Cisco: Worldwide leader in IT, powering an inclusive future for all.

Company type

Large company




San Jose, US

News (13)

  • Company life

    Healthy forests: Tribal forestry and science innovations for disaster reduction

    Cisco Foundation grant partner Vibrant Planet Data Commons harmonizes cutting-edge science, open-source data, and Tribal Forestry to reduce the risk and severity of wildfires while speeding the pace of forest restoration. Forests are a vital part of a healthy planet: they store carbon, regulate the water cycle, produce oxygen, prevent erosion, and are among the most biodiverse places in the world. Forests are also important for us as humans: economically,physically, and even spiritually. There are few things I would rather do than spend quiet and peaceful moments among trees. And yet, the prevalence, severity, and devastation from forest fires is continuing to increase, as we’ve witnessed throughout 2023. In the United States, and in many other forested areas around the world, decades (if not centuries) of wildfire suppression as well as human-caused climate change can lead to catastrophic wildfires that that devastate communities, grab media attention, and pull at heartstrings across the globe. Recognizing that something must be done, the question now is how to speed up the pace and scale of forest restoration and mitigate devastating wildfires. After decades of fire suppression, natural forest systems are interrupted, making them susceptible to devastating fires like this one. Given that this is an incredibly complex and systemic set of issues, two avenues we can use to address wildfire mitigation include: 1) Data and 2) Management. This is where Cisco Foundation grant partner Vibrant Planet Data Commons comes in. VP Data Commons seeks to transform how our forests are managed by combining high-quality data packages with real-world stories from the forests themselves, with a particular focus on illustrating the many benefits of Indigenous forest practices. Data visualization of fire return intervals in the Yuba River Watershed, California (provided by VP Data Commons). Let’s start with data. When it comes to forest ecology and fire science, scientists and governments are generating excellent data, such as how much a forest has departed from its natural state, but to make that data accessible to decision makers can take significant time and resources. Once the data is collected, its proprietor may not have the capacity or tools to share the data in easily accessible ways or to do widespread storytelling, and certainly not to take the actions suggested by the data, such as restoration or preservation. Data around things like the overgrowth of forest understory and density of trees can be hard to generate in bulk while also being accurate at the local level, and it is often not collected with enough frequency nor promptly released to meet needs of the quickly changing climate crisis, or its resolution may be low. VP Data Commons’ solution is to be that missing link: they support data collection with innovative solutions, like High Altitude Balloons, often used for scientific exploration like making Earth or atmospheric observations, and in consultation from entities such as the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), they make it easy for scientists to share out their own data. VP Data Commons then serves as a repository for high-quality data packages, such as wildfire risk in the Yuba Watershed of California. Not only does VP Data Commons take the lead in this curation, but they also provide tutorials on using that data in other scientific analyses and in applying it to real world restoration efforts which addresses our second avenue: management. Long before European settlers arrived in what is now more commonly known as the United States, Indigenous people stewarded forests with a wide variety of sophisticated management techniques, including carefully planned intentional burns (known as “healthy fire”), for example. Even with high quality and usable data, many current forest management and restoration efforts led by public and private entities still face problems of cohesion and are typically disconnected from previous and highly successful Indigenous forest-stewardship practices. A Kalispel Tribal member walking through their forest. Photo provided by the Kalispel Tribe. The depth and breadth of forest management practices in Indigenous communities is diverse, as are the ways by which such land stewards share their stories with the public. Recently, we had the privilege of hearing from Ray Entz, the Director of Wildlife and Terrestrial Resources at the Kalispel Tribe, and an Advisor to VP Data Commons. In his words: “Indigenous communities are far more sophisticated and ready to lead the design and implementation of large-scale forest restoration projects than previously recognized. Where partnerships and collaboration opportunities exist, Tribes can be powerful partners to large public land managers and communities that want to restore their forest ecosystems.” This Tribal leadership and partnership for restoration is so vital because, according to Ray: “We’re already seeing climate impacts that are stressing our forests and leading to significant changes. For example, many culturally important species, such as Western red cedar, are in steep decline.” The Kalispel Tribe is leading the recovery of 45,000 acres of forest in the Pacific Northwest, and in partnership with VP Data Commons, is developing data visualizations that will help policy makers and the public better understand, support, and prioritize Tribal land management. VP Data Commons seeks to support and uplift these vivid success stories and – with reciprocity and sensitivity – share with the world how data and Tribal stewardship can lead to resiliency in communities, forests, and ecosystems at large. In today’s world where deep healing and forest restoration are needed to avoid destructive fires, sequester carbon into thriving ecosystems, and improve livelihoods of local communities, a single shared vision is instrumental.  Dynamic, reciprocal, and innovative partnerships between entities such as nonprofit organizations, Tribal communities, governments, and scientists have the potential to provide high-impact, fast-acting forest restoration. These partnerships are not just possible, they are actively happening, with the Kalispel Tribe and VP Data Commons setting a harmonious example. Tying together all of these successful efforts, of course, is our dear friend: data. Overstocked, dense forests like this one can often benefit from active restoration, which can protect the larger surrounding area. Photo provided by the Kalispel Tribe. VP Data Commons and the Cisco Foundation share a similar vision where data is accessible and actionable, efforts are connected, and important voices are in the room where decisions are made, which – when all combined – can bring about the inclusive future we all strive for. In this context, it means more healthy fire and less extreme fire. It means we collectively value, honor, and center traditional Indigenous practices to be the main forest management paradigm. If you are a scientist with data getting stale, a funder seeking opportunities to support, or an tech expert looking to lend your skills, you can get in touch with Vibrant Planet Data Commons. As Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer, distinguished professor, scientist, enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, and Director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, wisely says: “To love a place is not enough. We must find ways to heal it.” – Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass

