Christy DingesThe Skyline College President’s Council convened its second annual Success Summit on Sept. 26 in the College’s Student and Community Center. The Summit was formed to create an avenue for solution-oriented discussion to meet the challenges of San Mateo County’s North Peninsula region. Event organizers challenge the roughly 120 participants from the local business, government, nonprofit, and College communities to “imagine a better future…close the gap between what is and what can be.” At the end of each summit, participants vote to select one initiative to tackle during the coming year.

This year’s Success Summit began with a progress update on last year’s selected initiative, “The Last Mile,” which sought to identify and create sustainable opportunities for the Skyline College community, including students, faculty and staff, to conveniently and economically travel to the campus. The challenge is a steep one; given Skyline College’s location and limited public transit options, travel time to campus can be 45 minutes, or upwards of an hour and 15 minutes.

Over the past year, the President’s Council has partnered with the City of San Bruno to identify areas where the city’s Climate Action Plan overlaps with the College’s needs, including reducing the number of single-occupancy cars traveling to campus. Other key partners include and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority.

Skyline Success SummitThe Council has also collected data to accurately assess how faculty, staff and students commute to campus. Unsurprisingly, the surveys found that commute starting points vary widely and that travel time (74%), convenience (56%), cost (48%) and reliability (26%) are the primary considerations students take into account when they commute to campus.

The Council is currently looking into funding shuttles traveling to and from the San Bruno BART Station and expanding carpool opportunities and flex peak time bus routes in order to create an affordable, timely and public transit-based solution to the issue of the Last Mile. Additional progress will be shared at next year’s event.

Following this update, this year’s Keynote Speaker, Christy Dinges, Vice President, People at social selling and fashion company Stella & Dot, delivered opening remarks on her company’s success in empowering women and her personal mission to “find your best self, help others do that too, and unlock their dreams.” Her remarks reflected the youth and energy of the Stella and Dot brand and she underscored the need to consistently innovate to stay relevant and successful.

Attendees then selected two of three separate breakout sessions that each explored a separate topic relating to the local community.

“What’s in it for us? Collectively Addressing the Socioeconomic Divide” aimed to address a vision for next steps to collaboratively meet community needs and address socioeconomic inequality, especially on Skyline College’s campus. The session was moderated by Nicole Pollack, Director, San Mateo County Workforce and Economic Development.

The second session, “City Manager Roundtable: Innovations for our Cities”, was moderated by State Assemblymember Kevin Mullen and hosted city managers from San Bruno, Daly City, Colma, Pacifica and South San Francisco. Each presented new programs in their city, followed by a question and answer period.

Finally, “Hidden Gems, Hidden Opportunities: What’s unique, what’s possible?” sought to address ways to promote, enhance and add to the resources and amenities of the San Mateo North County. The session was moderated by Anne LeClair, president and CEO of the San Mateo County/Silicon Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau

At the end of the sessions, participants came together to vote electronically on which issue they would take on in the coming year. Winning by a narrow margin was “Hidden Gems, Hidden Opportunities,” followed closely by “What’s in it for us?” As a result, the President’s Council will partner with community leaders to increase connection and collaboration and create a plan to spread the word about resources available in the North County over the coming year.

Article by Connor Fitzpatrick | Photos by Maryam Hadi