Author Archives: Carl Guardino

Pothole 1, Prius 0

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February 4  |  Transportation  |   Carl Guardino

Pothole and PriusHere’s food for thought . . . . Pothole 1, Prius 0.

On Wednesday morning, I had one of those “is this happening to me” moments, while traveling to Sacramento for meetings with some top legislative leaders – ironically, to discuss transportation funding for road maintenance and pothole repairs.

After descending the Altamont Pass, driving between two rather large trucks in the center lane, my back right tire literally blew up after hitting an especially bumpy patch of road. As my car pulled in one direction closer to the semi-truck to my right, I was able to get around the truck and over two lanes onto a very narrow shoulder before my car became inoperable.

AAA was/is awesome, but it was a 90-minute wait until the tow truck arrived, as it was hard to pinpoint precisely where I was – until technology stepped in by using Waze to better direct the tow truck driver to my location. Thanks Google!

I was lucky that I didn’t get into a serious accident. And I had a wonderful surprise when – after reading my tweet about the blow-out – East Bay Congressman Eric Swalwellasked if he or his staff could be of help. Now THAT is constituent service.

The incident with the pothole was a visceral reminder as to why California needs to get serious about better maintaining our 50,000 miles of state highways, 15,000 bridges and our extensive local street and road network. It also reinforces why the Silicon Valley Leadership Group believes any future local transportation ballot measure in November must include funds to repair and maintain our roads.

San Jose Mayor Liccardo jokes that potholes in San Jose have been “re-purposed” into “traffic calming devices,” and I often joke that with El Niño, our potholes can be used for neighborhood swimming pools. On Wednesday morning, the joke was on me – and my wallet – after shelling out $500 for new tires and roadside assistance.

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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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Failing to plan is planning to fail

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December 23  |  Transportation  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Nearly 200 executives from 120 member companies of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group gathered on Dec. 16 at Santa Clara University to debate and decide our 2016 action plan to strengthen our region and state’s economy and to improve the quality of life for our employees, their families and the broader community.

Top of the list: Traffic. As we have successfully accomplished 4 times in 3 decades, the Leadership Group is once again willing to lead efforts in Santa Clara County for a transportation funding measure in November of 2016 to finalize the BART extension, double the capacity of Caltrain Commuter Rail Service, improve basic transit service for seniors, students, workers and the disabled, improve bike and pedestrian facilities – especially near schools, ease traffic congestion on all eight county expressways (Almaden, Capitol, Central, Foothill, Lawrence, Montague, Oregon and San Tomas); key highway interchanges on 101, 85, 87, 280 and 237, and to fill potholes and maintain streets in all 15 cities and towns.

A recent “call for projects” by the Valley Transportation Authority identified $47.8 billion in transportation funding needs. At most, a transportation measure will generate $6 billion over 30 years. Like we all do with our family budgets, this means setting priorities to build a system of transportation improvements that provides relief throughout the County, identifies specific improvements and offers the accountability that we, as taxpayers, deserve. Interested in helping? Contact the Leadership Group. Gridlock might describe our nation’s politics, but it doesn’t have to describe our local roads and highways.

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Santas and Reindeer, Doers and Donors

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December 17  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

Thank you to the slightly more than 1,800 “Santas” and “Reindeer” that endured wind, rain and hail on Sunday at the 4th Annual TiVo “Santa Run Silicon Valley” to benefit Christmas in the Park, Downtown Ice and Reading Partners. I’m always amazed and inspired by the spirit of community we are collectively building in Silicon Valley, especially the commitment of all the Santa Run participants, including the 150 children in the SunPower “Kids Reindeer Run,” which was new this year. Together, in just four years, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation has been able to donate nearly $400,000 to support these time-honored holiday traditions that attract 500,000 people to downtown San Jose. Some communities are filled with talkers and takers. Silicon Valley is populated with doers and donors.

Carl Guardino
President & CEO Silicon Valley Leadership Group

Originally published in the San Jose Mercury News Readers’ letters: http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_29257538/readers-letters

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We Stand Tallest When We Help a Child

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December 9  |  Education  |   Carl Guardino

YMLS - Willie Brown

Willie Brown with 100 boys from Willie Brown Middle School and 70 male mentors

Here’s food for thought . . . We stand tallest when we bend down to help a child.

