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Histories of the 50 Emerging Sage Leaders

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Most emerging sages have had the shared experience of career opportunities revealing themselves rather than resulting from a linear pursuit of a particular job or employment objective. And few ended-up in careers that they had prepared for in college. One served in the military before successfully running a family business at the age of 30 and then discovering a career in Nevada County civil service. Several did tutoring and mentoring before landing on a career choice. One worked on upwards of 50 high level political campaigns for such prominent figures as Jerry Brown and Bill Clinton before embracing the environmental movement. Another had a career in sales and then in aviation and government until moving to Nevada County, where she started an executive coaching practice. Still another was in education and nonprofit management and now primarily volunteers and takes contract jobs with nonprofits. One did a variety of things professionally for nonprofits, including capital campaigns, and then started her own business when she moved to Nevada City. And one was an equestrian and trained horses until happening upon the solar industry and sustainability issues.

While the 50 emerging sage leaders have adapted to changes in career paths, they did so with intentionality and an expectation of success. Almost all are currently employed full-time, and most have had multiple years of experience in their current position or in positions related to the one they presently hold. Sixteen are employed by city, county, or state government, and 16 are employed in non-profit management. Five are teachers or educational administrators and nine are in other occupations such as journalism, medicine, small business, architecture, construction, and the county court. Most have had an increase in responsibilities over time and hold high positions in their organizations, including superior court judge, district school superintendent, principal, nonprofit executive director, program manager, chief financial officer, and owner/partner. Because almost all emerging sage leaders are involved full-time in the workplace, they were asked if they saw themselves continuing in the same career—but with increasing responsibilities and leadership roles. Or whether at some point they would choose a different career path. All see themselves continuing to evolve personally and professionally, and about half report they will continue with their current career:

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