allow professionals to self-reflect on their weakness and strengths.

Session 3: The 7 Forms of Respect
Linh Huynh, Curiosity Based

What is the difference between “disrespect” vs. “lack of respect”? What happens when people define “respect” differently? CuriosityBased will introduce you to the 7 Forms of Respect, a tool that helps people understand how respect is relative, not universal, in order to practice curiosity and increase mutual understanding. Learn how to use the 7 Forms of Respect® to initiate tough conversations around respect.

Conference venues:

The Sofia
Check-in, Mainstage Speakers and Breakout Sessions

Breakout Sessions

Breakout Sessions and Lunch

Red Dog Real Estate
Breakout Sessions

Star Lounge (Hyatt House)
Breakout Sessions and Lunch

Breakout Sessions and Lunch

Centro Cocina Mexicana

Cantina Alley
Edge 916 Happy Hour

Who is considered a “young professional”?

We define “young professional” as any current or aspiring professional between the ages of 18 and 40. We establish age parameters not to be exclusive, but to improve our ability to create specificity around programming.

Unofficial FAQ: Are we checking ID? No.

How many people attend this event?

Over 400 young professionals from all over the Sacramento region.

What is the dress code?

You will see a wide range of attire at the Emerge Summit. Come in what you feel best in. We want you to feel comfortable and confident so you can focus less on what you’re wearing and more on what you’re learning.

Please note: Breakout and lunch locations will be located within walking distance. Comfy shoes are highly recommended.

Do I have to be a member of Metro EDGE to attend Emerge?

You don’t have to be a Metro EDGE member to attend. There are lots of great benefits of membership. Members have the option to take part in a series of great committees including the Emerge Summit committee which helps to plan and organize events as well as staff the conference the day of.

Get a scholarship

Each year we sponsor registration for one young professional to attend through a scholarship. Individuals interested in receiving this scholarship are encouraged to apply.

Applications are open now!

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