Opinion: The Southern California Region as an AI Superhub

Jasmine Pachnanda
Jasmine Pachnanda - Senior Vice President

I am delighted to return to my hometown to lead CEO Leadership Alliance Orange County’s SoCal Artificial Intelligence (AI) Initiative to achieve our ultimate vision of “a thriving OC for all”. AI is a shared capability and accelerator across the flywheel of our CLA-OC strategy. It’s inspiring to see business leaders come together to use this influence, capital, and power to have a broader impact on society. 

Artificial intelligence has the potential to transform our world, contributing $22.17 Trillion to the global economy by 2030. Our vision is to build a top-tier innovation economy with connected deep talent pools, mentors, and world-class support services, fueled by abundant local capital.  Strong, equitable regions must be ready for the future with a skilled workforce. Competition is high. Winning the race for a world-class talent pool, from K-12 to post secondary, to reskilling and upskilling, is imperative for our success. Orange County can and should be a leader in optimizing this talent pipeline, building upon our strengths of diversity and economic vitality. 

CLA-OC already has a proven systems approach embedded in our strategy, working across talent, education, innovation, and branding. I want to be sure as we collaborate across all these areas — with business leaders or with education leaders — that we are keeping youth at the center, particularly for those who have the least access to opportunities. We have amazing talent right here. How can we change the system to create a cycle of talent that stays in Orange County? 

Part of the narrative we need to establish is Southern California’s prominence as a recognized AI superpower or SuperHub. We need to refine and execute the plan to get us there.  We need to consider what innovative tech businesses need and value out of their talent. It used to be an engineering degree from a top tech university, but as we dig deeper, we are seeing a much broader set of factors for success. OC has much more diversity in people and more diversity of thinking here than people realize. 

We want to be able to speed up the process of applying AI and enabling the region to benefit from it, while being intentional in our approach to avoid bias. We need to be sure we don’t let the technology run ahead of ethics. I want to ensure that we keep, at the center of our work, the idea of “for good.” So, we have to continuously ask ourselves, “what does that mean?” How are we moving toward that? Is this the right definition? And who else needs to be engaged as we work toward that definition?

In all we do, we will keep the idea of the greater good at the center and work toward that. I am proud to be a member of the CLA-OC team and I look forward to getting to know our business, education, and community leaders as we collaborate on the opportunities ahead.


Jasmine Pachnanda
Jasmine Pachnanda – Senior Vice President

Jasmine Pachnanda is Senior Vice President of The CEO Leadership Alliance of Orange County. CLA-OC was forged by the leaders of some of the most prominent companies in the county around a common purpose of creating a thriving OC for all.