  • Company life

    How to Make the Best Out of A Day for Me at Cisco

    Who doesn’t enjoy an extended weekend? Yes, work is fun, keeps us interested and on our toes, but as humans, we all need breaks. One such break I experienced as an intern at Cisco was the Day For Me! It was the first time I had come across such a thing, and it was truly something I’d never heard of. On a recent Monday, most of my friends from other companies were working. However, I took the opportunity to spontaneously go on a small weekend getaway to the beach city of Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, India. It was a 6-hour journey by car, 345 km away from my hometown, Salem. I listened to music along the journey as the scenic views of the cotton-like clouds, bluish-grey lakes, brown hills, and green mountains mesmerized me. As poetic and exaggerative as it sounds, nature did do a number on me, leaving me with the curiosity to explore more, but the scorching heat of the sun kept me from leaving the car. In Chennai, I got to meet a childhood friend I hadn’t seen in a very long time, go on a shopping spree, enjoy some games at the play zone, take a stroll along the beautiful glistening waters of the beaches at night, and even try out the delicious and mouth-watering South Indian seafood cuisine. Oh, and did I mention? I also took some beautiful pictures for my Instagram. Drinking cup after cup of filter coffee, eating some tirunelveli halwa (an Indian sweet), sipping on a strong glass of cardamom tea, and savouring some fresh mangoes, I knew those flavours were going to be remembered for a lifetime and will take me back to Tamil Nadu soon. The best part is that I was able to wind down without having to rush back to anything. That’s because one of the biggest benefits of the Day for Me is that everyone at Cisco enjoys the same day off each quarter. So, no one returns to an inbox full of unanswered emails or Webex messages to catch up on. We all start the week fresh and refreshed together. My Key Takeaways A Day for Me Needn’t Be Extravagant. We needn’t make a perfectly pre-planned and structured trip or getaway. It can simply be spending a day doing what we enjoy the most, be it painting, watching a movie, or simply doing nothing. Take a day to turn off all devices, shut down the outside noises, and tune into a quieter, slower life. It’s the Small Things That Count. It isn’t about the expensive business class ticket or the hotel suite, but the moments and the memories, like looking outside a cafe with a beautiful view, reading a book when it rains, sitting around watching your favourite show with loved ones, or jogging on an empty pathway with earphones in that really counts. Slow Down, and Be Grateful. We tend to get caught up in a competitive cycle of either stepping up a hierarchy or targeting to make more money so often that we forget how necessary it is to slow down, pause, look around, cherish what we have right now, and be grateful about it. It isn’t the goal but the progress and journey we should focus on. With Cisco, I’ve had this chance to rediscover my long-lost skill and love for writing. The opportunities I get to put myself out there are numerous. It’s been 5 months here, the 6th running, and I wouldn’t change a thing. There is so much to learn from so many inspiring people in and around my department, across the globe, and as I embark on this beautiful pathway, I will always come back to my days as an intern and how it all began. As Cisco employees, we all have first-hand experience with the perfect work-life balance, flexibility, and well-being prioritization. To make the best out of it lies in our hands. Although I had heard so much about Cisco’s commitment to its employees before starting, I was able to truly cherish every moment of it throughout this internship. And honestly, I can’t wait for my full-time role to begin to explore more as a Cisco TAC Engineer and enjoy more Days for Me! Interested in a Cisco internship? Explore opportunities with Emerging Talent.