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group hosted our latest “Young Men’s Leadership Summit” on December 8 at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

With 70 caring, adult mentors and 100 middle school students from the Willie L. Brown Middle School in San Francisco’s Bayview District, we focused on the future of these bright, alive and energetic young men.

Coming from an area where nearly 90 percent of their student population is eligible for the government’s “Free and Reduced Price Lunch” program, these are great kids living in financially challenging neighborhoods.

Our focus was on a future made better by staying in, and excelling at, school. By studying math and science. By engaging with others through sports, the arts and in-school and after-school clubs.

A day of inspiration is always a step in the right direction. But a bigger step, the one we as adults all can make, is to take the next step to support and tutor a child. This holiday season, give a kid a better gift. For 2016, commit to just 1 hour a week, for as little as 10 weeks, through Reading Partners or other tutoring programs that link caring adults with K through 8th grade kids in a safe, supportive environments.

Want more information? Contact the Leadership Group. Check out our “1,000 Hearts for 1,000 Minds” tutoring initiative. Bend down; lift up a child. In turn, you will stand taller than you ever have before.

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TiVo “Santa Run Silicon Valley”

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December 2  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino
Santa Run shirt 2015

2015 TiVo “Santa Run Silicon Valley” race shirt

Here’s food for thought . . . When a door is closed, a window might be open.

Five years ago, the Governor and state Legislature took away “Redevelopment Agencies” from local jurisdictions, including cities like San Jose.

Right or wrong, this state action almost cratered two of Silicon Valley’s most time-honored, holiday celebrations: Christmas in the Park and Downtown Ice.

In the 6-week run of Christmas in the Park, 500,000 people pour downtown to enjoy the displays, rides, ice skating or hot chocolate that goes with our crisp yet clear winter nights. To benefit the on-going success of Christmas in the park and Downtown Ice, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation, member company TiVo and Mayor Sam Liccardo stepped forward to build additional revenue while building a fun new tradition for the community – with our TiVo “Santa Run Silicon Valley,” on Sunday afternoon, December 13.

You have never truly smiled until you have witnessed nearly 4,500 people dressed up like Santa Claus, running or walking a 5-k, as they chase “the Grinch” – our own County Assessor Larry Stone – in a ZipCar through downtown San Jose. With a finish line decked out with a snow machine, each “Santa” is greeted at Christmas in the Park with the same warmth Saint Nick receives when coming down the chimney – with milk and cookies appropriate for his arrival.

Fun aside, “Santa Run Silicon Valley” further ensures that each of us, as members of this community, support and strengthen holiday favorites like Christmas in the Park. Join us. Let’s show our state that when they remove government agencies that help fund key programs in our local communities, that we can rally – year after year – to keep this season of giving fun and festive for tens of thousands of families.

When the doors close, check the windows. Or do what Santa does and come down the chimney.

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Silicon Valley Turkey Trot: Eleven Years Later

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November 18  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino
race dir of the year

Carl Guardino named 2015 MarathonFoto/Road Race Management Race Director of the Year.

Here’s food for thought . . . Most of us don’t give a second thought to where our next meal will come from.

But for a quarter million people who live in Silicon Valley, affording food, or shelter, or health care, is a daily concern.

To help those in need, and build community and begin our holidays in a fun and healthy way – 11 years ago my wife Leslee and I did something many entrepreneurs do in Silicon Valley . . . we took a risk: We founded the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot, which I direct.

First, we found our form of venture capital. Thanks to Joe Pon and Applied Materials, we secured a title sponsor who shared our vision.

Second, we created advisors, with an executive steering committee of sponsors and partners who believed in the mission.

Third, we marketed to potential customers – race participants – who would carve out time on Thanksgiving morning before carving their turkey, to participate in our 5K, 10K or Kids Fun Run.

Four, we looked for successful charities serving our community that would benefit from the proceeds of the Turkey Trot – charities that help with health, hope and a home.

That first year was scary. A week before the race we had only a couple of hundred registrations. Then, on race morning, we were deluged with hundreds of walk-on registrations, and ended up with 1,900 paid participants, raising $88,000 for local charities helping neighbors in need.

Since 2012 – year 9 of our Turkey Trot – we have been the largest timed Turkey Trot in the world. This year, we are stretching ourselves to attract 28,000 paid participants, so that we can donate $1 million to help even more in need in our Valley.

You and your family can help us achieve that goal. All you need to do is sign up, and show up. Please start with step one today, sign up at svturkeytrot.com.

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