Dr. Anthony Fauci gave a sobering assessment of the state of COVID-19 to roughly 2,000 virtually assembled community leaders, business executives, and elected officials in attendance at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s Annual Forum. Dr. Fauci was interviewed by SVLG CEO Ahmad Thomas, himself the son of a retired nurse and husband of a doctor at Stanford.
“Unless we do something to turn this around, we are going to have a very difficult, very painful winter,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Fauci also described himself as “cautiously optimistic” on the vaccine candidates moving through the official process, which he described as possibly being available for distribution over the “subsequent 5-6 months of 2021.” In response to the direct question, he vowed to be very open with the American public about his impression of whether it will be safe and effective.
The forum generated news along other fronts after Dr. Lisa Su, AMD President & CEO was awarded the Spirit of Silicon Valley Award. In a virtual fireside chat with Synopsis Chairman & Co-CEO Aart de Geus, who asked her about driving AMD’s $35 billion purchase this week of Xilinx. She said, “We are thrilled, absolutely thrilled at the acquisition of Xilinx…incredibly good company, incredibly good people.”
Finally, in the area of Diversity and Inclusion, the SVLG launched its new Inclusive Conversations by hosting a range of guests that included Melonie Parker, Google’s chief diversity officer. Parker talked about Google’s recent commitments to doubling their Black workforce and increasing leadership from underrepresented communities over the next five years.
“Our commitments are really ensuring that we’re growing the workforce and opening up opportunities at an even greater and faster rate for folks from underrepresented groups,” said Parker.
The series also featured in-depth conversations with Revathi Advaithi, CEO of Flex on her recent appointment to the boards of Uber and Catalyst, a non-profit focused on women in leadership, and with Assemblymember Chris Holden discussing his bill, AB979, and how its recent passage will affect boardroom diversity. The new series of talks come at a time when racial justice and equity issues are increasingly dominating the corporate conversation in Silicon Valley.
“I couldn’t have asked for a more impactful event in my debut as SVLG CEO,” said Ahmad Thomas.