  • Company life

    Discovering a Better Version of Myself Through Inclusive Communities

    The pandemic was a unique time. Suddenly the world was forced to reconcile with a virus and social distancing. It was tough! A human being is a social being. We cannot live disconnected or in isolation for extended periods of time. When Cisco reopened its campus, it was a new lease on life for me. Just the act of waking up in the morning, dressing up, and coming to the office was a blessing. As more and more started coming back to the RTP campus, I started exploring campus opportunities and events that made Cisco a great place to work. As I was scrolling Webex messages one day, I saw a leadership opportunity advert that caught my eye. ICON RTP — Indians Connecting Network Inclusive Community, (formerly known as) Employee Resource Organization — was looking for a new Chapter Lead. I regularly volunteer with the Women of Cisco Inclusive Community. I enjoyed the experience, but in my heart, I knew I wanted to do more. Without thinking twice, I applied for the Chapter Lead position. After a series of conversations with the Global Team leads, I was selected. That moment changed my life. I had no idea what to expect. I was immediately thrown into event managing Festival of Lights, ICON’s flagship event. It was a steep learning curve. A lot of things came down to the wire. After frantic phone calls, technical glitches, and excellent teamwork, we pulled off a miracle. It was the first ICON event on campus after several years. To add a cherry on top, we got a fantastic response! People were excited to come back to the campus to connect and network! Since we set the bar high with our flagship event, the ICON RTP community wanted to know what was next in the pipeline. With ICON’s flagship event under my belt, I grew more confident. I wanted to do more for the community. With the attrition in December, the overall mood was somber. The community needed support and a feel-good event. During one of my nature walks with my husband, I discussed ideas for where and how ICON could help the community. With Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors, just around the corner, my husband whimsically noted, “You should do a color run.” At first, I thought it was a preposterous idea. More than half of my team was gone. So, my first order of business was to put a core team together with people who were passionate enough to represent ICON values. More so, people with the same drive as me — to go above and beyond and put together meaningful community events. I feel blessed that I found the right people at the right time, people who shared my vision and passion for leading ICON to new heights. Once the idea was conceived, it was only natural to approach LifeConnections Fitness Center, Cisco’s on-site fitness center for employees, to become our partners for their experience conducting the “run” part of the “color run.” At that point, with ICON Global team’s blessing and support, we were able to pull off yet another magical event. ICON RTP’s Executive Sponsor, along with a few LifeConnections Health Center members enthusiastically participated in the fun run. With color stations strategically placed along the path, people were doused with a healthy dose of color as they made their way through the greenway trails to complete a 5K loop. The trails and parking lots of RTP were filled with a myriad of colors, food, music, fun, and lots of laughter. We added even more pizzazz to the occasion with a cleverly planned flash mob dance. Similarly, the ICON Austin team chose Holi, the Festival of Colors, as the event to officially launch their chapter. The Chapter Lead and leadership team kicked off the event by lighting diyas and speaking about the importance of cultural events and Inclusive Communities at Cisco locations globally. There was an overwhelming presence of Cisco employees, who joined in celebrating the day with much fanfare. For a moment, it looked like there were more people than they had the capacity to accommodate, but eventually, all things fell into place, and the crowd had a wonderful time during the 2+ hours of celebrations with songs, dances, music, and of course, colors! The ICON Poland Chapter followed suit and celebrated the vibrant Festival of Colors with equal enthusiasm at the Cisco Krakow office, where attendees joined the event in person and virtually. Leaders and guest speakers shared the significance of the Festival of Color and an inspiring life story associated with it. Fun activities like a Holi quiz, and fantastic dance performances, followed by scrumptious Indian food, took the festive atmosphere with colors galore to the next level! As I looked back at the events, I had a feeling of deep satisfaction and pride seeing my culture celebrated across the world. On a personal front, I was dealing with stress, overwhelm, and turmoil. Being a part of ICON RTP helped me connect, heal and grow. It made me accept my present reality yet focus on the positive side of life. It gave me exposure to other Inclusive Communities, their cultures, and individualities. It broadened my perspective and gave me a chance to explore my own strengths, creativity, and leadership capability. I learned to do things outside of my comfort zone, which made me appreciate the way Cisco operates as a company. As Oprah notes, “Your real work is to figure out where your power base is. And to work on the alignment of your personality — your gifts that you have to give — with the real reason why you’re here. That’s the number one thing you have to do, is to work on yourself … and to fill yourself up and keep your cup full. Keep yourself full.” If your own cup is empty, you will have nothing to give others. Being part of an Inclusive Community made me feel that I could keep refilling my cup by sharing joy with others. The more I gave, the more I received.  This year, Cisco topped the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For in the U.S. list for the third year in a row. Christian Bigsby, RTP’s SVP, Workplace Resources, attributed that in part to the vibrant Inclusive Communities that allow employees to express themselves and harness their passions. I completely concur with his assessment. According to Cisco’s Chief Social Impact Officer, Brian Tippens, “Inclusive Communities provide the ideal dynamic for establishing and growing one’s network.” Being part of an Inclusive Community that speaks to you is the quickest way to connect with like-minded individuals and find the strength, support, and motivation you need to be creative and productive at work. Better yet … be an elevated version of yourself, just as I’ve found. Cisco also provides us an environment where we can have a sustainable work-life balance. It is this, collectively, that makes Cisco the #1 company to work for. Are you ready to become the best version of yourself? Join our inclusive teams.

