Who Is a Groundbreaker?

An innovator, a pioneer, a person with an original idea
that makes change, growth and improvements happen in the world.

As Californians, we're used to the ground moving and shaking beneath our feet. We're also used to groundbreaking innovation happening all over the state. And as the capital of California, Sacramento is ground zero for a lot of that innovation, giving it a bounty of new and vibrant ideas, residents and places. Credit all that to a mix and a multitude of Groundbreakers -- inspiring people who are setting trends, starting movements, creating events and trying to improve things locally, regionally and statewide.

We’ve created a regular “gathering place” -- events rotating through Sacramento’s most interesting and lively places -- for California Groundbreakers to talk about what they’re doing, and for people to get enthused, inspired to help, and ready to turn their own idea into reality.

 

Meet the people behind California Groundbreakers

Vanessa Richardson During the day, I'm a business writer and editor for publications like Entrepreneur, Money and the Sacramento Business Journal, and for companies like First Republic Bank, Intuit and Wells Fargo.  I grew up in Sacramento, and after high school, I left to see the world and thought I'd never return. Then I heard how Sacramento was changing and buzzing with a new vibrancy. During a trip to visit my parents, saw how the buzz was really sticking, and moved back in Spring 2015. Like most new and returning residents, I'm happy with my decision and proud to say I live in Sactown. While living in San Francisco, I headed up programming and events as a board member for the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, specifically for members in their 20s and 30s.  I got everyone from Spike Lee to King Abdullah of Jordan to come to town, sit down in a chair and talk about their projects and themselves. I think there are plenty of people in Sacramento who would like to have stimulating conversations along with their craft beers and cocktails. And I think it's high time for Sacramento to host these conversations with Groundbreakers doing great things in town, the Capitol Region, and statewide.

Vanessa Richardson

During the day, I'm a business writer and editor for publications like Entrepreneur, Money and the Sacramento Business Journal, and for companies like First Republic Bank, Intuit and Wells Fargo. 

I grew up in Sacramento, and after high school, I left to see the world and thought I'd never return. Then I heard how Sacramento was changing and buzzing with a new vibrancy. During a trip to visit my parents, saw how the buzz was really sticking, and moved back in Spring 2015. Like most new and returning residents, I'm happy with my decision and proud to say I live in Sactown.

While living in San Francisco, I headed up programming and events as a board member for the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, specifically for members in their 20s and 30s.  I got everyone from Spike Lee to King Abdullah of Jordan to come to town, sit down in a chair and talk about their projects and themselves.

I think there are plenty of people in Sacramento who would like to have stimulating conversations along with their craft beers and cocktails. And I think it's high time for Sacramento to host these conversations with Groundbreakers doing great things in town, the Capitol Region, and statewide.

Vanessa Richardson
Executive Director

Rich Beckermeyer Rich is a Sacramento-based photojournalist, and his clients include Ogilvy PR, KVIE and the Sacramento City Unified School District . His strategy: Telling stories one visual at a time. Rich’s latest project “Dementia / LaDemencia,” creating images of his grandfather , suifferng from Alzheimers and dementia, during the last six months of his life is as a method of both creating and remembering memories. Images of this project are at Hacker Lab and the Sierra Health Foundation.

Rich Beckermeyer

Rich is a Sacramento-based photojournalist, and his clients include Ogilvy PR, KVIE and the Sacramento City Unified School District . His strategy: Telling stories one visual at a time. Rich’s latest project “Dementia / LaDemencia,” creating images of his grandfather , suifferng from Alzheimers and dementia, during the last six months of his life is as a method of both creating and remembering memories. Images of this project are at Hacker Lab and the Sierra Health Foundation.

Rich Beckermeyer
Board Member

Scott Eggert As president of MKTNG, Scott Eggert is a seasoned digital communications leader, havingled digital and social media communications strategies at four marketing agencies, including the one he cofounded. His experience includes work with national companies in the luxury home products industry, tourism, agricultural and meat production, wineries, and financial institutions. As president and longtime board member of Social Media Club Sacramento, Scott serves as a catalyst to elevate the use of social media among individuals and businesses for professional growth.

Scott Eggert

As president of MKTNG, Scott Eggert is a seasoned digital communications leader, havingled digital and social media communications strategies at four marketing agencies, including the one he cofounded. His experience includes work with national companies in the luxury home products industry, tourism, agricultural and meat production, wineries, and financial institutions. As president and longtime board member of Social Media Club Sacramento, Scott serves as a catalyst to elevate the use of social media among individuals and businesses for professional growth.

Scott Eggert
Advisory Member

Mary McCune Mary is a Regulatory Analyst/Advocate for the California Dental Association, with an expertise in healthcare regulatory compliance. She is President of the Feminist Democrats of Sacramento, member of the Global Shapers: Sacramento Hub, and an Interfaith Liaison for the Sacramento Buddhist Church. Mary is a graduate of University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law and holds a B.A. in Government and ASL/Deaf Studies from Sacramento State.

