In Praise of Bridge Building: My Conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

One of the true joys of my work with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group over the past 23 years has been finding opportunities to build bridges between business leaders, public officials—of both parties—and the communities they serve—whether on the local, regional or national level. I believe the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s commitment to bringing diverse people together in common cause is responsible, in large part, for much of the success we’ve had over the years.

On Monday, January 13, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group continued our bridge building efforts as we hosted a special guest, U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club, as part of our ongoing non-partisan effort to strengthen ties between DC, our nation’s capitol, and Silicon Valley, the world’s innovation capitol.

The meeting was a great opportunity for our region’s tech executives to come together with our most senior State Department leadership and understand ways to align strategies for advancing economic growth and trade while enhancing global economic security.

This visit was made possible, in part, by the efforts of noted Silicon Valley executive, entrepreneur, philanthropist, friend—and fellow bridge builder—Keith Krach, who is now serving as Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment. Last October, it was my privilege and pleasure to present Keith with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s 2019 Spirit of Silicon Valley Lifetime Achievement Award, for his transformational leadership across a broad range of industries and sectors.

At the October event, which brought together more than 1,300 Silicon Valley leaders, Keith spoke of his conviction that ensuring economic growth and global economic security is a team sport—a partnership between the public and private sectors. Great place for a bridge, I’d say.

So this week it has been a distinct pleasure to host another bridge builder here in the Bay Area. Secretary Pompeo and I had a far-ranging discussion about connecting the Silicon Valley business community and the global economic security interests that benefit us all. I believe the event was a positive step in the direction of creating more understanding, more common ground, and more of the bridges that connect us all.

You can read a transcript of Secretary Pompeo’s remarks and our on-stage interview here, on the State Department website.

– Carl Guardino, President and CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group | January 16, 2019