The Leader – August 2017

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Sailing Toward a Healthy and Resilient SF Bay

By Lauren Boyd, Water Resources Associate, Silicon Valley Leadership Group

It’s easy to get lost in the numbers and overlook the wetlands for the eelgrass beds.

Leading agencies, nonprofits, research institutions, and even sustainability-minded businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area have metrics on their view of the SF Bay’s future and how the Bay Area can get there. A quick survey can turn up datasets on sea level rise, salinity, acres of restored wetlands, miles of levee construction and other indicators for the resource at both the geographical and the spiritual center of the Bay Area.

While it is important for scientists to compare notes on the appropriate amount of restored eelgrass habitat, it is critical to keep in mind two key details:

  • The overriding goal is a healthy and resilient SF Bay ecosystem; thinking regionally and focusing holistically on improving this invaluable resource.
  • Second, the clock is ticking in terms of our window of opportunity to make lasting improvements to the SF Bay.

Time and again, the region has shown overwhelming support for a healthy and resilient SF Bay. Most recently, voters passed Measure AA on the June 2016 ballot to help raise $500 million over 20 years for wetland restoration projects along the SF Bay shoreline. These projects respond to scientific projections – protecting infrastructure from rising sea levels, improving water quality, and restoring habitat for fish and wildlife. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group is proud to have been a leading organization with Senator Dianne Feinstein behind the measure.

Beyond the Measure AA success, datasets, or future goals, it is critical to recognize that time is running out: There is a 15- to 30-year window to restore SF Bay wetlands before the seas rise to high. And while Measure AA will provide a helpful funding source, these projects require much more work to become fully funded and permitted.

Meeting this deadline is a priority for the Leadership Group. We continue to engage in discussions around obtaining state and federal funds for restoration projects and ensuring that projects are permitted and constructed in a timely manner.

The Leadership Group also continues to engage the public. It’s important for the public to be aware of how many acres need to be restored by what date, but it is also important for them to experience the wetlands firsthand. We need to stand on a portion of the Bay Trail, glance out at the threatened snowy egrets and nearby shoreline infrastructure and understand the various benefits of wetlands restoration and how they can help us proactively address threats to the SF Bay.

The Bay Area has appropriately paid extensive attention to what the future of the SF Bay should look like; it is important for leading stakeholders and the public to remain engaged on achieving wetland restoration before it is too late.

Interested organizations, businesses and members of the public can visit San Francisco Estuary Institute to find data behind wetland restoration, Save the Bay to volunteer at wetland restoration sites, and San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority to learn more about Measure AA and its implementation around the Bay Area. For more information on the Leadership Group’s engagement on this issue, please contact Lauren Boyd at or Mike Mielke at


Solving Workforce Challenges through Partnership

By Jeanette Langdell, Employment Training Manager, NOVA &
David Palter, Workforce Development Associate, Silicon Valley Leadership Group

The Leadership Group’s Annual Silicon Valley CEO Survey asks its member CEOs to gauge their top five business challenges. For the past five years, employee recruitment and retention has ranked either second or third alongside traffic and housing. These challenges are inextricably linked, and their remediation requires thoughtful cross-sector collaboration between industry, government, education and community-based organizations.

As part of its commitment to address the employee recruitment and retention challenge, the Leadership Group is partnering with NOVA, a federally-funded, non-profit workforce development board based in Sunnyvale, on a program called Ready to Work. The program retrains local, mid-career IT professionals and places them as interns or direct hires in Leadership Group member companies. The internships pay $20 an hour for 20 hours a week, but NOVA pays for half of this stipend, and handles payroll and insurance. Essentially, Ready to Work allows Leadership Group member companies to obtain top talent for a fraction of the cost while providing vital work experience to local job seekers.

Etsuko’s recent participation in the Ready to Work program illustrates what a talented job seeker’s drive to succeed can achieve when supported by the NOVA-Leadership Group partnership.

Etsuko came to NOVA with a strong work history. She spent over ten years working in software quality assurance (SQA) and has a degree in computer science. However, like many software professionals, she found that six years at the same company allowed her skills to become stale and out of date. Etsuko knew she could do the work–she just needed a refresher and the opportunity to learn QA automation and new software development tools. She signed up for an eight-month SQA program through Ready to Work.

Near the end of her training, Leadership Group and NOVA staff worked in concert and found Etsuko her ideal internship in a Leadership Group member startup in Sunnyvale called ZippyApp. As one often does in a startup, Etsuko wore many hats during her internship, but she stood out for her insights on systems automation. At the completion of her internship, ZippyApp hired her on for a full time role.

As Etsuko’s recent hire demonstrates, Ready to Work provides Leadership Group member companies a strong pipeline to skilled, experienced IT talent. Just as importantly, it helps local residents regain employment in the innovation economy.

Check out the impressive current resumes of Ready to Work candidates in fields such as Software Quality Assurance, Data Engineering, Cybersecurity, and Project Management. To learn more, contact the Leadership Group’s Workforce Associate David Palter at or 408-501-7876.

On August 3rd, 2017, posted in: The Leader by