Mary McCune

Mary is a Regulatory Analyst/Advocate for the California Dental Association, with an expertise in healthcare regulatory compliance. She is President of the Feminist Democrats of Sacramento, member of the Global Shapers: Sacramento Hub, and an Interfaith Liaison for the Sacramento Buddhist Church. Mary is a graduate of University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law and holds a B.A. in Government and ASL/Deaf Studies from Sacramento State.

Mary McCune
Advisory Member

Jennifer Rindahl Principal at J.L. Rindahl Consulting, Jennifer is a political consultant in California, providing  strategic communications to public universities, cities, schools, hospitals and other public agencies, as well as private sector and nonprofit clients.. She has over 15 years of experience in advocacy, communications and government relations, and is a veteran of scores of successful communications efforts and political campaigns, from the Presidential to the local level, raising over $8 billion in voter-approved funding for public sector clients. Jennifer served as the Director of Advocacy for University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, where she led successful advocacy trips to Sacramento and Washington, D.C., that increased funding for higher education at the state level and preserved key funding for agricultural research at the national level. Jennifer attended the Medill School of Journalism and graduated from Northwestern University. 

Jennifer Rindahl

Principal at J.L. Rindahl Consulting, Jennifer is a political consultant in California, providing  strategic communications to public universities, cities, schools, hospitals and other public agencies, as well as private sector and nonprofit clients.. She has over 15 years of experience in advocacy, communications and government relations, and is a veteran of scores of successful communications efforts and political campaigns, from the Presidential to the local level, raising over $8 billion in voter-approved funding for public sector clients. Jennifer served as the Director of Advocacy for University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, where she led successful advocacy trips to Sacramento and Washington, D.C., that increased funding for higher education at the state level and preserved key funding for agricultural research at the national level. Jennifer attended the Medill School of Journalism and graduated from Northwestern University. 

Tiffani Sharp Tiffani is founder and CEO of the nonprofit Willow Tree Roots, which empowers women in developing nations to socioeconomic independence through entrepreneurship.  She’s a licensed attorney with a specialization in international law, and runs her own legal practice, advocating for the legal rights of the underrepresented.   She has traveled extensively to developing countries, volunteering in orphanages and working with women to improve their socioeconomic status, and observed that in communities where women actively participated in changing and improving their own economic status, everyone benefited as a whole.  This underlying philosophy is at the root of Willow Tree Roots, which she started in 2014. Tiffani’s next project: starting “The Power of SHE,” an entrepreneurship program for high school- and college-age women in Sacramento’s underserved communities.

Tiffani Sharp

Tiffani is founder and CEO of the nonprofit Willow Tree Roots, which empowers women in developing nations to socioeconomic independence through entrepreneurship.  She’s a licensed attorney with a specialization in international law, and runs her own legal practice, advocating for the legal rights of the underrepresented.   She has traveled extensively to developing countries, volunteering in orphanages and working with women to improve their socioeconomic status, and observed that in communities where women actively participated in changing and improving their own economic status, everyone benefited as a whole.  This underlying philosophy is at the root of Willow Tree Roots, which she started in 2014. Tiffani’s next project: starting “The Power of SHE,” an entrepreneurship program for high school- and college-age women in Sacramento’s underserved communities.

Tiffani Sharp
Board Member

Jennifer Rindahl
Advisory Member

Rachel Smith Rachel runs WordSmith Communications, a PR consulting firm specializing in branding, event management, media relations and community engagement. She previously served as associate vice president and media relations director at FSB Core Strategies. As chief media strategist for all the firm's clients, including Ford Motor, Consumer Technology Association, Raley's, Dairy Council of California and California Women Lead, she was responsible for creating story ideas and placing positive media features throughout California. Rachel also serves on the board of the Sacramento Public Relations Association. She is the former editor and a current contributor to Girls on the Grid, the popular women's blog in California. Rachel graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.   Rachel sits on the advisory board of California Groundbreakers and the board of the Sacramento Public Relations Association. She is the former editor and contributor to the popular women’s blog in Sacramento, Girls on the Grid. She graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2007.  

Rachel Smith

Rachel runs WordSmith Communications, a PR consulting firm specializing in branding, event management, media relations and community engagement. She previously served as associate vice president and media relations director at FSB Core Strategies. As chief media strategist for all the firm's clients, including Ford Motor, Consumer Technology Association, Raley's, Dairy Council of California and California Women Lead, she was responsible for creating story ideas and placing positive media features throughout California.

Rachel also serves on the board of the Sacramento Public Relations Association. She is the former editor and a current contributor to Girls on the Grid, the popular women's blog in California. Rachel graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

 

Rachel sits on the advisory board of California Groundbreakers and the board of the Sacramento Public Relations Association. She is the former editor and contributor to the popular women’s blog in Sacramento, Girls on the Grid. She graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2007.

 

 

Rachel Smith
Advisory Member