Today. Tomorrow. Transformed. This was the theme of the second annual Cisco Empowered Women’s Network (CiscoEWN) forum at Cisco Live. And what a great week of transformation it was, and a great way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Cisco Live! Sorry for the long blog post, but it was an exciting week for us!
CiscoEWN is a global community of highly motivated, professional women, as well as a forum for Cisco customers, partners and employees to network and motivate one another at Cisco Live and in virtual and live events throughout the year. Our founders and Executive Sponsors highlight our goals for CiscoEWN at Cisco Live US in San Francisco this year:
CiscoEWN sponsored several activities during the week each of which gave the opportunity for women in technology and our male allies to gather together and network, learn from and empower each other.
We kicked off the week with the CiscoEWN Forum on Sunday, a four-hour event with a packed agenda of mentoring sessions, panels, and keynotes. Here’s a recap of the afternoon:
Over 450 men and women, including Cisco employees, customers and partners, attended (up from 250 attendees last year!).
50 executive mentors shared life experiences and offered advice in an icebreaker mentoring session with attendees.
Cisco President and COO Gary Moore shared his thoughts on why diversity and inclusion is important for business.
Exactly one year ago, during the launch of the Cisco Empowered Women’s Network at Cisco Live Orlando, we asked the audience: “What would you do if you were not afraid?” On that day, we couldn’t have imagined the incredible journey we would take in answering that question and, ultimately, in building the Cisco Empowered Women’s Network (CiscoEWN).
CiscoEWN was created out of a collaboration between myself, Priscila David (Director, Systems Engineering, US Commercial East); Rima Alameddine (Sales Director, Enterprise NY); and Anuja Singh (Manager, Systems Engineering, Public Sector). All three of us work in the field sales organization at Cisco and have daily interactions with customers and partners. We realized that Read More »
I recently attended the annual Leadership Conference, sponsored by Simmons College, considered to be the world’s premier professional development event for women. This year’s theme was “Jumping the Curve,” stepping away from the familiar and stepping up to the unknown.
While I have been engaged with the conference for the past several years, I find each year’s experience to be something special and I continue to be humbled and inspired by the journeys of many of the participants. I wanted to share some of the ideas that stuck with me. The following advice may not be new, but I find it worth repeating – and relevant to women and men.
Don’t be afraid to take risks: With every new endeavor, you’ll gain new experiences and expand your network. Along the way, you’re likely to gain new sponsors and potential advocates.
Invest in networking: Stay connected with your professional and personal contacts. And when you connect and collaborate, if you serve as mentor or mentee, be sure to be clear on objectives to foster a successful relationship.
Dare to compete: Be confident in your abilities, and don’t be afraid to step into the ring. Keynote speaker Hilary Clinton addressed this keenly, noting that male colleagues are more likely to raise their hands regardless of qualifications.
Be patient and adapt quickly: The very funny and talented Rita Moreno spoke from experience as a successful entertainer who overcame years of struggle against Hollywood typecasting. She reminded us that success rarely comes overnight—there are many struggles to overcome, and we must be flexible to succeed.
Don’t just judge; act with purpose: We all harbor some unconscious bias toward others, and that can affect our actions. Instead of judging, listen actively and take action on what you can control and change. As Gandhi once said, “Be careful of your thoughts, for they become your words. Be careful of your words, for they become your actions. Be careful of your actions, for they become your legacy.”
These points of advice can serve us well if we put them into practice, but just how do we do that?
Please take a moment to share your strategies for jumping the curve in the comments section, or continue the discussion on Twitter.
Since publishing this blog, I’ve been touched by the number of people who have reached out to me, both from within Cisco and outside of Cisco from other companies, to find out more about how to set up a successful Reverse Mentoring program. Their interest inspired me to write this blog on 10 simple steps you can use to set up a Reverse Mentoring Program. Read More »
Video featuring Cisco employees sharing their experiences transitioning out of the military into the civilian workforce
Veterans Corporate Technology Day (VCTD) at Cisco Systems will take place this year on Thursday, November 7, 2013. The day brings U.S. military personnel, spouses and caregivers to Cisco campuses and exposes them to available resources as they potentially transition to the civilian workforce. Events will be hosted at the following locations:
Cisco San Antonio, Texas and Brook Army Medical Center (20 Vets)
Cisco Research Triangle Park, North Carolina and Ft Bragg (100 Vets)
Cisco Englewood, Colorado and Ft Carson and local Air Force entities (25 Vets)
Cisco San Jose, California (50 Vets)
Cisco Herndon, Virginia (100 Vets)
The multi-site event introduces mentorship programs and educational resources. To register, Read More »