The Leader – November 2016

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When Voting, Don’t Stop at the Top

By Carl Guardino, President and CEO

m-b-jam-smDon’t Stop at the Top . . . Much has been written and said about a “crowded ballot” facing California voters this election season. With 17 statewide initiatives, two countywide ballot measures and – depending on the City or Town you call home – more local measures as well.

So here’s my advice to my fellow voters here in Santa Clara County – “don’t stop at the top.” You may be angry and anxious about one or both of your choices for our next president. I understand. But numerous state and local choices deserve your discerning decision-making. Let me name two.

In Silicon Valley, two of our greatest concerns are the flip side of the same coin; too much traffic and a lack of homes our families can afford. That warrants a close look at Measures A and B.

Measure A is an affordable housing bond, with a principal focus on homeless housing for the estimated 7,500 people without shelter on any given night. Currently, the cost of services, shelter and public safety associated with the band-aid approach we have taken to address our homeless crisis is $500 million annually. Measure A, with a “Housing First” model, could provide safe housing and services for as many as 5,000 people currently on the streets and near our creeks.

Measure B is our traffic relief & road repair initiative, carefully crafted over years of effort with thousands of everyday citizens’ actively engaged in 48 public hearings. Built by traffic engineers and transportation directors, Measure B would provide meaningful countywide congestion relief, cost-effective transit options and a significant focus on the crumbling conditions of our local streets and roads. It’s positive impact on our economy, including local employers small and large, has earned the unanimous endorsement of all 13 Chambers of Commerce, from Palo Alto in the north to Gilroy in the south, representing tens of thousands of small and mid-sized businesses. Learn more at

In many ways, this election season’s ugliness at the “top of the ticket” seems more like a “race to the bottom.” But when voting, make your voice heard. Join me; don’t stop at the top.


Vision of the Future: Young Men’s Leadership Summit

By Paul Escobar, Senior Associate, Policy and Foundation Programs

You can’t be what you can’t see.

It’s a familiar story for us now: 51 percent of Silicon Valley 8th graders did not meet the state’s standards of mathematics proficiency last academic year. Here is another statistic: 58 percent of Silicon Valley’s high-tech STEM workforce is foreign born, compared to only 2 percent that are of Hispanic/Latino background.

These two figures tell a powerful story: We are not adequately preparing Silicon Valley students—especially students of minority backgrounds and from disadvantaged communities—for the innovation economy so centrally important to the region. This lack of preparation results in lack of representation in the high-tech workplace.

It is not, however, simply an issue of preparation. Perception is also an issue—students cannot be what they cannot see or to which they do not have immediate access. It is far more challenging for a student to embrace the possibility of having a career in robotics, artificial intelligence or engineering if they do not know what those careers are really like, if they have never met a person who has one of those jobs.

The goal of the Young Men’s Leadership Summit is to address this gap in perception and understanding. Our vision at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group is a Silicon Valley workforce reflective and celebratory of the diversity of our region. The Young Men’s Leadership Summit inspires underrepresented middle school boys to share in this vision. From direct interaction with adult mentors from our member companies to hearing from a range of STEM professionals and disciplines, the Young Men’s Leadership Summit helps young boys internalize the possibilities available to them and their ability to achieve them.

At this year’s summit, the Leadership Group is thrilled to announce that the following speakers and topics will be featured:

  • Space: NASA Astronaut Leland Melvin
  • Autonomous Vehicles: Tim Wong, NVIDIA
  • Virtual Reality: Patrick Rollo, InDepth Experience
  • Video Game Technology: Tobiah Zarlez, Microsoft

To learn more about the Young Men’s Leadership Summit, visit our website and watch this inspiring news report from last year’s summit.

For more information about how to participate, please contact Paul Escobar at or 408.501.7875.

Special thanks to our host, Santa Clara University. Additional thanks to our table sponsors AT&T, Silicon Valley Bank, the 49ers Foundation and the Western Digital Foundation.

On November 3rd, 2016, posted in: The Leader by , , ,