Russell Hancock, President & CEO, Joint Venture Silicon Valley – A Leader With A Purpose


SVT: Where do you work and what do you do?

RH: I am the president and CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, a group providing analysis and action on our regional challenges.

SVT: Where did you go to school and what was your area of study?

RH: I was an undergraduate at Harvard and studied government and economics. Then I came here to Stanford for a Ph.D. in political science, and I continue to teach in Stanford’s Public Policy Program.

SVT: What do you love most about what you do?

RH: I love so many things about my job! The people I work with inspire me. I also love that I get to be a bridge between the many various sectors, and facilitate people working together. The collaborative aspect of our work is also enormously appealing.


SVT: What have been some of your proudest achievements?

RH: I’m proud that we tackle hard problems that sometimes take several years before you see progress. I’m proud that we’ve taken difficult positions on things like Proposition 13. I’m proud that we’ve assembled the nation’s public sector largest power purchasing agreement to proliferate solar power. I’m very proud of the Smart Energy Enterprise Zone that we are doing with so many partners out at the Moffett Field Business Park.

SVT: What are some things you would like to see improved in community and are working on?

RH: I absolutely believe that the Bay Area needs to be more “regional” and by that I mean we need to come together around some new institutions for regional planning and decision making.

SVT: What are some of the things you produce that is of keen interest and benefit to the community?

RH: A lot of people make extensive use of the Silicon Valley Index, which we publish every February and release at the State of the Valley conference. It is a trove of data that tells Silicon Valley’s ongoing story. It’s also like a Rohrshach test out there, with everybody picking up on different pieces of the data.


SVT: What is the Saint Michael Trio?

RH: I actually lead a parallel life as a concert pianist. I travel and appear with symphony orchestras, and I also work with a fantastic violinist and cellist. The three of us are known as the Saint Michael Trio, and we are artists in residence at Montalvo. We also appear several times yearly at Stanford, and we are affiliated artists at Notre Dame de Namur University. Our albums are available on Amazon and iTunes.

SVT: Who makes up Saint Michael’s Trio and how did it all come about?

RH: I’m the pianist. The violinist is Daniel Cher and the cellist is Michel Flexer. Both are extraordinary musicians and all-around great guys.

SVT: What have been some of your favorite concerts and music halls?

RH: We’re just back from an engagement in the Assembly Hall in Salt Lake City and that’s a fantastic venue with an amazing acoustic. We also thoroughly enjoyed performing recently in a little-known jewel in the Midwest, Bismarck’s Symphony Hall. It’s a magnificent hall, and what a warm and generous audience! Here in the Bay Area we really enjoy performing in the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. Mountain View should be enormously proud of that facility, because it is very special. And we love Stanford’s Dinkelspiel Auditorium because even though it packs in 700 people it still feels intimate and the audience is very close to the stage.


SVT: What is some of the music you enjoy playing most?

RH: We love everything we play! We’re passionate about the classical masters, and this year we’re going killer on Beethoven, for example. But we also love doing contemporary music, jazz, fusion jazz, and even rock and roll. We just recorded an album of the fusion jazz of Claude Bolling, the great jazz pianist in Paris. We elaborated and expanded on his music in this CD and the composer liked it so much he wrote a very warm introduction for the liner notes.

SVT: What is some of the music your audiences enjoy hearing most and asking for?

RH: Our trademark is mixing everything into a single concert—classics and contemporary. Our audiences also seem to appreciate that we talk about the music in addition to playing it. At Stanford we do what we call “informances,” where we talk about a composer in depth, show slides, talk about the composer’s time and circumstances, and demonstrate the compositional devices.

SVT: How can people learning about you experience more in your popular network?

RH: We have an app that is available in the iTunes app store (“Saint Michael Trio”) and it streams our music and has lots of other interesting features. And of course we have a website ( and you can sign up for our mailing list.

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