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Employees Give Cisco Cats a “Paw Up” In Life

Cisco Cat

One of the Cisco Cats awaits its friends in the Cat Club.

Everyone knows that cats rule the Internet. Since Cisco’s focus is the Internet of Everything, it would make sense that when they are abandoned or lose their homes, cats would want to gravitate towards the Cisco San Jose campus (even enter the lobbies!).

Cisco cat at the lobby

Time for work! Let me in!

Employees that work in San Jose, however, knew that these cats needed a little help, and they would all be “grumpy cats” (and maybe be in mortal peril!) if left on their own.

Cisco employees always seem to jump at the chance to help those in need, even the furry ones. Thus, the Cisco Cat Club was born.

“There are some people who say that we shouldn’t do anything for the cats, but we couldn’t just turn our backs on them and do nothing!” says Jennifer Hull, “Chief Cat Club Coordinator” and Executive Assistant with Cisco Capital.

Jennifer and almost 100 other employees volunteer to help the cats as much as possible. Spay and neuter is their first priority, using humane traps (by trapping experts, and the traps are never left unsupervised.) For those that they can’t catch, or newcomers (there are a surprising number that get abandoned at Cisco, and they’re pretty smart and wily) the volunteers spend their own money to buy food and work from a feeding schedule to be sure the cats get to eat. They also all pitch in if one of the cats is injured and needs extra help.

Of course, a lot of these cats end up being re-homed. If they’re caught early enough, as kittens, they can be easily fostered and adopted (many by Cisco employees – so they stay Cisco cats forever!)

For those that have been on their own for too long and are too feral, the Cat Club makes sure they’re still taken care of, rather than sending them to a shelter to be euthanized.

“A lot of people think these abandoned cats can survive on their own,” Jennifer says. “But when they’re used to being cared for and then dumped off, they can’t.”

By the Cat Club’s rough count, over 150 cats have been spayed & neutered, and a good number of those adopted. Cisco has a program that matches employee volunteer hours with donations, so the cats get extra help. Once the Cat Club submits their hours, the Good Home Animal Society gets funds that help pay for the spay and neuter program.

Cisco Cat

Flaco is one of the Cisco Cats that Jennifer Hull adopted herself.

Even Jennifer herself has a few Cisco cats. One cat, Flaco (which means “skinny” in Spanish,) especially captured her attention (and her heart.)

“We called him ‘the greeter’,” she recalls. “Every time a feeder would come, Flaco would show up to greet us. He was an older fellow, and when we caught him, we discovered he had no teeth! That meant special feedings, but we loved him, so it was no problem. I wasn’t sure how he’d adapt to a home, but I couldn’t help it, I took him in. He had several health issues, and that, combined with his age meant that he was only with me for a year. But he was the best cat I’ve ever had!”

Jennifer’s excitement for helping these cats is contagious. Just ask new volunteer Rebecca Amato, a Business Analyst for Cisco’s IOE (Internet of Everything) Market Development Ops group.

“I just started feeding the 20+ cats that live near my work,” she says. “Jennifer explained how they really take care of the cats: wasp traps, food bowls inside of water bowls in the summer (to avoid ants from getting into the food bowls), spay and neuter, etc. The cat club goes beyond providing food and water for the cats. I am looking forward to watching the cats gather after I fill the bowls for the first time!”

Does working for a group of people who give back like this appeal to you? Join the Cisco family!

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Movember Goes Global at Cisco

Movember cupcakes

It’s all about the mustache in November as Cisco employees participate in Movember activities to raise awareness for men’s health issues.

Whether it’s in the U.S., Poland, the UK or other locations, mustaches are taking over Cisco offices this month! Pencil-thin mustaches, handle-bar mustaches, fake mustaches (for the women!) – they’re everywhere!

Cisco employees love to have an impact over their community, whether it’s their neighborhood, city or country. Today I want to take you on a world tour to see how Cisco employees impact not only their own health, but the health of their communities as they “celebrate” Movember.

For those who don’t know, The Movember Foundation is a global charity committed to men living happier, healthier, longer lives. Since 2003, millions have joined the men’s health movement, raising $650 million and funding over 1,000 programs focusing on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity.

Krakow, Poland

The Krakow site leader, Norm DePeau, VP Global Business Services is taking part because he, himself, is a cancer survivor.

Movember Cisco

Norm DePeau’s Movember look in Krakow.

“In 2006 they discovered I’m suffering from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, so I had to go through 4 months of chemotherapy and then radiations,” Norm says. “I was very fortunate. They discovered it by accident so it was caught before I had the typical symptoms so it shortened the amount of treatments I had to go through.”

“I actively share my personal story because I think people should understand the importance of regular checks at their doctor and it helps them later to overcome that difficult time. The one thing that I really like about the activities we have at the office this year is that there is an emphasis on the real purpose of Movember. This year we partnered with our healthcare provider and we have a doctor coming to the office, talking with employees about the steps they should take in order to have prevent cancer and get an early diagnosis.”