  • Company life

    Making an Impact – Empowering Girls in Mozambique

    During the rollercoaster of emotions 2020 brought, I decided to take action and become more involved with Cisco’s Inclusive Communities. It was something I had been telling myself that I would do for years. Now, I would make that happen. I started by joining our Women of Cisco Inclusive Community here in Portugal, and later in 2020 I was asked to co-lead our local chapter. What an honor! Not only was this a great way for me to stay connected to other Cisco employees, but it was a great way to stretch my skills and grow my career. The role entails creating meaningful sessions for our network and mentoring a GirlMover, an intern from Mozambique, for four weeks. As part of the program, they integrate the transformational leadership academy with a cascading mentorship program where young graduates are mentored by reference leaders and, in turn, mentor, support and protect other young girls in vulnerable situations. I was thrilled and enthusiastic with my new role and I was looking forward to the GirlMove partnership. Shortly after starting my role, I understood that we would not be able to welcome a GirlMover physically in the Cisco office, but we would have to do the four-week internship virtually. There is no denying that this shift was a challenge. I was stressed and even a tiny bit skeptical. Could we really embrace an intern from Mozambique and give her the same experience virtually? But there was no time to waste, either. Scheila was about to join our team! Scheila’s university research is about the use of drones in the National Public Salvation Service in Mozambique. The drones make it possible to see places that are difficult to access and help them to create better strategies and faster rescues of people in need. Scheila’s main interest for her internship was mainly engineering, and more precisely Cyber Security. Scheila was so eager to learn that our two meetings per week quickly turned into daily meetings. The Cisco teams were equally engaged in sharing their knowledge and experiences. I was amazed by Scheila’s curiosity and enthusiasm, and by the availability from all the Cisconians across Cisco Portugal. The internship gave Scheila valuable knowledge and information to support her with her research. The outcome of the four-week internship was exceptional for both our teams and Scheila. We were even able to send her a drone to continue her dynamic work. I’m so happy that we managed to also share Cisco’s values with Scheila, even though our time together was limited and virtual. She mentions in a video made for Cisco Portugal, “I saw during my internship that there is no difference between being a man or woman, all of us can do a career within Cisco. I also understand why Cisco is considered the #1 World’s Best Workplace – it is because Cisco allows their employees to be themselves.”. What I love about Cisco is that we are encouraged to give back and be active in our amazing communities. In addition, I also believe that Cisco is helping to guide us to become our best selves and making the world a better place to live in! I now know that being a part of Cisco’s Inclusive Communities really can change your life. If it wasn’t for Women of Cisco, I would have never met Scheila and the fantastic GirlMove organization. I learnt about the challenging situation for many girls and women in Mozambique, but also that we can make an impact together!

