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People With Disabilities Are Some of the World’s Most Influential

It’s estimated that approximately 10% of the world’s population has some type of disability. This makes people with disabilities not only the world’s largest minority, but also one of the most influential – the community is estimated to have an annual purchasing power of $220 billion in the US, $25 billion in Canada and £80 billion in the UK alone. That’s more than enough money to buy more Facebook stocks than the company can offer.

There is a clear business opportunity for companies who can create solutions to address this market in the race for top talent. There is also a clear advantage for companies who are able to Read More »

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Chief Diversity Officer Sandy Hoffman on Diversity and Technology

June 5, 2012 at 3:44 pm PST

I had a moment to chat recently with Sandy Hoffman, Cisco’s newly appointed chief diversity officer, and we spoke about her new role:

What does a chief diversity officer actually do?

At Cisco, I see my role as providing strategic leadership across the company on recruiting, advancing and retaining talented people in our multinational and multigenerational corporate environment. Additionally, I’ll partner with the business on embedding inclusion and diversity into existing business processes, improving the effectiveness of employee resource groups, and supporting supplier diversity.

What challenges/opportunities do you see for diversity in technology companies right now?

The changing business landscape indicates that by 2020 the workplace will be dramatically different. In order to remain competitive, companies need to create a workplace that is diverse and inclusive, adaptable, virtual, and global.

Technology companies in particular are facing challenges in the Read More »

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Celebrating Memorial Day in the U.S.

May 28, 2012 at 8:25 am PST

Here in the United States, we are observing Memorial Day today which honors those men and women that have laid down their lives in our nation’s service.  Here’s a fact I only learned recently about why the flag is only at half staff until noon:

On Memorial Day the flag is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day.

The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.

Here at Cisco, our military focused employee resource group (ERG) is just finishing up its annual spring care package drive to troops overseas.  It is always an education to get Read More »

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Embracing women into the technology industry

I was shocked to read that a well-known public speaker and moderator, Mads Christensen, made a number of inappropriate and insensitive remarks about women during a Dell-hosted customer and partner summit in Copenhagen in April. Since the remarks were made, which caused something of a growing firestorm on the Internet, Dell has issued a public apology on Google+ and re-confirmed itself as an “enthusiastic and committed advocate of women in business and IT”.

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Talking about my Generation

I recently read an article by Deloitte and something really caught my attention: voicemail.

Apparently voicemail is antiquated.  It’s out of touch. It’s not an efficient way to communicate with people.

Did you know that? I didn’t. But according to the same article, the reason I didn’t know is because I am too old.

I’m a Generation X-er. I’ve lived through the digital revolution. And whilst I, like any good Cisco employee, love the fruits of technology – the Internet, smartphones, SMS texts, blogs, IWE – I also remember a time when telephones had cords and emails were word-processed and delivered by postmen. And apparently that makes me a whole different ball-game to Generation Y-ers and “Millenials.”

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