Thomas Friedman to provide global perspective at California Economic Summit

150 150 California Economic Summit

SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The first-ever California Economic Summit will feature internationally known author and columnist Thomas Friedman on May 11, in Santa Clara, California. Friedman has written extensively about the global economy and how the U.S. must better compete.

The Summit is an unprecedented effort to bring together the diverse regions of California to create an action agenda focused on improving business conditions in the state.

“We are holding the Summit to improve job creation and better position the state to compete in the global economy,” said Lenny Mendonca, Chair of the Summit Steering Committee. “To discuss these issues with Tom Friedman who understands the global economy so well, will set the tone for our work at the Summit and beyond.”

California is made up of a series of regional economies, an important but often unappreciated fact.  The May Summit will engage Californians from around the state who have participated in fourteen (14) Regional Forums in the last 60 days to analyze their region’s potential for job growth and improving California’s economic competitiveness.

The Summit will tackle four main subject areas; how to better prepare the workforce, how to increase infrastructure investment, how to encourage innovation, and how to reduce regulatory uncertainty.

In addition, organizers recently added a focus on access to capital for businesses to the Summit policy framework, called Smart Capital.

“Adding the Smart Capital section makes sense. In many of our regional economic forums, it was mentioned as a significant barrier, in particular for small businesses and entrepreneurs,” added Mendonca, who is a director at McKinsey and Company in San Francisco.

The Summit’s policy framework is based on recommendations from three statewide reports on the California economy.  Once the Summit has concluded, the recommendations will be published on the website and distributed throughout California.  Regional Champions who have been identified through the process will work as Action Teams to promote initiatives to state and local policy makers. 

The Summit, which is expected to become an annual event, will be held at the Santa Clara Convention Center beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, May 11.

The California Economic Summit (  is an unprecedented effort to develop job creation and increase competitiveness in the state. The framework for the Summit is based upon recent reports developed by the Think Long Committee for California, the Brookings Institute/McKinsey Global Institute, the California Stewardship Network and California Forward. The Summit is hosted by California Forward, a bipartisan government reform effort engaging regional leaders to improve performance and democracy ( and the California Stewardship Network, an alliance of regional partnerships promoting California’s economic vitality (


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