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Cisco Mom and Son Bring IoE and Entrepreneurship to Kids Everywhere

Omkar Govil-Nair, son of Cisco employee Shubha Govil, shows off his OWatch at Maker Fair.

Omkar Govil-Nair, son of Cisco employee Shubha Govil, shows off his OWatch at Maker Faire.

Sometimes, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. That’s the case with 8-year-old Omkar Govil-Nair, whose mom, Shubha Govil, is a senior manager of products for the Cisco Collaboration Technology Group. Technology and tinkering with invention is something that the two of them share.

“Omkar was always interested in technology,” Shubha says. “He always wanted to see how things work and was coming up with new ideas. So for us as parents, it was about providing him support to make things happen.”

Omkar’s interests, however, were bigger than just learning about tech. As a fan of shows like MythBusters and Shark Tank, he became interested in building his own tech two years ago when he came across another young person’s project (then 12-year old-entrepreneur Quin Etnyre). Omkar had been attending Maker Faire since he was 4 (where he got to meet Etnyre) and got to see a lot of DIY technology and projects in action.

He wanted to take it further, and started learning Arduino (an open-source platform) from his dad.

He started with small projects and was so thrilled with the power of an open source platform like this that he wanted to share his projects with other kids and teach them how to make their own Arduino projects. This was the beginning of an idea that Shubha bought to Cisco by creating a program called DevNet Kids to teach Arduino programming and other such STEAM workshops (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) to the children of other Cisco employees.

Susie Wee, VP, CTO Networking Experiences helped Shubha further these efforts by sponsoring the Arduino UNO kits needed for the DevNet workshops. Now, Omkar, Shubha and her husband Subhash host DevNet Kids workshops for about 20 kids once a month for Cisco employee families, and these classes are usually filled to capacity. Omkar also makes sure that the parents don’t do any of the work.

“Omkar’s guidance to parents in the workshop is to let the kids learn by trying and not jump in to help them out with the project,” Shubha says. “Him bringing this perspective is really important to make DevNet kids workshops a fun experience for the kids.”

Omkar and Shubha didn’t stop there. They wanted to get other kids involved so badly that the Govil-Nair family is now a group of entrepreneurs. Omkar’s site, is full of how-to code and projects, and he just this summer launched a kickstarter campaign where he created his OWN Arduino-compatible smart watch DIY kit for kids to get started with hands-on programming and 3D printing. Oh, and did we mention it was fully funded in 1 week?

Shubha and Omkar together at Maker Faire.

Shubha and Omkar together at Maker Faire.

“It’s like a night job now for my husband and I,” Shubha says. “It’s amazing to see how excited people are, and I’m excited to have Cisco be a part of it.”

Omkar’s OWatch kit was a featured Maker project at the World Maker Faire in New York, and Omkar was also invited to speak at the Re: Make Conference both in September. He’s got partners already lined up to help bring his OWatch kit to more kids, and has captured the attention of some pretty fantastic tech leaders.

President of TinyCircuits Ken Burns called Omkar “the smartest 8-year-old” he’s ever met, and that he’ll have a “Great impact on teaching kids about science and engineering.”

We think that Omkar is going to be an innovation powerhouse, and we can’t wait what tech solutions he’ll bring to the world. We just hope he continues to partner with Cisco when he does it, so we can be a part of history with him!

See more on how Cisco brings the IoE to kids.

Passionate about STEAM and bringing technology to the next generation? Join the Cisco team! 


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8 Career Tips From Cisco’s Awesome Women In Technology

Think Like a Girl

Cisco employees, who also happen to be women technologists, are gearing up to attend/speak/participate in the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in October. During the conference, upcoming women technologists will be receiving lots of career advice.

Some members of the Cisco WISE employee resource organization (Women in Science and Engineering) are already prepared. Their advice works not only for women in technology, but for all technologists.

