Laura Good is a Bay Area native who found her way to the Central Valley in 2007 circa Florida and is one of the driving forces behind Sacramento’s emerging tech scene. With SARTA, Good works to grow our sector by helping technology startups be successful through education and mentoring. She is also a founding member of Social Media Club Sacramento and the volunteer curator for Startup Digest, a weekly email that highlights local events of interest to the technology startup community.
And even though she’s not a resident (yet), she sees plenty of Sacramento. We handed her our Instagram account last week, so you can take a look for yourself.
Name: Laura Good
Occupation: program and operations director for SARTA
Neighborhood: East Sacramento
SP: How long have you lived here?
LG: I’ve lived in the region almost 6 years. I grew up in the Bay Area and Santa Cruz County and then lived in Utah and Florida for about 15 years as an adult. I decided to move back to California in 2007 to live near my family again. I’d never lived in the Sacramento area before but my family had all migrated here during the 80s and 90s after my sister graduated from Sacramento State. 2007 was the start of the “Great Recession” and I didn’t have a job yet. My parents generously offered to let me live in a house they own in San Andreas for the cost of utilities only. Because the economy was so unstable for so many years, I choose to stay in San Andreas even when I landed a job in Sacramento (it’s a 65 mile drive). The plan has always been to move to Sacramento. Now that the economy is more stable, I’m planning to move to Sacramento in the next year. The hard part is choosing a neighborhood!
SP: Why have you stayed?
LG: My family lives in the area but I also enjoy the close community of Sacramento. In all the places I’ve lived over the years, I’ve never felt more connected than I do in Sacramento.
SP: Where is your favorite spot in Sac to enjoy the outdoors and why?
LG: My outdoor time in Sacramento is usually spent walking around the Kay or Old Sacramento or walking through Capital Park. I haven’t spent as much time at the rivers as I’d like to so let’s say that’s an outdoor spot I’d like to further explore.
SP: What’s the best season to spend in Sacramento, and why?
LG: Fall is my favorite time of year in the Central Valley. Wine harvest and crush time, a extra colorful City of Trees and Kings basketball begins.
While I’m not a fan of summer heat, I am a fan of the Boys of Summer! I enjoy spending time at Raley Field watching the River Cats play America’s pastime. I usually get to about 5 games a season. This year, having fireworks on both Friday and Saturday nights has been really awesome!
SP: When is your “happy hour” and where do you spend it?
LG: I mostly “happy hour” at SARTA or Social Media Club mixers on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evening. SARTA’s monthly Beer & Geeks meetup travels around to lots of downtown and midtown spots like Cafeteria 15L, The Golden Bear, The Red Rabbit, de Vere’s Irish Pub, and Lowbrau. And we’re always looking for a new spot to hold it if anyone has a suggestion!
SP: On Friday or Saturday night we’d find you…
LG: It depends on the season. Summertime, you’ll likely find me at a River Cats game (hooray for Friday & Saturday night fireworks!), cooling off by watching a movie in IMAX 3D at air-conditioned Esquire IMAX on The Kay, or catching a performance at Music Circus’ Wells Fargo Pavilion where I’m a season subscriber. In the winter, it’s BASKETBALL baby at Sleep Train Arena or the California Musical Theatre’s Sacramento Broadway series at Sacramento Community Center Theater.
SP: On a Sunday afternoon we’d find you…
LG: Napping with my three dogs at my home in the Motherlode! If I’m in Sacramento and it’s the first Sunday of the month, you’ll find me at GOOD:: street food + design market in Del Paso Heights.
While I’m not artistic myself, I enjoy Sacramento’s artistic & creative community. The monthly GOOD: street food + design market is a great way to check out some of Sacramento’s finest.
SP: Describe our city in 15 words or less.
LG: How about a Haiku?
Two rivers converge
Kings fans chant SA – CRA – MEN –TO
A City of Trees
SP: I’m a tourist. What are the top three things I shouldn’t miss during my stay?
LG: 1.) Check out California’s Capitol Building including a stroll through the grounds to see the rose garden, Vietnam War Memorial and First Responder Memorial. It’s perfect for an after-dinner stroll on a summer evening after the Delta breeze kicks in. During the day, be sure to tour the building and check out the Hall of Governors portraits. Jerry Brown’s is AWESOME if you are a fan of abstract art (and I am).
2.) This is Farm-to-Fork country! Or even better, Vineyard-to-Glass! Be sure to check out a local winery or two. The region is “ripe” with them! If you’re short on time, The Old Sugar Mill is convenient (and historic) and features wines from ten wineries.
3.) It may be cliché but I’m going to say Old Sacramento. In addition to all the touristy shops, there are some great restaurants (Ten22, Firehouse) and the California History and Railroad Museums. And if you want a deeper dive into history (as well as the skinny on Sacramento’s dirty little secrets) take the Speakeasy Walking Tour offered by Downtown Sacramento Partnership the third Saturday of the month.
SP: Name one of Sacramento’s “hidden gems” – this could be a place, person, business, etc. What makes this a gem?
LG: The Sacramento Zoo! It’s a small zoo but did you know it’s accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums? Fewer than 10% of the approximately 2,400 animal exhibitors licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture are AZA accredited! I classified it as “hidden” because sometimes people think it’s just for people with kids. The Zoo has some great events for adults including the annual King of Feasts in June and the summer Twilight Thursday concerts in June and July. Coming up on August 17 is the Ice Cream Safari! Who doesn’t like all-you-can-eat ice cream?
SP: What conversation are you a part of, and why is it important?
LG: If you follow me on Twitter (@goodlaura), you’ll know I’m a part of A LOT of conversations in and about Sacramento! Most recently, I was a part of the #HereWeStay and #CrownDowntown conversations. I was beyond thrilled when the Ranadivé investment group saved the Kings for Sacramento and I’m really looking forward to the renewal we will see downtown with a new Sports and Entertainment Complex. It’s #BiggerThanBasketball! I’m also connected to the tech startup scene and conversation in Sacramento through my work at SARTA and my volunteer StartupDigest curator role. I occasionally blog about it for SARTA or post an article about it in the Sacramento Press.
SP: Anything else?
LG: Being part of the Sacramento community is about more than my entertainment and restaurant choices. I have a heart for Sacramento’s charitable organizations and I do something about it. There are so many ways a person can get involved with charitable work. Financial support is perhaps the most helpful but there are many volunteer opportunities as well. I included a photo on Instagram that was actually taken before my #seesacramento week that is of the SARTA staff volunteering at River City Food Bank for the day. That’s a place you can volunteer for 4-5 hours and really make a difference.
You can also help out by donating food or participating in their online “virtual” food drive. And then there is the annual Fall Empty Bowls fundraiser – you get a great lunch or dinner and a handcrafted bowl. Other charities I hold in high esteem in Sacramento are Saint John’s Shelter Program for Women and Children and WEAVE. And I am also a volunteer on the marketing committee for the United Way, which helps many charities in the region and I’m a member of their Women in Philanthropy Group which does a lot for Foster Youth. I encourage everyone to find at least one charity you believe in and to do something about that cause.