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CEO Leadership Alliance Orange County | Working together to build a thriving Orange County for all.
Mark Percy, President, CLA-OC Welcome to OC Leader Wire
A bi-monthly update from CEO Leadership Alliance of Orange County


With our refined mission of strengthening OC innovation talent development and retention, concentrated around AI-infused emerging technologies, CLA-OC has begun to build a talent pipeline in key growth sectors with pilot programs at all levels from high school students through working adults. The skills gap is huge and the tightest labor market in memory is proving fertile ground for new thinking and approaches.

Of note in this issue of OC Leader Wire, we highlight a grant opportunity that could supercharge our collective talent pipeline development efforts. You will be hearing more about the Good Jobs Challenge over the next 3 months.

We also summarize our recent CLA Executive Committee meeting and the tremendous success of our annual Leadership Event. We also profile Dr. Richard Arum, who has stepped up to Chair our Talent-Leadership Advisory Board.

Finally, we are thrilled to welcome three new members, including Matt Lough of Amazon Web Services to our Executive Committee, as well as Wendy Rogers, CEO/CTO of LPA Design Studios, and Arun Cavale, Principal and CEO of NexInfo.

For a thriving OC,

Mark Percy
Mark Percy
CEO Leadership Alliance of Orange County
CLA-OC to Engage Community on Good Jobs Challenge Grant Opportunity

The EDA's American Rescue Plan Act, passed in March 2021 as part of the COVID-19 recovery funding package, includes an unprecedented $500M for the Good Jobs Challenge. EDA will select up to 50 regions of the country to receive up to $25M each to support training for in-demand skills. This once-in-a-generation opportunity directly aligns with our collective vision of "a thriving OC for all" by developing OC into a premier, inclusive talent hub.
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To take advantage of this opportunity, CLA-OC is collaborating with a number of community and industry partners to make sure OC wins funding to sustainably scale this vision and catapult OC into a nationally recognized talent region, focused on building a diverse pipeline of talent with AI-infused skills. Our ability to win this extraordinary funding requires a collaborative approach leveraging our joint power as a business-led organization.

To have your organization be included as part of this regional coalition, please contact Jasmine Pachnanda, SVP Artificial Intelligence SoCal Initiative, at [email protected].
Feature News Executive Committee & Learning Event Update

CLA-OC's executive committee convened at the end of August to build upon its refined mission statement and deepen consensus on its vision for longer-term outcomes.

Guest speaker Dr. Jim Doti, President emeritus at Chapman University, introduced the calculation methodology behind the new Innovation Index, developed by Chapman in collaboration with UCI and CLA-OC. The Innovation Index benchmarks the performance of regional metro areas based on their attraction of innovation sector jobs, including those in Measure and Control, Aerospace, and Scientific Research and Development. The index identified San Diego as a top-performing region over the past 15 years, and the group discussed a number of issues and questions related to regional innovation economies.

Volunteer Chair of CLA-OC's Talent Leadership Advisory Board (T-LAB), Dr. Richard Arum was introduced at the meeting. His remarks focused on innovation and the need to identify critical skills OC employers want and need. Dr. Arum stressed the importance of aligning the K12 system with colleges and careers, and how CLA-OC's Career Exploration Experiences provide the ability to measure these skills and scale the pilot programs to a wider student population.

As part of CLA-OC's Annual Leadership Event, UC Irvine's Dean of the Merage School of Business, Dr. Ian Williamson led a group of CHRO's through a discussion focused on the value of investing in developing local talent. Called "Surviving to Thriving: Shaping OC's future through the development and retention of innovation talent," Dr. Williamson's program drew upon research and case studies from a wide variety of sectors, and provided a guide for companies to form resilient talent pipelines that positively impact both organizational- and community-level outcomes.
Spotlight: T-LAB Chair Richard Arum

UCI Dean of Education Dr. Richard Arum will serve as volunteer Chair of the CEO Leadership Alliance-Orange County's (CLA-OC) Talent Leadership Advisory Board, announced CLA-OC President Mark Percy. Known as T-LAB, the Talent Leadership Advisory Board is a business-led coalition working collaboratively with leading education stakeholders on K-Career systems alignment.
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"I am grateful for the opportunity to partner with the CEO Leadership Alliance, local firms and K-16 schools in their work to provide career training and opportunities for Orange County youth," said Dr. Arum. "Measurement of these programs' impact and effectiveness is essential to ensuring that we collectively develop the capacity to promote the type of workforce training and regional economic development needed for all Orange County residents to lead productive and meaningful lives."

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One Week Left to Enter My OC Video Challenge

We have a great opportunity for each Orange County city to highlight authentic stories and first-hand perspectives on life and the exciting professional opportunities in our wonderfully diverse communities. It's our goal to represent ALL cities in Orange County. Some cities have multiple entries but quite a few have none so don't let your city miss out!

The My OC Video Challenge entry deadline has been extended one week, and will close Friday, November 5. We need residents in each city to record a short video sharing why they love where they live and work. 34 city ambassadors will be selected and there will be one grand prize winner to receive a $25k merchandise bundle.
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These videos will be featured on the website. It is increasingly used by CLA-OC members and other OC businesses to attract professionals considering planting roots here, plus better branding of OC as one of the top innovation hubs in the nation, importantly allowing us to retain talent here.

For inspiration, you can watch a recent submission from a San Clemente resident.

For more information and to submit your entry, click below.

Enter Now
Feature News CLA-OC Featured in WIRED Magazine

CLA-OC's Jasmine Pachnanda discusses AI employment in the OC region in this timely Wired Magazine article.

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Membership News: Welcoming Our New Members
CLA-OC Welcomes New Members

Matt Lough New Executive Committee Member
Matt Lough

Matt Lough leads the sales strategy and go-to-market activities for Amazon Web Services (AWS) US Public Sector - State, Local Government, and Education markets for the Southwest US. With over than 24 years of experience in the technology industry, Mr. Lough has held roles with increasing responsibility leading teams building solutions for customers and partners. In his current role he leads a team of cloud professionals in sales, engineering, business development and partner relations.

Wendy Rogers New General Member
Wendy Rogers
CEO & Chief Talent Officer, LPA

Wendy Rogers is CEO and Chief Talent Officer of LPA Design Studios, an integrated design firm dedicated to creating projects that innovate, inspire and improve people's lives. Wendy leads a team of more than 400 architects, engineers, landscape architects and interior designers in California and Texas. The firm embraces an inclusive and collaborative approach to create sustainable, timeless and resilient designs for corporate, educational, healthcare, recreation and municipal projects. LPA was recently honored as American Institute of Architects (AIA) California's 2021 Firm of the Year.

Arun Cavale New General Member
Arun Cavale
CEO, NexInfo Solutions

A thought leader with rich experience across industries in supply chain and product lifecycle domains, Arun provides strategic leadership and oversees the company's operations. His 30+ years of industry experience in successfully fusing business processes with technology, is the foundation for NexInfo's core competency of improving business processes leveraging leading edge business applications and technology. He along with his team have delivered successful business process transformations in enterprise resource planning (ERP), supply chain, product and quality management for the likes of Motorola, Toshiba, Gilead Sciences, Biogen, and many others.

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