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Winning Together: Sometimes the best offense is a good defense.

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June 15  |  Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

Jay Harris, San Jose Mercury News Publisher and SCVMG Board Member, speaks with 200 community leaders as the Manufacturing Group celebrates the opening of Highway 85.

Sometimes the best offense is a good defense.

That proved to be the case in 1986, when the Leadership Group had to play a defensive action against a citywide ballot measure in Saratoga to stop the construction of Highway 85 – funded through the 1984 Measure A – through the City.  The citywide ballot measure was soundly defeated.

Concurrently, the Leadership Group Board of Directors, working in tandem with the Golden Triangle Task Force, calls for a countywide system of carpool lanes, building on the one on Lawrence Expressway.  The goal is to not only move more cars, but to move more people per car, throughout the Valley.

Join us for our 40th Anniversary Celebration on Friday evening, July 28.

Caltrain Electrification & Modernization: 21 Years of Leadership

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April 24  |  Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

For 21 years, when it comes to the electrification & modernization of Caltrain, the 400 members of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group have placed their wallets where their words are.

• In 1996, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group led “Measures A & B” on the November ballot. The nine-year, half-cent sales tax included $44 million in local funds to benefit Caltrain modernization improvements necessary for future electrification.

• In 2000, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group led “Measure A” on the November ballot, which passed with 70.4 percent of the vote. The 30-year, half cent sales tax (which didn’t begin until 2006 and runs through 2036), includes $$131.5 million in local funds to benefit modernization improvements needed for future electrification.

• In 2016, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group led “Measure B” on the November 8 ballot, which passed with 71.74 percent of the vote. The 30-year, half cent sales tax (which started revenue collection on April 1), includes more than $1 billion ($1,014,000,000) for modernization, safety and service improvements needed for the future electrification of Caltrain.

• In 2012, as one of only nine Gubernatorial Appointees to the California Transportation Commission, Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino led the effort to secure $106 million in state funds for the electrification of Caltrain.

• Why is an employer organization consisting of nearly 400 Silicon Valley Innovation Economy CEOs continuing to lead efforts to tax themselves to modernize and electrify Caltrain? Because it is vital to our employees, their families and others who call our Bay Area home.

• The Caltrain Corridor between San Jose and San Francisco is home to 1.6 million jobs.

• The Caltrain Corridor is an economic juggernaut, important to ALL of California,
– It produces 20 percent of the sales tax revenue generated in the entire state;
– It produces 13 percent of our State’s Gross Domestic Product;
– It produces 53 percent of all the patents filed from California.

• Caltrain electrification & modernization nearly doubles Caltrain ridership from almost 65,000 weekday passenger trips to more than 110,000 weekday passenger trips.
• Three of every five Caltrain passengers is a “Choice Rider,” which means they are choosing to get out of their own cars and onto Caltrain railcars, easing traffic on Highways 101 and 280, and our local streets and roads.

We have come far in our efforts to modernize and electrify Caltrain.  Let’s keep it on-track for completion by 2020.

Health Care Accessible and Affordable to All

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March 17  |  Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group is deeply committed to making health care more accessible and affordable to all. Employers, along with the government, are the largest payers of health care costs and are critical stakeholders in the process of negotiating health care reform. While we remain committed to providing health insurance to employees, employers in the Silicon Valley and across the country cannot sustain current levels of premium increases without cost shifting to employees or making their business
​es​ significantly less competitive and unprofitable. 

Health insurance expenses are the fastest growing cost for employers and are expected to grow 6.5 percent in 2017. In 2015, the private business share of health spending accounted for nearly 20 percent of total health care spending in the U.S. 

We recognize that expanding coverage to millions of Americans is a significant achievement and hope to see popular employee benefits continue including no co-pays for preventative services, no annual or lifetime limits on coverage, and expanded coverage for children up to age 26, including foster youth.​

Finally, we hope that the federal government can set standard regulations to simplify the current system of both federal and state-by-state requirements. There should also be a review to eliminate costly and complex regulations that add barriers to business operations, but do not add value, and improve current ones to reduce enormous operating costs for employers, providers and insurers.
 

