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Deaf and a diplomat

It wasn’t something I’d ever considered before, disability in the diplomatic service, because I unfortunately, like most people, have quite entrenched images of what a diplomat looks like. So I marveled when I heard that a female diplomat who was deaf had risen through the ranks.

But unfortunately whilst the story starts there, it isn’t where it ends.

Jane Cordell worked in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) from 2001 and in 2010 was offered the post of deputy head of mission in Kazakhstan, only to have the offer revoked when the FCO decided that making adjustments for her disability would be too expensive. They deemed the cost of her posting was beyond the “reasonable adjustments” which employers are obliged to make for disabled staff.

But I wonder if they’ve overlooked the value they’ll be missing out on, given the extra abilities and commitment Cordell’s disability generates.

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Lessons Learned: Successfully Implementing the ERG Progression Model

The Cisco employee resource groups (ERGs) help reinforce the Cisco goal of having employees bring their “total self” to work, fostering a more inclusive, collaborative, and innovative environment. The ERGs play a key role in supporting the Cisco business initiatives by uncovering marketing needs, exploring areas of potential growth, and creating meaningful dialogues that lead to business opportunities.  By valuing the differences that make each person unique, these groups can increase Cisco’s competitive advantage and increase profits.

To assist ERGs in becoming stronger business partners, we worked with Jennifer Brown Consulting to create the ERG Progression Model. This model enables ERGs to assess themselves, their work and their evolution as organizations.

This new framework allows ERG members to:

  • Actively engage on the ERG strategy and action planning process by identifying next phase structural and competency goals
  • Increase engagement by building competencies of ERGs to support recruitment and retention of diverse employees
  • Expand ERG capability to insert into new markets and related adjacencies
  • Establish a tool and process that balances structural needs with individual ERG autonomy

It is always a challenge to develop and implement a new method among established organizations. To ensure a smooth adoption at Cisco, I incorporated three key tactics: Read More »

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Transitions: From Military Service to Civilian Life

August 29, 2011 at 7:33 am PST

“Successful transitions are about attitude, ambition and placing the mission first. As we have done our entire military careers; never accept defeat, never quit and never leave a fallen comrade and to make this point clear, this is why I am here today. I have been in your seat, I have experienced many of the emotions you are going through and can provide you hope and encouragement that the future is yours for the taking.”

Credit: Wiliam McMillian

Kim Ringeisen, Director of Engineering at Cisco, spoke last month at the Wounded Warriors Project graduation ceremony for the Transition Training Academy at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. An 11-year veteran of the US Army, Ringeisen, was the keynote speaker for a 100 person graduating class of transitioning soldiers.

Also with him were Dale Robbins and Marissa Gaithers, members of Cisco’s Veterans Enablement and Troop Support Employee Resource Group.

“Soldiers today are very highly trained in their chosen discipline and in core values that the military instills on every soldier who has served, you have the competitive advantage, you have the spirit that many corporations seek.

“The Military is all about transitions, this is not new… You do not just arrive and you’re done, no! You will always improve your position, train and ensure your personal and team readiness, even if that team is you and your wife or partner. Do not let this transition rattle you, even though for some it will feel like deploying to a foreign land where nothing is familiar, questioning along the way, “will I make it?”, “is their hope for me?”, “how can I compete with the college grads?”, “ I’m in combat arms, but want to be a Network engineer, is this possible?”

“Keep in mind in that foreign land that you are entering, there are hundreds of thousands of veterans already there that can assist you in some form or another.”

About 27 percent of veterans age 20 to 24 are unemployed, according to recent statistics from the Labor Dept. Transitioning to civilian life is challenging. Ringeisen recounted his own experience: Read More »

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Inclusion and Diversity Best Practice: 1:1 Computer Training for handicapped people from Procap

 

One of the reasons why I enjoy working at Cisco is because of our commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility. Recently, I have been helping to put together this year’s UK & Ireland CSR report and I have to say, I have been moved and truly touched by the dedication and enthusiasm of Cisco employees to give back and make meaningful change to our local communities. From mentoring young offenders to helping orphaned children in Africa, they are engaging the power of the human network to change the way the world works, lives, plays and learns for the better.

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Cisco Honored as a Top Company for Multicultural Women 2011

August 12, 2011 at 7:34 am PST

“Ambition is not a bad word.” Working Mother Media held its 9th Multicultural Women’s National Conference in New York City on July 19-20, 2011. Over 700 women and men gathered for a conversation on race and gender. For the third year in a row, Cisco Systems was honored as one of the Top Companies for Multicultural Women, and for the second consecutive year as one of the Top 5 companies in the US.

Randall Lane accepts Cisco’s Top Company for Multicultural Women award from Carol Evans, President of Working Mother Media and CEO of Diversity Best Practices. Used with permission from Working Mother Media. Photo by Steven Easley

Accepting the award for Cisco was Randall Lane, Senior Leader, Global Inclusion & Diversity. I asked him to share a few thoughts from the event.

You’ve represented Cisco at the conference for three years now.  What does this conference consistently offer every year? Read More »

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