I’m authoring today on a return trip from San Francisco. I’m feeling refreshed after taking my daughter on several prospective college visits and from a business retreat with my closest engineering colleagues from the ACEC Senior Executive Institute (SEI) Class IV. It’s been rewarding to spend focused time with Olivia as she sorts through the college selection process. I also greatly appreciate the annual SEI senior leader gathering, with its opportunity for critical assessment of our firms, round table discussions, lively socializing, and the inherent opportunity to share our journeys toward fulfillment of personal and professional purpose.
During the trip, I spent time at Stanford University, at the U Cal San Francisco (UCSF) Parnassus Medical Campus, and in downtown San Francisco. It’s clear that the high tech industry, venture capital start-ups, and healthcare organizations are fueling economic recovery in the region. Growth is being catalyzed by the region’s cultural diversity, excellent institutions of higher learning, and through progressive community stewards that recognize the importance of embracing wide ranging perspectives, intellectually stimulating dialog, and a risk taking, entrepreneurial spirit. All these factors are contributing to the creativity, innovation, and growth that are occurring in San Francisco and the Silicon Valley.
It was clear during the admissions tour at Stanford and through observations at UCSF, that substantial effort is focused on recruiting students from broad geographies and diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds with the goal of maintaining a highly collaborative learning environment. In addition, significant corporate and individual philanthropy is being directed toward enhancing the higher learning experience. I was quite impressed, and Olivia is very excited by the prospect of tapping into the collective potential and resources found at these universities and in the region.
I was also very pleased to hear about renewed growth in the SEI firms during our two day retreat. After spending several days observing what was going on in the region, it really wasn’t a surprise to hear my colleagues share that their growth at locations across the U.S. is the result of corporate investment in culture-building programs, promotion of a purpose-based vision, collaboration, risk-taking and innovation.
I guess it can be said that the basic recipe for success is the same everywhere, whether in the Bay area, Silicon Valley, or in design firms scattered from coast to coast. I’m glad I was able to experience these past four days. My perspective has been broadened and inspired by many experiences on this trip, and I would be pleased to receive comments about your inspiring journeys of growth and success.
Keeping it real while on the road,