Refresh, Renew, Recharge

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June 29  |  Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . refresh, renew, recharge.

Later this summer, the Guardino family will pack up and head out to Big Sky Country, also known as “The Treasure State,” – Montana – for a week-long vacation in a region with little to no cell phone connection, broadband access or any other form of 21st Century communication.

The Guardino family’s goal may seem foreign to go-go, type A Silicon Valley: We want to simply unplug. Eleven long days and longer nights star-gazing, trail-blazing and sun-bathing.

In a state with more stars in the sky than people driving by, Montana is home to fewer people than the City of San Jose. Yet it still warrants two United States Senators and a Member of the House of Representatives.

But for a glorious week, this member of the Guardino family doesn’t have to focus on politics, or policy, or programs or projects or even personnel. No, I can focus solely on family. For close to 50 weeks each year, with great humility I’m honored to serve as CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. But for at least two glorious weeks each year – one in the summer and one in the winter – the only title I get to wear is Daddy. Undivided attention awaits two little girls growing up too fast.

For those still here – whether you’re chasing sales quotas, stock options, social networks or software solutions – let’s never forget that we were intended to work in order to live. We were never intended to live in order to work.

Find your own Big Sky Country this summer. Refresh, renew, recharge. Both you and your family will be better off because of it.

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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Pain is Temporary. Effort is Eternal.

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August 5  |  Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

This weekend, my wife Leslee and I will be racing in the Triathlon National Championships, a series of races that brings together the top triathletes from around the United States, all hoping to qualify to represent “Team USA” at the World Championships next summer in Mexico.

For many, months of training – coupled with outstanding performances at qualifying races in their regions – have sharpened their skills for this coming weekend. My wife Leslee is one of those top performers, who qualified for “Team USA” two years ago, representing our country in the World Championships last summer in Canada. In a word, my quiet and humble wife, is a “stud.”

For me, I’m just happy to be there: To compete, even if somewhere near the back of the pack; in essence, to make everyone else look good.

It reminds me that we all set different goals. For some, it is to win. For a lonely few, it is even to win at all costs. For others, it is simply to do our best. To overcome adversity. To set a goal and work to achieve it.

Whether it is a sporting event or any other stretch goal in our lives, what matters most is not just how we do, but what the experience makes us become. The relatively obscure sport of triathlon has made me more humble, more adaptable to unforeseen and often difficult circumstances, and more respectful of those out suffering and succeeding around me.

Of this I am sure. When I near the completion of the race; as I approach the finisher’s shoot; my focus will be not on the crowd, but on two little girls calling out the name I love to hear – That name is not “champion” or “winner.” It is a much richer name, called “daddy.”

Past Time to Reduce Water Use

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April 22  |  Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Stand strong, Governor, and Silicon Valley will stand for you.

Recently, Governor Brown made the hard but necessary step to call for an average of 25 percent water use reduction throughout our state.

Numerous communities, and clusters of the economy, have expressed concern and have called for exemptions. I appreciate the concern, but candidly, our Governor is correct.

We are in the 4th year of a historic drought, and no one knows when or if Mother Nature will turn the spigot back on to make the Golden State green. In fact, many scientists believe our more recent weather conditions will be the “new normal” for the foreseeable future.

It is past time for bold and necessary steps, such as the steps our Governor has called for, to greatly reduce water use.

It is also a unique opportunity for Silicon Valley to step forward with creative and innovative ways where we can apply technological advancements to enhance the efficient use of water.

What we cannot do is ignore the seriousness of the conditions we face. For water-wise tips, contact the Santa Clara Valley Water District today. Silicon Valley can lead by example, and we can and should stand with the Governor to greatly reduce water use.

