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Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month

May is the Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. For those who aren’t familiar, the Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month in May commemorates two major United States events in the Asian American and Pacific Islander history --The first group of Japanese immigrants arrived in America on May 7, 1843 and the transcontinental railroad (thanks to the labor of many Chinese immigrants) was completed on May 10, 1869.  The month of May--to celebrate the Asian-Pacific American traditions, culture, and history--was officially designated by the Congress in the 1990s.

It is June and although this seems a little belated, technically speaking, every month or day for the matter should be a celebration of whatever your heart desires--whether it is your family and friends, your culture, your favorite band… you name it! For Cisco, everyday is a day of inclusion and diversity, and it is evident in Cisco’s extensive efforts in supporting more than 10 different Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), participation and sponsor for world-wide inclusion and diversity events, and so much more.

At the Cisco Asian Affinity Network’s (CAAN) Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month celebration event on June 6, 2012, I learned that Cisco is recognized by Asia Society as a finalist in three different categories for the 2012 Diversity Leadership Forum Awards: (1) Best Company for Asian Pacific Americans to Develop Workforce Skills, (2) Best Company for Promotion into Senior Leadership, and (3) Best Company for Support of the Asian Pacific American Community.

CAAN’s event kickstarted with a brief welcome speech from Ed Hoy, the CAAN Cultural Events Track Lead and a Director at Cisco, who provided a brief overview of CAAN’s mission and goals. CAAN is a 1200+ ERG (San Jose based but open to Cisco employees worldwide) that “focuses on developing talent and leadership, connecting the Cisco Asian community with opportunities, and inspiring members to get involved in community outreach.”

More than 30 people were in attendance for the celebration event. As part of the fun & games portion of the event, attendees were asked to brake out into five separate teams for a trivia contest. Teams were tested on their knowledge of famous Asian movies, Asian landmarks, popular Asian dishes, and well-known Asians who have made a difference in arts and literature, the movie industry, and the fashion world. I learned a thing or two (or maybe 10+ different things) after the contest and figured I will need to brush up on my knowledge a bit more.

The event ended with a brief overview of CAAN’s seven tracks: (1) Professional & Leadership Development, (2) Business Development, (3) Community Services, (4) Partnerships & Associations, (5) Cultural Events, (6) Communications, and (7) Members Engagement, Recruiting, and Organizational Evolution.

The Business Development team mentioned that there is opportunity for any Cisco employees who speak an Asian language to volunteer to give Executive Briefing Center (EBC) tours (please leave a comment with your email address if interested).  Any business partners who need an EBC tour or Cisco product demo in an Asian native language can also feel free to reach out to our Business Development team (please also leave a comment if interested).

Lastly, the Professional & Leadership Development team will be hosting one of CAAN’s more popular roundtable events, “The Art of Taking Risks,” where executives from major companies will discuss how taking calculated risks in your career will aid in your professional and personal development.  This will take place on June 26, 1-3pm Pacific Time in San Jose, Building O, Chess Conference Room. WebEx will be available to those who can’t attend in person.

I’ll be there on June 26. Hope to see you there!

By the way, check out and join the CAAN internal community page if you’re a Cisco employee.

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