  • Company life

    Thankful for Hybrid Work at Cisco

    “I can’t because of work.” How many times have you heard someone say that, or even worse, uttered that phrase yourself? I’m betting it’s been far too many times, and it is soul crushing when you miss out on something that has personal meaning to you “because of work”. At Cisco, it’s different. I’ve experienced a very different phenomenon in my 11 years at Cisco where I’m able to do all the things that have meaning to me – the volunteer activities, community events, and being there for my family – BECAUSE of work. Thanks to the flexibility that Cisco offers and how they actively support volunteerism and work-life balance; if it’s important to you – it’s important to Cisco. And that makes all the difference to me. So, what have I been able to do because of that flexibility from Cisco? I have four kids (ages 4-14) and I decided early on that I wanted to take an active role in whatever activities and events they were involved in – whether it be school or sports or whatever else. On the school side, I’ve chaperoned just about every class trip my kids have been on – from pumpkin patches and museums to the Statue of Liberty and overnight camping. My personal favorite is that I’ve been the “house DJ” for our local elementary school the past few years, overseeing the music & emceeing for all their dances and formals throughout the year! On the youth sports side, I’ve coached baseball, basketball, and soccer – basically every sport my kids have done. And with soccer, I also served as president of our local non-profit youth sports organization that provides year-round soccer for hundreds of boys & girls in New Jersey. As it’s an entirely volunteer run organization, as president, I was responsible for pretty much everything from financials, marketing & PR to player/parent issues, painting field lines, coaching, and chairing our board meetings – which of course ran on Webex! You’re probably reading all this and wondering two things… 1. How many hours do you spend on these activities? I honestly couldn’t even tell you how many hours I’ve volunteered across these many activities but it’s like having a second job. 2. How do you balance it with work? Cisco allows me to do all this with a few key benefits: This year, Cisco has given employees a whopping EIGHTY hours that we can use for volunteer work at nonprofits and around our community. We’re told – “It’s Your Time. Your Cause. Your Passion.” I have made great use of those hours over the years – especially for events & activities that are held during the weekday or that I couldn’t do after normal work hours like chaperoning field trips. Cisco’s Work/Life Integration. I’m sure you’ve heard people say the 9-5 job is dead, and it’s been replaced by something much more balanced – something that works best (and uniquely) for each employee. I love that I’m not confined to working during a specific window as some of my most productive working time is after 10pm when my kids are in bed. I may be on calls with customers and colleagues from APJC when no one else in my house is awake or I may step out during lunch in between calls to paint the lines on a soccer field for the games the upcoming weekend. (Which is a great way to not only volunteer but also to mentally decompress and get a few extra steps in!) Plus, with tools like messaging in the Webex app and asynchronous video with VidCast, we have lots of collaboration options that are not just synchronous/real time. Being a remote worker. I’ve worked from home for the past 11 years – since my first day at Cisco. When I’m not traveling (which seems like a distant memory at this point!), my commute is walking down a flight of stairs to my basement office. The amount of time I save not having to commute adds up fast – and those are hours that I use much more productively (like spending time with my family) than sitting in horrendous New Jersey traffic!  This is one reason we’re seeing such a great rise in hybrid work. Many workers who left the office and finally got to experience this flexibility over the past year and half fell in love with it, and they’re not eager to give it up and return to the office. Support from my management chain. Having the policies is one thing. Having management that actively supports those policies is another. I have had a great experience at Cisco where my management chain has fully supported me in my various volunteer areas. There’s a reason Cisco is always at the top of the Best Places to Work surveys – and it’s not just because of our policies; it’s because our people up and down the hierarchy live and breathe our culture of flexibility. It takes A LOT of time and dedication to volunteer this much and be this involved. ALL these activities are important to me and provide me with a deep sense of fulfillment in life. But NONE of this would have been possible without the flexibility and support from Cisco. It’s what makes me proud and thankful that Cisco has not only led in technology but focuses on their people and leads in work/life balance, flexibility, and remote/hybrid work.

