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A Morning of Inspiration with Cisco Networking Academy Students

This blog was originally published on Cisco’s internal employee website.

“Follow your dreams. Don’t be afraid. Hold your heads high!”

 
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These were the words shared by Alison Gleeson, Cisco’s Senior Vice President of Americas Sales and Jordi Botifoll, Cisco’s President of the Latin America Theater, to students at a recent Cisco Networking Academy event during Cisco Live! Cancun.

The 30 students came from Mexico’s Yucatan and Quintana Roo area. They come from primarily underprivileged neighborhoods, but these young men and women are trying to make a better life for themselves and their families by pursuing careers in technology.

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Cisco Releases Eleventh Annual CSR Report

Today, I’m delighted to announce the release of Cisco’s eleventh annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report. Cisco technology is an integral part of the Internet, and in the digitized era we enable the connections between people, processes, data, and things in ways that create social, environmental and economic impact. These connections make amazing things possible, and we’re just getting started. For this year’s full report, click here.

Every day, more and more people and things come online, and each connection brings with it unique and infinite possibilities. Whether it is connected education and healthcare, smarter cities, disaster relief and response, or more efficient government services, the sheer amount of these and future connections will not only drive business improvements, but also play a key role in resolving our most critical social issues. From water scarcity to hunger to economic inequality, these issues are challenging and complex, but also hold huge opportunities for governments, businesses, and communities to drive change.

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Changing the Equation

It’s been a little more than a year since we created Cisco’s first Office of Inclusion and Collaboration (OIC).   And it’s been a milestone year.  Today, we’re releasing our annual Corporate Social Responsibility report (CSR), which details Cisco’s high-level priorities for being socially and environmentally responsible, and I’m honored to share the highlights of our progress within Our People section of this amazing document.  As a critical part of Our People Deal, Inclusion and Collaboration are featured prominently in the report.  I invite you to dive in and understand what we’ve accomplished in FY15 and how we’re changing the equation for creating value moving forward.CSR Photo1

What does it mean to change the equation?  For Cisco and the OIC, it means we continue to expand our view on the factors driving inclusion, diversity and collaboration.  It means we leverage fresh perspectives, thought leadership, and data and analytics to gain new insights. It means we use those insights to inform bold new strategies.  We change the way we talk about inclusion, diversity and collaboration, the way we measure our progress, and the way we connect our business strategies and our inclusive practices. And we align with a higher vision of value creation in the work we do to drive transformation through our people.

A Foundational Year with Milestones. Changing the equation was a top priority in this first, foundational year for the OIC. We began by looking at the legacy work of the Global Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) function we were transforming, including over 400 well-intentioned programs designed to support diversity and inclusion across our company.  And while we recognized the progress made through those programs over the years, we knew that more programs would not result in more impact or move us forward in our higher vision of value creation. Read More »

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Our Unique Focus on Making the World a Better Place

In a world of constant change, one thing that has remained consistent over my past 18 years at Cisco is that customers and government leaders truly believe in the transformative power of technology. As technology moves increasingly to the forefront of our daily lives, we know the power it has in driving economic progress, helping people thrive in the digital economy, and addressing critical issues facing our society such as climate change. What is good for the world and good for business are more closely connected than ever before.

I have always believed that Corporate Social Responsibility has to be woven into everything that a company does. At Cisco, our passion for making a difference around the world and improving lives is deeply engrained in our culture, our strategy, how we deliver value to our customers, and in how we attract top talent.

This is true now more than ever. With the recent events that have unfolded in Paris, Lebanon and Egypt, and in other parts of the world, Cisco is deeply committed to helping others and the communities we are a part of. It is simply who we are.

Our 11th Corporate Social Responsibility report highlights many ways that we’ve made an impact around the world. As an example, over the last 18 years, our Cisco Networking Academy program has helped more than 5.5 million students at 9500 learning institutions in 170 countries. With the skills they are developing, these students are helping to shape and build the digital economy.

Earlier this year, we announced Connected Caring, a unique partnership with singer-songwriter Keith Urban and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Children suffering from cancer and other life-threatening illnesses who are being treated at St. Jude now have the opportunity to meet with Keith using Cisco’s video collaboration technologies. With this initiative, we’ve given children at St. Jude the opportunity to take their minds off their illness for just a little while as they share messages of hope while also having some fun.

Watch this video to learn more about the partnership.

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Behind the Scenes with the Cisco Networking Academy Dream Team

Earlier this year, Cisco senior system engineer Josh Kittle attended Cisco Live in San Diego and had his first encounter with the Cisco Networking Academy Dream Team – a group of students who are given the chance to gain real-world experience setting up massive networks at high-profile events like Cisco Live and the NBA All-Star Game.

The Cisco Networking Academy Dream Team at Cisco Live US 2015 in San Diego, California

The Cisco Networking Academy Dream Team at Cisco Live US 2015 in San Diego, California

Josh is a former Cisco Networking Academy instructor,  one of almost 9,500 who have taught 5.5 million students IT skills worldwide since 1997. The Networking Academy curriculum is licensed free of charge to learning institutions and is Cisco’s largest and longest-running Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program. Our courses provide in-depth technology training in the latest networking, security, and cloud technologies, preparing students for in-demand jobs and globally recognized certification.

Josh described the Dream Team as a way for Networking Academy students to gain “real-world experience at the logistics and execution of network design, installation, and support – at a hyper-accelerated pace.”

Read Josh’s full blog post here and learn how you can hire Networking Academy talent for your company.

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