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Practice What You Preach

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April 15  |  Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Practice what you preach.

More and more, we read and hear about the need for more ethnic and gender diversity in Silicon Valley.

And rightly so. Our companies are global, and it is in our own self-interest to foster a world-class workforce that reflects the diversity of our planet. This is smart for all employers, whether high-tech, low-tech or no-tech.

Yet it is a goal that I would liken to a unicorn . . . often discussed but rarely seen. We can do better.

I was recently challenged, in a positive way, to look internally before I speak externally. Is my own organization diverse? My workforce, my executive team, my Board of Directors, my foundation Board of Directors. Fair enough.

While far from perfect, today, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group has a positive story to tell, but could still do better:

  • Of our 24 member staff, 14 are female and 10 are male. Of those 24 professionals, 14 are Caucasian, and 10 are non-white.
  • Of my executive staff, three are female and five are male, with five Caucasian and three non-white.
  • Our foundation Board, which is responsible for such community-based efforts as the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot, Santa Run Silicon Valley, Heart & Soles 5K, and our “1,000 Hearts for 1,000 Minds” tutoring initiative, seven board members are female and seven are male, with our ethnic diversity currently with 11 Caucasian and three non-white.
  • Our Leadership Group Board of Directors needs more work, with seven female and 40 male, and our ethnic diversity showing 36 Caucasian and 11 non-white.

Our reasons for promoting diversity are simple. We know we will be more successful if we hear more points of view, and benefit from a wider range of experiences. There is a reason the term “Yes Men” is an insult . . . it is what you get when you only seek one point of view from one type of person. Growing a more diverse workforce here in Silicon Valley is not a box that we check, it is a business imperative that will only make our success more assured.

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What have you done for me lately?

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January 7  |  Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . “What have you done for me lately?”

The calendar has flipped from 2014 to 2015. At the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, we closed out 2014 with several solid successes:

  • BART funding from the California Transportation Commission, which I Chair, was completed, for a total of $760 million. The extension is under-budget and a year ahead of schedule.
  • Our Silicon Valley Turkey Trot, sponsored by Applied Materials, brought together 26,000 neighbors to celebrate Thanksgiving morning together – generating more than $900,000 to help needy local families.
  • The state water bond, Proposition 1, passed in November with the help of the Leadership Group, and incredible leadership by Governor Brown.

But life is about looking forward, not back.

This year, our goals are equally ambitious, and will be presented in a comprehensive way in the days ahead. But hear is a glimpse of what’s to come:

  • Housing and homelessness – the Leadership Group will step up its historic role.
  • Traffic relief – BART and Caltrain, along with other road improvements, are key.
  • Immigration, cyber, tax and patent reform – all federal priorities that must be tackled head-on.

Silicon Valley is an ambitious place, and we have many ambitious goals on our plate. Get on-board and join us. We have work to do.

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Keep Your Eyes on the Road

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August 27  |  Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Your very important phone call forced my very important employee to crash his bike.

On Tuesday, a member of my staff was nearly hit by a car driver on Willow Street in Willow Glen.

Riding his bike to work – firmly in the bike lane – a careless driver was paying much more attention to her cell phone conversation than her driver’s ed training.

She nearly hit my colleague, which forced him into the curb where he flipped over onto the ground. The driver drove off and never even noticed. It must have been a pretty important phone call. My colleague ended up with a sore ankle and was badly shaken up. He also had to repair his front tire rim.

Let me acknowledge, many “car versus bike” crashes are the cyclists fault. Those of us on two-wheels need to be a lot more careful with our own habits.

With my colleague, however, this was not the case. She nearly hit him and she just kept on driving – never even noticing the accident she had caused.

Whether we travel primarily by four wheels or two wheels, we must all be more careful. Here’s an idea: Whether we are driving a car, or riding a bike, let’s travel as if someone’s life depended on it. On Tuesday, we were reminded just how true that is.

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