TheBridge profile: Charles Melton
Name: Charles Melton
Current city: San Francisco
Current job: Director, Government Relations and Tax Policy - Silicon Valley Leadership Group
Past job: Legislative and Communications Coordinator - University of California Office of Federal Governmental Relations
Q. Favorite spot for a coffee meeting: Sightglass in SF, Emissary in DC
Q. Job advice in three words? Innovate, Go Bold
Q. Describe one way how a skill you learned in a previous job helped you in your new job. Working in the House of Representatives, I received my share of meetings where the message and talking points were lost or not clear. Working in the University of California's Office of Federal Governmental Relations I learned how refine policy messaging and keep it relevant. At the Silicon Valley Leadership Group I take a complex policy topic and synthesize it so that an elected official or their staff can understand the issue. The key skill I learned is to be forward thinking and to take some risks in the communications strategy by using precise talking points, producing unique fact sheets and visualizing data to illustrate and emphasize the messaging.
Q. How are you (or your company, org, nonprofit) currently bridging the gap between politics and tech? Working on behalf of over 350 technology focused member companies, we work to build relationships between policymakers and tech companies. I plan our advocacy events (policy roundtables, fly-in days to Sacramento and Washington, D.C., and candidate forums) to directly connect tech companies with policymakers at the local, state and federal levels. I also assist in developing the communications tools and resources for our advocacy events and also manage the organization's tax policy portfolio (one of the nine policy priority areas of the organization).
Q: Best advice you’ve received?
When you are ahead of the curve, keep moving forward - but also be aware of where everyone else is and work even harder to help them advance.
Q: What can DC teach Silicon Valley?
Government does not need to be "disrupted" and it moves at a steady pace on purpose. Take the time to invest with legislators to help them understand tech and its ability to do good.
Q: What can Silicon Valley teach DC?
Tech moves fast, make mistakes, and is exploring new territories. Be willing to work alongside tech and encourage them to continue to make advancements.
Q: How often do you work from home?
Two days a week...and they are some of the most productive.
Q: Favorite restaurant?
Duke's Grocery in DC. San Tung in SF.
Q: How do you unwind after work?
A pint of homebrew, cooking dinner, making my partner laugh, ice cream.
Q: Startup to watch?
POPVOX - a great resource to see how constituents are engaged on policy issues and to connect them with their elected officials.