Norm is excited to participate, but like a lot of people, he has to balance his Movember enthusiasm with his family happiness (his family aren’t fans of his facial hair) and his professional role (he meets with government representatives and executives regularly.) Hence, this year he decided to grow a full beard and not just the regular mustache but he’s going to keep his facial hair short and professional.

“Even some women here are wearing fake mustaches at the office,” he laughs. “But many women that are working here have spouses or male family members and they can now become part of the advocacy process for regular checkups and preventions.”

“We had a professional barber coming to the office at the beginning of Movemeber to shave off our hair, so I had to get rid of my beard in order to be part of the competition we have here- who has he prettiest mustache, the longest one or the most famous one- so at the end of the month our employees can decide who the winner is.” Says Filip Zagaja, Environment, Health & Safety Program Manager. “Plus, we will have a bake sale to raise funds for our local Movember organization.”

Cisco collaboration technology is also helping out – there’s a guest speaker from the UK presenting via Webex and talking about his personal story as a young man who survived cancer!

Speaking of the UK . . .

“There are few things that motivated me to join Movember”, says Luke Williams, Local IT & Telepresence team lead from the UK. “I become aware of it in the last couple of years, seeing everyone in Cisco doing this. Men are really bad at dealing with their health, we don’t like discussing it and we ignore it with an ‘it will all be fine’ attitude.”

Movember Cisco

Luke Williams gets a pre-Movember shave so he can grow from scratch.

What he likes about Movember is that it raises awareness for the fact that men need to take care of themselves.

“What’s nice about it is that it became something very cool, very trendy & fashionable, so it’s a good way for people to change their culture,” Luke says. “It’s fun and cool and there are great fundraising and personalities involved. It’s a great way of getting men in general to become more accepting of the fact they need to be aware of their own physical, mental and emotional health. The fun we had at the office included a professional barber coming to shave us, and of course a competition. We still haven’t identified the award categories but I would like to put forwards the ‘worst mustache award’ because I will win that!”

What about the U.S.? And women?

Zina Rambo, Business Operations Manager for the dCloud team, is based in the US (our RTP office in North Carolina) but is a part of a global dCloud team (with people in Michigan, California, Texas, North Carolina, Florida, the UK, Italy, Switzerland and Costa Rica) that is super motivated around Movember, because they see it as a really special way to remember and honor a team member who passed away from cancer last year.

Movember dCloud team

Some members of Cisco’s dCloud Movember team.

“This is our way of giving back, he was so important to us not just as a team member, but as a friend. When he got sick, we went all in to do Movemeber events and other related activities to drum up funding. During the month of Movemeber on our team meeting we use video to see how our men look with their mustache and we women are wearing our fake mustaches! Our goal is to raise $10,000 this month. I think we can make it!”

There are other ways for women to participate as well. A program called Movember MOVE calls all employees to get active and start moving for 30 minutes a day. They can raise funds (and support Movember) without having to grow a mustache! Some of the Cisco office gyms offers unique classes for this month, where people and teams can join and get their 30 minutes MOVE.

“I also signed up for the MOVE and I’m walking a lot more then I usually am to get these miles in the program,” Zina says. “We are not so competitive on the team, but we joke around as some of the men have the most horrific mustaches ever and they are so proud of them, so we have a lot of laughs.”

So if you start to see a lot of employees around the world sporting their mustaches, bad or good, know it’s for a good cause. Support their efforts, give them some kudos.

And if working for a company where things like this are important, join our team.

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Delivering Awesome, Inspired by Graffiti Art


Employees and Graffiti wall

“Delivering Awesome” might mean different things to different people.

For the team delivering a workspace reboot, it meant finding a fun way to make the employee residents in the updated Building 18 in San Jose, CA feel at home in their new work environment.

For the engineers who work in the updated Building 18, it ‘s about discovering and making that awesome “next thing” for Cisco.

The two interpretations came together in a unique, artistic way – graffiti on the walls! There are two graffiti installations, and one displays the team mantra of “Delivering Awesome.”

“It was supposed to be temporary,” says Jodi Washington, program manager at Cisco. “We wanted to be different than anyplace else in Cisco. We wanted to get people excited about ‘Delivering Awesome.’ The whole mantra is about bringing things to the table that change how people think, so the graffiti kind of worked.”

What started as an idea for hallway artwork for move-in day became a rallying call for the engineers in the building.

“We got such a great response,” Jodi continues. “We thought about making the next iteration of the artwork a contest among the engineers, but in a survey, 61% of them wanted to keep the graffiti!”

Jean-Francois Vincent, a Product Owner at Cisco, has been at Cisco for several years, sitting in Building 18 for many of them.

