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The Year in Retrospect–Perspective of a New Hire

It seems like only a year ago when I stepped in the Cisco office as a new hire fresh out of college. Oh wait, it was just a year ago when all this happened. Time flies when work is never dull and learning seems never-ending. I can go on and on about all the lessons I learned, awesome projects I got to witness and work on, the supportive team I work with, etcetera etcetera. Instead of writing a 365-page book documenting my adventures at Cisco (a page a day is an underestimation by the way), I’ll summarize the top three things I learned at Cisco.

1. Don’t be afraid to make your ideas heard:
I don’t know about you, but when I first started, approaching a colleague, manager, or director with a new idea seemed more intimidating than jumping off an airplane 5,000 feet above the ground in a sky diving lesson. Mind you, I have a serious case of acrophobia (read: fear of heights). When you’re new, everyone else is more senior than you, has more experience under the belt, knows more about the ins and outs of Cisco, and need I say more? The idea of bringing a new idea to the table seems almost ridiculous.

“Someone must have come up with the idea before.”
“What if they say no?”
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R.E.S.P.E.C.T

All I am asking

Is a little respect…

On Valentine’s Day 1967, as the Vietnam War was consuming news headlines worldwide, and the civil rights and women’s movements were mobilizing across the States, a young African-American woman entered Atlantic Records and opened a piano

What happened next forged its way into contemporary musical history, making a worldwide star of its protagonist.

Aretha Franklin was just 25 when she exploded onto the music scene. The song was Respect.

I’ll bet that, whatever  your age, wherever  you are from, within seconds of hearing the opening bars of this song, your feet will be tapping in recognition, your fingers drumming on your laptop.

Respect is one of those enduringly popular anthems:  the potency of Franklin’s voice, the rhythm, melody, and the universality of a message that seem to withstand the march of time. Forty years later, this song still has the power to stir emotion wherever, whenever.

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Diversity Awardee Reveals Hard Work Is Not Enough.

Kimberly Marcelis, Vice President of Strategic Planning at Cisco

We’ve been pondering our collection of inclusion and diversity awards sitting in our San Jose office. Some are inspired and even practical, like the glass bowl with a plaque stating “fill with candy and share”. And then serendipitously, I came across an employee account from our recent participation at the NELI (National Eagle Leadership Institute) Awards that re-ignited the real stories behind the glass ornaments in our awards cabinet. Read More »

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Look Behind the Label

The life story of Caroline Casey, social entrepreneur, will make your heart beat faster.

It really did mine. Here she is in a TED Talk telling it with such passion I recommend you watch the video at least twice.

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/caroline_casey_looking_past_limits.html

There are so many incredible things to convey about Casey. The utter self-belief she has. Her conviction she can achieve anything she wants to achieve so long as she truly believes. Her extensive fundraising through The Aisling Foundation. And her dogged promotion of the capacity and capability of people with disabilities. Casey’s mission in life is to get people to look behind the label, something she attributes to her father’s love of the Jonny Cash song ‘A boy named Sue’ and her parents decision not to label her when she was a young girl. You’ll have to watch the video to learn what the potential label was. Like Casey, I suspect had she been given it, she wouldn’t have become the believer and go-getter she is today. Casey is obviously a one-of-a-kind remarkable woman. But she’s determined that everyone else realises their capacity for being remarkable too. To paraphrase her a little, each of us needs to focus on what we can do, not what we can’t, work hard at being the very best of ourselves and take advantage of the fact we’re all extraordinary, different, wonderful people. And stop with the labels that hinder us.

Take 10 minutes from your next lunch break to watch Caroline Casey tell it so much better than me. The experience might just change how you see yourself and others.

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Cisco Black Employee Network (CBEN)

Inclusion and Diversity is fundamental to the culture and success of Cisco because we believe an inclusive and diverse workforce fuels collaboration which drives innovation which helps us meet our customers’ needs. One of the resources we have at Cisco to help us to do this are our Employee Resource Groups (for more information about ERGs please see Jacqueline Munson’s post) and one of these groups is our Cisco Black Employee Network (CBEN). Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Modupe Rouse from CBEN to find out more about CBEN and the opportunities it presents at Cisco.

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