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Accelerating the shift to renewable power

July 10, 2013 at 8:00 am PST

When we announced Cisco’s new environmental sustainability goals, one goal continued to require the most clarification from both internal and external stakeholders:  having our corporate electricity emissions factor at half of the International Energy Agency (IEA) world average.

This goal, and it’s delicate wording, perhaps only makes sense to us sustainability nerds who are immersed in the Greenhouse Gas conversation…

Given the recent market report from the IEA on renewable energy, I thought a post would be useful to explain the reasoning behind this goal, and how it helps both Cisco and the planet by including this goal in our efforts.

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Networking Academy Students Hone Skills at Cisco Live!

This blog was written with Jess Wells and originally appeared on the Executive Symposium at Cisco Live!

As the Cisco Executive Symposium, IT Management Program, and Cisco Live open their doors, I’m reminded that it takes a village, and working hard in the village here are students from the Cisco Networking Academy who – alongside Cisco engineers – are building the wireless network to support the event.

Anybody who’s met me knows I love young people: their confidence, their honesty, the world of potential in their eyes. During my annual meet-and-greet with the academy students at Cisco Live I’m inspired by stories of mothers who have raised their children and now chosen network administration as their new career; of former U.S. Marines who now excel in cyber defense; of an academy student who dreams of living in Japan; of former teachers; a winner of the Army Achievement Medal while part of the Chemical Defense Program who’s now applying his determination to network defense. Each story a testimony to the ability to reinvent yourself, to adapt to changes in the economy, to follow a dream.

Ten students competed with essays and video to be selected from across the United States and Canada to attend. There’s also a large group of students from local Orlando-area academies — like Polk State University, DeVry, and Valencia College — that are also working the event as interns. A total of 40 students and 4 instructors over the course of the week — a large presence, which demonstrates the faith we have in the competence of our students! Many of them also plan to take their Cisco certification while onsite.

Founded in 1997, the Cisco Networking Academy program — with 10,000 academies in 165 countries --now teaches the skills needed to build, design, and maintain networks to hundreds of thousands of students worldwide every year. And to me, each one contains an inspiring story. Hats off to the Networking Academy!

Cisco Networking Academy Students Participate in “Workforce Olympics”

Olympic athletes train hard year round to be the best in their sport. Every 4 years we have the chance to watch them give it their all and compete on a global level.

Did you know that a similar event takes the most talented, skilled workers from around the world to compete head-to-head for a world title?

Welcome to the WorldSkills Competition, what a Cisco executive once described as the “Olympics of the skilled trades.”  This event is hosted by different host countries every 2 years:  this year Germany is the proud host and in 2015 it will be held in Brazil.

wordskills

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To Ignite Interest in STEM, Remember Our ‘Sputnik Moment’

This blog was originally published on the Huffington Post

As I watch the unfolding story of cyber outlaw Edward Snowden skipping around the globe, I’m struck by the talented young man who employers “fought over,” despite the fact that he had no formal STEM education. In contrast, the National STEM Conference in Austin last week brought together over 1,500 folks to ponder and discuss the critical need for more American students to be knowledgeable in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

While many young people today are brought up with some innate sense of these skills, as Snowden was, this conference dared us to imagine the innovation and creativity that could come from this future generation if they were provided the formal education to reach their full potential in these fields.

All the participants at the National STEM Conference brought diverse ideas to the table. Corporate leaders mixed with curriculum developers who chatted with government officials who socialized with teachers. More than one session and hallway chat highlighted the desperate need to interest and retain younger and younger students in STEM education. Fewer conversations occurred about the relevancy of field. Even fewer attendees spoke about their own education “journeys,” when a STEM learning moment drove them into their current career path.

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It Takes a Village to Green a City

June 24, 2013 at 5:00 am PST

Over the past 18 months, I’ve had the privilege to assist the City of Cleveland Office of Sustainability in developing a city-wide Climate Action Plan (CAP).  This scope of this plan is not limited to the city’s own operations, although there is a plan for that as well, but instead looks at the entire carbon and environmental footprint for the whole city, it’s inhabitants, businesses, everything!

It goes without saying that this in an enormous undertaking that very few cities have even tried.  My biggest take-away from participating in and observing the process is the importance of broad stakeholder engagement when working to improve environmental sustainability.  And that thought resonates when I consider the success factors for the programs that I have been a part of in private industry.  The team working on the CAP included 50 individuals with sustainability expertise representing government, private companies, and community organizations in the greater Cleveland region.

Since joining Cisco three years ago, my job has been to reduce the climate impact of Cisco’s internal operations.  We achieved our 2012 carbon reduction goals of 25% and are now gearing up for our 2017 goal of 40% reduction (for a 2007 baseline).  As a resident of Cleveland, I was excited to take my experiences at Cisco and volunteer my time and expertise to Cleveland’s project.

So why is it important to cast a wide net when engaging stakeholders?

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