Diversity is the Strength of Silicon Valley

No Comments
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.

Tagged ,

Failing to plan is planning to fail

No Comments
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.

Tagged , ,

Santas and Reindeer, Doers and Donors

No Comments
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

Tagged

We Stand Tallest When We Help a Child

No Comments
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.

Tagged , ,

TiVo “Santa Run Silicon Valley”

No Comments
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.

Tagged , ,

Silicon Valley Turkey Trot: Eleven Years Later

No Comments
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.

Tagged , , , , ,

It’s time for Version 2.0

No Comments
November 5  |  Transportation  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . In Silicon Valley, when a product or service doesn’t succeed, it’s time for “Version 2.0.”

Such is the case before our San José City Council on Tuesday, November 10, at 1:30pm, when the Council considers a new pilot project that to allow ridesharing companies like Lyft and Uber to pick-up passengers at Mineta San José International Airport. The Council passed a “pilot program” in June, but its onerous provisions precluded any rideshare company from participating. To its credit, the Council has sought a modified pilot program, much more in-line with the stringent but consistent requirements mandated at 25 other airports and nearly 300 cities across the country.

As you can imagine, the incumbent taxicab industry is fighting such market-competition tooth and nail. Their latest gambit is public safety. Let’s dissect that argument. Rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber provide well over 2 million rides in the U.S. each week. If even one percent of those rides were unsafe, that would be 20,000 incidents or accidents every single week. But perhaps the taxi industry thinks it’s only one-tenth of 1 percent that are unsafe. Then we would be reading news reports of 2,000 incidents or accidents each week. But maybe the taxi lobbyists only mean one-hundredth of 1 percent are unsafe – but then we would be reading news reports about 200 incidents or accidents each week, 52 weeks per year.

So let’s really talk safety, accountability and transparency: A rideshare passenger clicks an app and knows instantly the license plate, car make, driver, and consumer rating of the driver. GPS tracking follows every ride. At the end of every ride, the passengers and the driver rate each other. These safety and accountability precautions are unheard-of in taxis. It also underscores why rideshare companies like Lyft enjoy a passenger base that is 60 percent women. They know they are safer.

Let’s support our City Council in providing real choices for San José residents and employees flying into San José International. Join me at the council meeting or email your San José Councilmember and Mayor today. When it comes to customer choice at San José’s airport, let’s not let the taxi lobby leave the rest of us stuck at the curb.

Tagged , , ,

Leveling the Playing Field for Ridesharing at SJC

No Comments
November 3  |  Transportation  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Taxis have a monopoly over rideshare companies.

“Unlevel Playing Field.” It has been the incessant – yet completely inaccurate – rallying cry of incumbent taxi companies over rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber, that cannot currently pick up passengers at Mineta San José International Airport.

In June, I predicted before the City Council that its “pilot program” to allow rideshare companies to pick up passengers, launched on September 1, would have zero participants. Seven weeks after the “pilot program’s” launch, there isn’t a single participant. City residents, workers and visitors have been left standing, literally, at the curb.

It is why 93 Silicon Valley CEOs – with tens of thousands of employees based in San José – have written to the City Council to urge the adoption of a policy that allows ridesharing companies to serve our airport. Read their letter here.

Yet the cries of “unlevel playing field” are actually the opposite.

* Seeking accountability and transparency? A ridesharing passenger clicks an app and knows instantly the license plate, car make, driver, and consumer rating of the driver. GPS tracking follows every ride. And at the end, the passengers and the driver rate each other. These safety precautions are unheard of in taxis. It also explains why ridesharing companies like Lyft enjoy a passenger base that is 60 percent women.

* Concerned about the City budget for essential services? The City’s own 2013 audit reveals the incumbent taxi industry costs taxpayers $272,000 in lost revenue. The airport acknowledges rideshare companies will earn revenue for the City. At SFO, allowing rideshare companies at the airport has already earned it $4 million in just 10 months.

* Concerned about safety? The exhaustive screening process of ridesharing companies turns away 4 of every 5 potential drivers. When a recent official in another jurisdiction found a few Uber drivers had criminal records that should have kept them from driving, most media accounts ignored that Uber’s process screened out more than 600 would-be drivers, self-identified as current taxi drivers, who had criminal records.

Yes, let’s have a “level playing field.” But as so often happens, it is the entrenched incumbent industry that cries “foul,” while enjoying all the power of incumbency; including a playing field greatly slanted in its favor.

San José, it’s time for “version 2.0.” Let’s not leave our residents, workers and visitors standing at the curb.

The San José City Council wants to assist the taxi industry to help it continue to survive and thrive. That’s fine. Let’s keep in mind that when rideshare companies were allowed to serve customers at SFO and in Denver the amount of taxi rides actually increased. Rather than fighting over the crumbs, the pie grew for both taxis and rideshare companies.

The cries of an “unlevel playing field” are simply not accurate. Let’s let those who wish to ride decide.

If you wish to join me in respectfully weighing in with the City Council, please join me at the Council hearing on November 10 at 1:30 pm, and call or email your San Jose Councilmember and the mayor today.

Tagged , , , , ,

Regional Patent Office: Eight Years in the Making

No Comments
October 21  |  Federal Issues  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Good things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.

Those famous and fitting words by President Abraham Lincoln, himself an inventor and entrepreneur, could not be more appropriate when describing our recent success – eight years in the making – in securing a regional U.S. Patent and trademark Office in Silicon Valley, which opened for business on Thursday, October 15.

For the first 225 years of America’s U.S. patent system, an innovator or inventor needed to travel to Alexandria, Virginia if he or she needed to meet directly with a patent examiner or judge. Few young entrepreneurs can invest the time or treasure for such a trip, placing at-risk the protection of their intellectual property and inventions.

That all changed last week in Silicon Valley, with the opening of the new office in San Jose with 80 patent examiners and 20 patent judges.

Like most successes, this one was not secured over night. It took roughly 2,920 days, including passing federal legislation signed by the President in 2011, competing against 500 other bids for only three competitively selected regional patent offices, and enduring budget shortfalls and sequesters.

Silicon Valley, which is already home to 1 of every 10 patents filed in the United States, is now also home to a much needed regional patent office.

Tagged , ,

San Jose International is Taking Off

No Comments
October 15  |  Transportation  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . With our CEO Airport Task Force, San José International is Taking Off.

Five years ago, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group launched our CEO Airport Task Force, committed to the success of San José International Airport. With the active engagement of nearly 200 CEOs and senior officers, five key international flights were targeted for attraction:

  • Tokyo
  • London
  • Beijing
  • Frankfurt
  • Seoul

With great city leadership first from San José Mayor Chuck Reed and now from Mayor Sam Liccardo, one airline after another has added routes to SJC. First was the ANA flight between San José and Tokyo, initially launched on January 11, 2013. Next was the Hainan Airlines flight between San Jose and Beijing, launched this year on June 15. Then, in partnership with British Airways, a direct San José to London flight will launch on May 4, 2016. And now, after a four-year courtship, Lufthansa will initiate a direct daily flight between San José and Frankfurt this spring.

In baseball, “four out of five” would get you in the Hall of Fame, but not in Silicon Valley. Our CEO Airport Task Force has one more key international destination – Seoul, South Korea.

Our commitment to each airline is simple – provide the planes and we will help provide the passengers. Through the on-going leadership of nearly 390 member companies, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group is committed to keeping our part of that bargain. Join us. Fly with us. Together, working with Mayor Liccardo, our airport and the city council, we can be sure that San José truly is taking off.

Tagged , ,