  1.  Never give up. You’ve worked so hard and don’t let it stop you from reaching your goal. – Cisco IT Analyst Sabina Chaudhuri
  1. Network. This is how I got into Cisco. – Cisco Software Engineer Sharmila Palani
  1. Believe in yourself. Understand your capabilities and do not be afraid of exploring new opportunities. – Sr. IT Engineer Noela Botelho
  1. Be yourself and SPEAK UP!Cisco Software Engineer Dena Madhwani
  1. Be confident, be passionate, achieve! – Cisco Manager Software Development Engineering Nita Laad
  1. Never give up on your dreams. –Cisco Software Engineer Rehka Rawat
  1. Be Fearless! – Cisco Software Engineer Avni Baveja– (who came to Cisco through a previous Grace Hopper event!)
  1. Pay it forward – all of the Cisco WISE members share a passion for inspiring the next generation of women in tech. Cisco Software Engineer Sheetal Bhogale says “ We NEED to see more women in Technology.” And Cisco Software Engineer Rimu Bhardwaj, says “Cisco has a wide variety of fields that people can work in. It is hip and has lots of perks! Cisco is definitely cool!”

Won’t you join us?

Cisco WISE Why I Chose Cisco

Cisco’s WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) group shows why they chose Cisco.


Cisco WISE Why I Chose Cisco

MORE Cisco WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) members show why they chose Cisco.

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Stretch Assignments Take Employee Beyond the Day-to-Day


Bipasha Chakrabarti has been a part of Cisco’s Public Relations team in India for almost five years now, and in that time she has loved getting to explore other facets of the company that have helped to grow and develop her career. Recently Bipasha was an Expand Your Boundaries Award Winner for Q3 – and the very first winner from Asia! Bipasha was awarded the opportunity to participate in a Stretch Assignment where she would have the option to spend one week with another team to see how they operated.

While she says many exciting choices were given to her, she decided to visit with the social media team in San Jose, CA, “I wanted to take my 14 years of PR experience and use this Stretch Assignment to go beyond public relations and explore another area of communications. As social media is an integral part of our worldwide communications strategy here at Cisco, I thought this was a great opportunity.”

During Bipasha’s time with the social media team she realized that they are a – team that focuses on so much more than what most think a social media specialist does.

“My stretch assignment really amplified my understanding of what this team does on a day-to-day basis to strategize, execute, and innovate for our social media communications. I really got to know them – how they operate, how their week looks, and how daily life is for them. I could see their level of expectations, and it adds to the understanding of how people think and collaborate,“ says Bipasha. “A stretch assignment helps you to broaden your boundaries as you learn global skills and understand the need for developing a network of relationships while also realizing how these skills can then translate into your current role and region.”


Bipasha has two learnings to share from her stretch assignment and offers these insights:

  • Never be afraid to ask your managers to learn in new areas. “Cisco is a very open company, and they want you to explore your potential and grow. This is one of the many things that makes Cisco such a wonderful place to work – you are not restricted here, so take initiative to explore the other areas that interest you.”
  • You can’t do it all. Focus on 2-3 things that will benefit your current role or your career path. Look at this experience through a lens that will better your career in 3-5 years

Bipasha is very proud to work for Cisco and for leaders who encourage her to grow, “This sort of culture within a company helps others to want to do their best. It is not just about doing your job well, our leadership team truly wants to support your success and growth and they give you the tools to empower that expansion.”

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Employees Are Wowed By Cisco’s New San Jose HeadQuarters

New CEO Chuck Robbins issued a challenge (one of many)  when he stepped into his new role this past summer.

“I want Cisco to be viewed as having the most innovative employee experience in technology or in corporate America,” says Robbins.

Cisco is just getting started, but we’re excited to have some of the most innovative employee experiences around the globe. The new Building 10 headquarters in San Jose, CA joins other offices such as those in Japan and India as case studies for the future of work and workspaces. Read all about the building’s futuristic makeover on Cisco’s Newsroom site.

Cisco's Building 10

It’s got the Cisco employees that work in that building (and the ones who visit regularly) excited about what’s next.