  • Recruitment

    Intern To Full-time Software Engineer: My Cisco Journey Has Just Begun

    As a computer science student in my senior year at Ben-Gurion University, I felt ready to take on an internship in the tech industry and contribute to their code. I wanted to maximize all the learning opportunities just before graduating and plunging into the world as a professional software engineer. I had long debated whether I wanted to gain experience within a startup or a large, established corporation. I even wrote about it briefly on my own personal LinkedIn. On the one hand, it was vital for me to join a company with a rich resume where I could learn from the greatest experts in the world. On the other hand, I wanted to jump into the deep end and develop something that thousands of users would enjoy as early as tomorrow. So when I received a call from Cisco and heard about an opportunity to be a part of Cisco Defense Orchestrator (CDO), a cloud-based app that manages policies across Cisco firewalls and public cloud infrastructure, I was pleased because it combined everything I was looking for. Finally, after a series of technical interviews and a home assignment, while I was on a ski vacation between the semesters, I received the following exciting email: It definitely made the vacation sweeter.  After weeks of anticipation, I began my internship as a software engineer at Cisco Tel Aviv as part of Cisco Defense Orchestrator. I joined an international team based in Boston, London, and Tel Aviv, and it was my first exposure to real-world software engineering. The six-month internship seemed to fly by as I learned and applied agile development practices. I delved into different programming languages, frameworks, and data management with the latest technologies, striving to gain a deep knowledge of everything I talked about and touched. I saw the importance of effective, consistent code structure and styles, and an impressive overall management structure that genuinely cares about each employee. Personally, one of the best moments I like as a programmer is the feeling when you try to solve a problem for several hours and rack your brain. Suddenly in one cosmic moment, the penny drops, everything connects, and the code works smoothly. Even as interns, we were encouraged to take on as many tasks as possible, get our hands dirty, and be given the freedom to problem-solve. An internship at Cisco is the best school you could ask for. I couldn’t have imagined learning as much as I did and getting to put so much of it into practice. Seeing excellent company culture motivates you to work hard, reach your full potential, and have fun along the way. Beyond the excellent reputation that Cisco has—the culture, company events, delicious food, and awesome giveaways—I’m delighted to feel that I managed to contribute to our product, meet and learn from brilliant people, and be part of a team that you can consult with, grow with, laugh with, and basically feels like a group of good friends. I hugely appreciated my manager, Tom Hollander, for constantly pushing me to delve into the aspects of being an awesome software engineer and leading the team to success in an inspiring manner. And now that I’ve graduated, I’m privileged to be one of the pioneers of the team that is taking shape in Israel as a full-time, permanent employee, and I look forward to continuing my career journey at Cisco!

  • Company life

    When Giving Back, Gives Back to You

    For many years, I searched for an organization and a way to give back to my LGBTQ+ community, to truly make an impact and a difference. I had experienced an array of volunteering in the past, but none offered the opportunity to contribute on a more meaningful level and to be actively involved until I discovered The Trevor Project—a leading U.S. organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. In May 2021, I started my training program with Trevor. Each week, I spent 4-6 hours in workshops, completing learning modules or performing scenario-based role plays for approximately four months. During this time, I began to doubt myself and my ability to be the effective counselor these youth contacts needed in their moment of crisis. Personally, I’ve always struggled with articulating what I’m really thinking and how I feel. This is a result of deeply-seeded personal shame and insecurity I carried throughout my adolescence and continue to work through as an adult from coming to terms with my sexual orientation. However, with the support, coaching, and positive reinforcement from the staff at Trevor, I successfully completed my training program and began taking live calls in the fall. I remember my first call vividly. My hands were shaking, sweat was beading on my face, and my heart was racing. I clicked accept, started my introduction, and from there, I’ve continued to grow, learning how to create a space for each contact to be heard. Each call and week are different. When I first started, I found it difficult because I innately wanted to fix things or tell the caller what to do. I had to reframe my mindset for this type of work and understand I am there to create a safe space for a contact to share what and how they feel and ensure they are safe. This was not an easy shift, especially when listening to individuals experiencing pain, unhappiness, those who are scared, and cannot see a path forward in their world. Every call comes with its own set of challenges. I remind myself each time I am there for the person on the other end of the phone, listening, and that is enough. My experience as a counselor has been life-changing in so many ways. First, it’s opened my eyes to continued inequality and the work our society needs to do to support the LGBTQ+ community. Secondly, it’s allowed me to grow and become a more compassionate, patient, and understanding person. Most importantly, it’s allowing me the opportunity to prevent a generation from experiencing the personal shame that many LGBTQ+ individuals develop and carry for life, making them feel insecure, unaccepted and unloved. Every Monday at 4 p.m., I sign off early from my Cisco role to begin my counselor duties with Trevor. Cisco is a strong supporter of its employees, encouraging us to give back to our communities and providing 40 hours a year of paid time off for volunteering, increasing that Time2Give benefit to 80 hours this year. In addition to the paid time off, Cisco donates $10 for every hour an employee volunteers to their chosen and approved organization, as well as other donation matching opportunities. This support is more important than ever, as more than 200,000 calls and texts pour into the Trevor Project from across the U.S. Over the last ten years, so many people at Cisco have not realized how they have made a difference in allowing me to accept myself and be my true self. My journey to feeling comfortable and confident speaking about my personal life, relationships and orientation has taken time, especially earlier in my career—and look at me now sharing in this forum made possible by Cisco!

