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200 Global Leaders Find Their Edge in Sacramento

By Adrian Rehn

Shape uncertainty. Lead through ambiguity. Find your edge. Amplify your impact.

These principles guided the four-day SHAPE North America 2018 summit, which brought over 200 young global leaders to Sacramento from August 9-12th.

#SHAPENA18 participants came from 63 city-based “Hubs” in 30 countries, but all were members of the Global Shapers community, which is the youth leadership network of the World Economic Forum. The 27-member Sacramento Hub, to which I belong, won a competitive bid to host this important event – and we created an experience that has been billed by many as the best “SHAPE” event ever, on any continent.

Valley Vision has been fiscal agent for the Global Shapers – Sacramento Hub throughout the production of the SHAPE North America gathering. Through this formal partnership, the Sacramento Hub has access to a high-performing and trusted local nonprofit that manages its finances and records, keeping things running smoothly. For Valley Vision, the Global Shapers bring a unique connection to the global community not found in other young leaders groups, which further boosts VV’s toolset in advancing the livability of the Sacramento region.

From the get-go, our team modeled #SHAPENA18 as an “anti-conference.” The programming was meant to introduce uncertainty into the lives of #SHAPENA18 attendees, give them the tools to navigate that uncertainty, and then celebrate each individual’s ability to grow their leadership acumen and overcome obstacles of all kinds. Tears are not normally shed at conferences, but they were commonplace as Shapers recounted life-altering insights to their peers at key points during our time together.

The four days were modeled after the Hero’s Journey concept popularized by scholar Joseph Campbell, and were highly experiential. This meant that (1.) the lion’s share of “sessions” were led by actual Shapers/attendees, (2.) we were constantly changing physical locations and backdrops, and (3.) there were no “expert” panels to be found. Each day, Shapers were exposed to new means of “Leading Through Ambiguity” and “Finding Their Edge” before a final day of “Amplifying Impact,” in which #SHAPENA18 participants spent their afternoons giving back to the community via service projects in partnership with local organizations.

Highlights included (but certainly were not limited to):

  • Kicking off the anti-conference on the Capitol West Steps with a deeply moving and personal story from Hub Alumni Kelly Rivas.
  • Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs speaking at Golden 1 Center, followed by Shaper-led breakout sessions around the concourse on topics like “Identity, Power, and Privilege,” cryptocurrency, radical storytelling, and more.
  • Setting up 22 separate “Salon Dinners” across the region, providing an opportunity for Shapers to divide into small groups and find their way to meals hosted by community leaders, friends, and family.
  • Organizing a Friday night after-party at The Urban Hive featuring authentic performances in partnership with Sofar Sounds Sacramento.
  • Saturday breakfast in the State Capitol followed by a dynamic workshop on embracing failure as an indicator of success.
  • Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg reflecting on his time at UC Davis Law School – he was a bit of a rabble rouser!
  • Volunteer service projects across the Sacramento region, where Shapers were able to give back to their temporary region of residence.
  • A final dinner at the Stanford Mansion which featured recognition of sponsors, delicious Farm-to-Fork food, and a heartfelt blessing with the Sacramento-based Maquilli Tonatiuh Aztec Dancers.

The Sacramento Hub could not have pulled off this production without the help of our fantastic sponsors: UC Davis Global Affairs, P&G, Sacramento Kings, Balanced Body, UC Davis Health, Statehouse at the Capitol, Sacramento State, UC Davis Dining Services, Blue Shield of California, Sierra Health Foundation, Valley Vision, The Urban Hive, Visit Sacramento, Sacramento Region Community Foundation, University of San Francisco, Capital Public Radio, Uber, California Chamber of Commerce, UC Davis Graduate School of Management, Lucas Public Affairs, NextGen America, ACLHIC, and Blanket Marketing Group. You are all awesome!

Our team looks forward to harnessing this momentum, expanding our community partnerships, and doing another mind-blowing thing in the not-too-distant future. I encourage you to learn more about the local Sacramento Hub and the Global Shapers Community at large. You are also free to dig into the final #SHAPENA18 Schedule for more information about the specific components of the 4-day experience. Please email us if you have any Shaper-related questions or ideas!

To keep up with Valley Vision’s work to advance livability in the Sacramento region, subscribe to our Vantage Point email newsletter!


Adrian Rehn is a Valley Vision Project Manager overseeing the Cleaner Air Partnership and Valley Vision’s online communications.