“It used to feel like we were in a zombie shooter game,” he says. “There was a long, dark hallway and a cube farm. But now, it’s open, fresh, and full of light.”

The graffiti wall was icing on the cake for Jean-Francois.

“I like it. It relates to me. I don’t get up in the morning to do anything but deliver awesome.”

Maybe you want to deliver some awesome of your own? Apply at Cisco.

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Cisco Employees Blab About the Cisco Life

Cisco employees know all about working at Cisco, the fun we have while we work and the cool things we do. But sometimes they just want to tell other people about it.

So the team that brings you @WeAreCisco on Twitter and Instagram and @CiscoUniversity on Twitter (among other social media channels) just had our #FirstBlab where we talked about what the Cisco Life is all about!

Blab is a new social channel with livestreaming video, and it’s a place to watch, join, and interact with live conversations about interesting topics. You can find us on Blab here.

Everyone enjoyed the Blab so much that it ran a full hour (it was planned for a half hour). If you missed it, don’t worry. You can watch the replay, below, and catch our next Blab. Next time, we’re going to talk to a few Cisco recruiters about resume tips and applying at Cisco. Follow us on Twitter for more info on dates and times!

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Galway Shoots a “GOAL!”

Cisco Jersey

At its heart, Irish culture has a very strong love of sport. While the Irish are very passionate about it, sometimes our success is disproportionate to the size of our love and our population. But that doesn’t stop us!

Because the sporting community has a strong sense of volunteerism, it’s the foundation of many of the sporting clubs. This enthusiasm for giving back is not only part of the Irish culture, and the sporting culture, but Cisco’s culture. So when we can mix sport, culture and charity, the Irish get excited!

Enter GOAL Jersey Day. The idea behind GOAL Jersey Day is to run a nationwide fundraiser where participants across Ireland don the jersey of their favourite sports team and make a donation towards the GOAL charity.

We in Cisco Galway took this idea a step further (as we like to do) and took some time during lunch to play some of the Ireland’s favourite games! Over the last few years this has included the ancient and traditional game of hurling (the fastest game on grass and not for the faint-hearted!) but this year the team decided to play Rugby to celebrate Ireland’s successful participation in the Rugby World Cup. (Another game not for the faint-hearted!)

Because we can be a little competitive here at Cisco Galway (and we don’t want anyone injured), the team decided to tone down the physical aspect and play TAG.

We had a great day, and donated some time and money. Our team really got into it!

GOAL game

Cisco Galway employees have fun and raise money for GOAL.

“Getting groups of Cisco Galway employees together into team and letting them play sport while making money for charity just made sense!” said Anthony McLaughlin, a software engineer at Cisco Galway. “It was a fantastic afternoon of ‘craic‘ (it’s an Irish word and not to be mistaken for other interpretations :) ) was enjoyed by everyone involved. And it was good to know that it was all in aid of charity”

 “It’s an easy decision to make to be part of Cisco’s annual GOAL Jersey day,” said Brian O’Donoghue, a system engineer for sales at Cisco. “It allows employees to display their pride in their team, get out and be active on the sporting field, while at the same time donating money to a very worthy Irish charity. Cisco Galway employees played with a competitive but fun attitude that typifies the culture of Cisco globally!”

“’Jersey day’ is a great event in Cisco Galway – there’s great colour on site with Jerseys being worn that represent sports from different levels – International, Provincial, County and Club, and reflecting the wide variety of sports interests on site: Rugby, Hurling, Football, Camogie, Soccer  and lots more,” said Colie McGarry, a software engineer at Cisco. “As for the matches themselves – they have been very well run and the Cisco competitive edge was quite evident to anyone involved.”

“It was an opportunity to have some super fun, healthy competition with coworkers out in the fresh air and all in aid of a fantastic cause,” said Katie NicGabhann a software engineering manager for Cisco.

“It was a good opportunity to meet with other colleagues in Cisco as well as to show my tag skills, J“ said Tuna Erdumaz, a Cisco software engineer. I had so much fun to get involved in this. I even did the winning try to make my team tournament winner.”

“The TAG match was great fun, and an excellent opportunity to get more familiar with the Cisco family here in Oranmore since I’m just a new graduate of 2months,” said Eamonn Clancy, a graduate software engineer at Cisco. “The Cisco spirit is best shown through it’s charity, even in the short time I’ve been here I’ve already signed up to a number of charity events. It’s definitely been all inclusive since I’ve joined”

“The Tag game for GOAL was a great opportunity to participate in the fundraising endeavor,” said Mary Newell, a software engineer for Cisco. “Unlike other sports, TAG is something that can easily cater for all skill levels (from the unskilled like myself to the wannabe Paul O’Connell’s). A few players were expecting their Rugby World Cup 2015 call-up after their performances! All in all a very enjoyable experience”

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