  • Other

    How an Unexpected Conversation Launched My Cisco Career Journey

    When I entered the workforce, Cisco was never on my radar. I was complacent at the company I worked for and had every intention of retiring from that company. I felt I had everything I could want. One day, while taking my son to a birthday party, I had a conversation with another woman who worked for Cisco. As we exchanged dialogue, she invited me to explore her role and encouraged me to apply for an open High Touch Operations Manager (HTOM) position. I had no intentions of leaving the company I was working for, but I decided to at least apply for the role to sharpen my interviewing skills. Little did I know, this unexpected conversation would lead to a fantastic career journey. When I went through the interview process, there was something different about Cisco. Maybe it was the warm greeting from the lobby ambassador or the joy I felt watching engineers from the technical assistance center (TAC) playing in the game room to let off steam. Or maybe it was the nap pods I witnessed, which allowed employees to take a nap to recharge their brains. Whatever it was, everything about the culture of the company excited me. I gladly accepted the offer because I wanted Cisco to be my new home. Almost 15 years later, I’m still here and loving it. Although I started as a High Touch Operations Manager, I had the opportunity to move into various roles within the company, including service delivery roles. I was serving as a Services Operational Leader, supporting one of our sales territories, when I decided to take a leap of faith and accepted a position totally out of my comfort zone. I was promoted to Director and moved into a role supporting a team responsible for the go-to-market strategy for a few of our Cisco Managed Services. It was exciting and scary all at the same time, but I was up for the challenge. I had a phenomenal team of high performers. All my immediate direct reports were in the UK, and it was an excellent opportunity to expand my global leadership capabilities while also learning and stretching myself. Then one day, a rebalance occurred, and the team was dismantled. It was an unexpected turn of events for our team, but it allowed me an opportunity to move into the role I am in today. Now, I am the Community Leader for more than three thousand managers across the globe as part of one of our larger business units, combining Operations and Customer Experience. In this role, I work with our enablement teams and People and Communities (HR) to ensure our managers have everything they need to succeed. I also act as the community’s voice back to our senior leadership. Another great thing about the opportunity is working with a fantastic team of other global community leaders. Creating a sense of community for managers has been my sweet spot. I never imagined having an opportunity where I could utilize my passion for helping others while also creating opportunities to focus on leadership development, well-being, etc. If you had told me five years ago that I would have this type of role, I probably would not have believed it. I love the culture of the company. Not only do Cisco employees have the ability to find roles that meet our strengths, but we also have the opportunity to serve in stretch assignments that align with our passion. I was the Global Co-Leader for Our Connected Black Professionals Inclusive Community for many years. I now serve as the Global Wellbeing Leader for the community. Why does this stretch assignment excite me? Outside of Cisco, I have a passion for health and wellness. This stretch assignment has given me the ability to take my passion to the workplace. I created a global well-being strategy for the community, including physical, emotional/mental, financial, and social well-being. I now have a team working and developing strategic programs specifically for our Inclusive Community as it relates to these focus areas. As if that’s not fun enough, I also work with our Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Social Justice team, serving as an Executive Sponsor for two HBCUs. The ability to balance my daily work activities with these stretch assignments gives me a satisfaction that I never expected in Corporate America. I previously felt I had everything I could want at work, but now I know how exciting it is when you can work and have a passion for it. It’s said you have the opportunity to have many careers at this company. I have lived that through my Cisco journey. I would never have imagined that an unexpected conversation and turn of events would allow me to still be at Cisco in a role impacting many people, while also doing stretch assignments that are so fulfilling. I love what I do, and I’m excited to see where this journey will take me in the future. I suspect this, by far, is not the end of the journey.