Monthly Archives: January 2016

A Leader is a Leader is a Leader

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January 27  |  Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . A leader is a leader is a leader.

My friend and mentor Aart de Geus, Co-Founder and CEO of Synopsys, often states this line. It’s meaning is simple: “True leaders are leaders in their companies, in their communities, and within their families.”

If a CEO is solely absorbed in his or her company, to the detriment of family or community, then he or she is not truly a leader.

So how about you and I?

Here’s an exercise I try to do annually: Count.

There are 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week. Count. What are you doing with your time?

For the next week, track it:
* How many hours do you sleep each night? Count.
* How many hours do you work? Count.
* How many hours are you stuck in your commute?
* How many hours are you focused on your family?
* How many hours do you exercise, watch TV, read, volunteer?

When you are done counting the hours for an entire week – evaluate. Are there surprises? Are there adjustments to make? Are you carving out the time – quality and quantity – necessary to be a leader in your home, in your community, in your company?

Count. And when you’re done, make the necessary adjustments to ensure that others can count on you.

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Free Trade Strengthens America & America’s Workers

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January 20  |  Federal Issues  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Free trade strengthens America and America’s workers.

President Obama has invested seven years negotiating a free trade agreement – the Trans-Pacific Partnership – with 11 Asia-Pacific countries and the United States, representing 40 percent of the world’s GDP.

To the president’s credit, the Trans-Pacific Partnership would reduce or eliminate 18,000 taxes or fees on American employers struggling to compete globally.

It is imperative that the United States Congress ratify the president’s Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2016. As President Obama has stated:

  • 40 million American jobs depend on trade.
  • On average, export-related jobs pay up to 18 percent more than non-export related jobs.
  • Every $1 billion in exports supports on average 5,800 American jobs.
  • Over the past five years alone, there has been an increase of 1.8 million jobs related to exports.

Kudos to the president for insisting on the strongest labor and environmental provisions of any U.S. trade deal in history, which is good for America and America’s workers, and vital to workers throughout the world.

Silicon Valley, it is time to step forward and support the president. Let’s encourage our own congressional delegation to do likewise.

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Our Beautiful Bay is At-Risk

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January 13  |  Environment  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Our beautiful Bay is at-risk

Crumbling infrastructure, rising sea levels and lack of natural barriers leave the Bay Area open to the risk of devastating floods. Compounding this danger, many critical elements of the Bay Area’s infrastructure, including airports, hospitals, water treatment plants and the headquarters of major employers, are built at or below sea level.

That means a severe storm or major flood could knock out huge parts of our regional economy, causing long-term damage to the Bay Area’s economic health.

Thankfully there are simple, relatively low-cost solutions that scientists and engineers confirm will protect our communities from flooding and our water from pollution, such as:

  • Building and repairing levees and other long outdated infrastructure.
  • Restoring wetlands, which naturally protect us from floods and filter pollution.

Failure to act is acting to fail: We must address potentially devastating consequences to the businesses and individuals that call the Bay Area home, as well as to California’s economy. Recognizing that business engagement is critical to the success of any plan to address these risks, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group has been engaged in a years-long collaborative effort to develop a plan and secure the necessary funding to protect our region.

We are glad to learn that today the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority voted to place the San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention, and Habitat Restoration Program, known as the “Clean and Healthy Bay Ballot Measure,” on the June 2016 ballot in all nine Bay Area counties.

The measure would fund critical projects across the region that can secure the health of San Francisco Bay and protect our economy by reducing water pollution, expanding wildlife habitat, increasing bayside recreation opportunities, and protecting shoreline communities from flooding.

The measure is a critically important investment in our region’s future, which is why a broad coalition of labor, environmental and business groups, including Save the Bay, California Audubon, the Bay Area Council, and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group support the measure and are actively engaged in the campaign.

You can visit Our Bay on the Brink for details about the threats facing the region and People for a Clean and Healthy Bay for more about the campaign to protect and secure our future.

Diversity is the Strength of Silicon Valley

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January 6  |  Education  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Diversity is the strength of Silicon Valley. Yet we can and must be much stronger.

At the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the second highest priority in our 2016 work plan is to further diversify the STEM pipeline to meet the needs of our students, communities and companies.

This work is not for the faint of heart.

To diversify our high-tech workforce, our efforts must start at the cradle and extend through careers.

  • It’s why the Leadership Group was a founding partner for Educare Silicon Valley, providing early childhood education in East San Jose’s Santee Neighborhood for kids zero through four.
  • It’s why we helped champion the efforts of then state Senator Joe Simitian to offer all California school kids transitional kindergarten.
  • It’s why we partner with Mayor Sam Liccardo through our “1,000 Hearts for 1,000 Minds” tutoring initiative to match caring adults with K-8 kids in reading, science and math.
  • It’s why we have raised funds and placed 122 salad bars in 120 underserved schools, serving 98,000 Silicon Valley school children with more nutritious meal options.
  • It’s why we have hosted 15 Young Men’s and Young Women’s Leadership Summits, so that middle school students are aware that there are role models and mentors to keep them in school and on track.
  • It’s why we partner with Mayor Liccardo and Silicon Valley Education Foundation for “STEM with Mayor Sam” to motivate parents and students about careers in STEM.
  • It’s why our companies champion paid summer fellowships for teachers throughout the region through our partnership with IISME.
  • And it’s why we are now partnering with the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley to secure 500 scholarships for Latinos eager to major in STEM in colleges and universities.

Are these efforts worthwhile and important? Absolutely. Have we only scratched the surface? Absolutely. It’s also why we need you. If you are drawn to any of these initiatives, contact the Leadership Group today. Silicon Valley can further diversify our high-tech workforce. But it will happen sooner, and deeper, if we all work together.

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