A late-evening phone call on March 10 from San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez set a course for what has become one of the most important efforts the Silicon Valley Leadership Group has ever undertaken — rising to meet the moment of the COVID-19 crisis.
The Silicon Valley Leadership Group is resolved to respond, regroup, rebuild and re-energize our region.
First, respond: Sparked by that March 10 call, the race to secure medical supplies and equipment for our hospitals and health care clinics started quickly and simply with a humble $1,000 personal check. It’s been a sprint since that evening, and as I write this, the need has been met with nearly $5.5 million of cash and in-kind contributions for Silicon Valley hospitals in need of surgical gloves, masks, face shields, ventilators and respirators. The mayor stood up Silicon Valley Strong with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, already exceeding $20 million for urgent housing and nutrition needs, and Supervisor Chavez has worked tirelessly to raise support and lead critical aspects of the county’s work during this time.
Second, regroup: Instead of 1,000 voices speaking at once, the Leadership Group prefers 1,000 voices speaking as one. Our Silicon Valley COVID-19 Aid Coalition, led by Dr. Brian Brennan, is bringing employers together — fierce competitors in the marketplace, fantastic collaborators in the community-space — to partner on global supply chains, sourcing of medical equipment and supplies, warehousing and pivoting manufacturing lines to build needed equipment. We want to drive efficiencies, avoid redundancies and ensure no critical medical needs fall through the cracks. Watching world-class employers like Intuitive Surgical redeploy manufacturing lines to produce desperately needed face shields for medical personnel and donate every single shield they manufacture to local hospitals and health clinics is but one example of what we can do when caring companies come together.
Third, rebuild: On March 16, Mayor Liccardo launched the “Silicon Valley Economic Recovery Council,” bringing together executives from business and labor, for-profit and nonprofit, to forge a path to rebuild our economy and put people back to work. Co-Chairs include AMD CEO Lisa Su, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, Silicon Valley Community Foundation CEO Nicole Taylor, Northern California Council of Carpenters Executive Officer Bob Alvarado and myself. Together, we will work to rebuild an economy that’s better for all of us. We must be thoughtful and collaborative, bringing all sectors of our economy together under the mayor’s direction to stand together as we stand up our economy. It’s why the Silicon Valley Leadership Group is pledging four staff members to help facilitate this effort, to further ensure successful outcomes that put families back to work and support employers committed to our communities.
Fourth, re-energize: What an opportunity we have! The Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s vision is to take this opportunity to not only rebuild Silicon Valley, but to make it better for all of us. This challenge has underscored our need for more digital inclusion, our clear need to better care for our homeless neighbors, and the critical need to support our residents who need sustainable jobs. And — it has underscored the tremendous value of innovation — online learning when schools are shuttered, remote work arrangements through technological innovation, medical advancements through biotech companies. Let’s build on these successes as we help rebuild our economy and our communities.
Respond, regroup, rebuild, re-energize. We stand taller when we stoop down to lift up others, and the COVID-19 challenge allows us a generational chance to make transformative change. Silicon Valley can and is better together.
– Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group | April 30, 2020