Cisco’s investment in our work space is incredible!” says Rachael Thomas, an executive communications manager. “It provides space for us to work as a team, quiet rooms for focus time and meeting rooms with ceiling to floor writing spaces — great for brainstorming new ideas and mapping out the future of Cisco. The open feel of the office makes it easy to connect across levels and business areas; interacting with executives, customers and partners throughout the course of the day helps us stay aligned to what’s really important.”

“Building 10 is bustling with energy,” adds Justin Riray, an executive communications specialist. “Work is very fast-paced up here so people are constantly moving from their desk to a room to another room to another floor – it’s never boring. We have a lot of mini-celebrations for birthdays, promotions, baby showers and other things. Plus, I get to drive the iRobot Ava500 so there’s an extra bonus.”

Communications Manager Jung Kim can’t agree more.

I love my new workspace and actually look forward to coming into the office everyday! It’s way more open and gives us the space to collaborate, be creative, and innovate in new ways.”

As Cisco tries out new ways to use collaboration technologies to enhance employee experiences, there could be much more of this kind of workplace innovation in the future.

Want to join the team at Cisco? Find out more on career opportunities and current openings here. 

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We Are Family – Cisco Sisters

“We are family! I’ve got all my sisters and me!” ~ Sister Sledge. Now that we’ve gotten a disco tune earworm in your brain, let’s talk about how two sisters, Janine and Jina Daniel, are making the Cisco family part of THEIR family.

Janine is a Fresno State graduate, and even when she was still in school, she knew she wanted to work at Cisco.

“It was my #1 choice, because I wanted to make a difference,” she says. “I saw a lot of innovation, and Cisco showing their passion for changing the world. In 2006-2007 I saw John Chambers (then CEO) driving change.”

Janine went on a mission. She attended every early-in-career fair at Cisco that she could find. She says she “met good people” and got advice, and she kept going for her goal until she landed her Cisco job.

Eight years later, Janine is still working for Cisco. After moving through different career opportunities here, she’s now a Global Regulatory Compliance Manager in Supply Chain Transformation. That means she helps innovate and change the way Cisco runs our supply chain.

Jina is Janine’s younger sister – by seven years. She caught the “Work at Cisco” bug hearing her big sis talk about her job.

“Janine started working for Cisco when I was in high school,” Jina remembers. “Ever since then, I have always wanted to be apart of Cisco. Janine shared with me how awesome it was.”

Jina started out as an intern when she was attending San Jose State, and did that for two years. She then came on full-time, and she’s now 3 full years in at Cisco. Currently, she works in Services Portfolio & Enablement (under Services Strategy & Operations) on the operations side. Her organization changes and drives new ways of selling and buying Cisco Services, and makes it easier for the integrated sales force to sell Cisco Services.

“We change people’s lives with our technology,” Jina says. “It’s totally unique to Cisco. And here, we can really change the world. It’s not just a slogan.”

The sisters are close (obviously) and consider working together a built-in support system. Plus, they learn from each other and get insights into other parts of the business.

“We talk a lot about work,” Janine laughs. “I’m sure our parents are tired of hearing about it.”

“Both of our teams have adopted the other one, “ Jina says. “My manager will ask about her and her manager will ask about me. And we’re part of the bigger family.”

Plus, they’re part of the family of women in technology.

“Cisco is the best place for women in tech to work,” Jina explains. “It’s not just for show. It’s about my growth and development. Cisco cares. But I don’t feel like they treat me differently as a woman. I’m just a part of the team.”

“Plus,” Janine finishes her sister’s thought. “We have the women on the leadership team to be role models. They show us that it’s okay to have that personal take on tech, and to be empowered, but you’re playing with everyone fairly. We don’t feel like it’s a ‘thing,’ we’re just Cisco people.”

“No matter who works here, no matter what job, we’re a family.”

Want to join the Cisco family? See open roles around the globe now.

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