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Bring the Industrial Revolution to your Oracle Workloads (Learn More by Stopping at Booth 801 at OOW 2015)

When I think of how technology has changed in the data center, I am always reminded of the history of the industrial revolution.  Wikipedia begins its definition and description of the industrial revolution in these words: “The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines … and the rise of the factory system.”* Wikipedia goes onto say: “The Industrial Revolution marks a major turning point in history; almost every aspect of daily life was influenced in some way”*

The industrial revolution reminds me of a strong metaphor between the productivity benefits of abstracting all attributes of UCS Servers in software (UCS Manager, UCS Central, UCS Director) and the assembly line of the industrial revolution.  This historical analogy helps illustrate and underscore how much customers can benefit from a switch to Cisco UCS servers.   The historical parallel between these two changes in producing goods (industrial revolution) and the provisioning and deploying servers (UCS Manager/ UCS Central/UCS Director) (producing server images in software) is striking on many levels.


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Cisco Mentors Fuel the Future of New Hires


Before becoming CEO of Cisco, Chuck Robbins was Head of Sales. Even then he saw employees as the key to Cisco’s success, and met a few new hires at a Women of Impact Event. These women expressed some concerns about their futures at Cisco, and he jumped in to help, by asking for some leaders in the company to become mentors to these new hires.

Juli signed up for the challenge. That’s how she met Angela Tessin who was an Analyst on the IT Service Management team.

“Angela had so much runway to her career, she just needed to see that and build the confidence,” Juli notes. “Just within that first meeting there was noticeable change in her from how she entered to how she left. She left really excited, hopeful, and optimistic knowing that there was a promising future for her here!”

“Juli helped me to see that not only was there room for tremendous growth at Cisco, but that I had her support and the support of others to utilize and grow my skills,” says Angela.

From there, Juli helped Angela identify where she wanted to go in her career, what skills would be needed for those roles, and how to work on reaching her goals. “As her mentor, I’ve been able to show Angela that women here at Cisco have the opportunity to work in a variety of areas – no one is pigeonholed here, and everyone has the ability to move around and gain experience.”

Angela says that Juli has shared so many stories and experiences with her from her own career that have helped enlighten her. “Juli encourages me and challenges me, there’s a lot of thought that goes into being a mentor.”

Juli added that as a mentor you’re there to offer insights, and things to think about, “You don’t just tell someone what to do. That’s not how you mentor someone. You should push them to succeed though, and help them gain exposure to new areas that interest them.”

What are some good mentor-relationship tips? Juli and Angela offer their advice:

  1. Make sure your mentor-relationship is a good fit. Sit down and have a conversation first. Did you click and have chemistry? That will help you be successful.
  2. Be Invested. Angela always comes prepared to her meetings with Juli because she knows they have limited time and it’s important to cut right to the chase to get the most out of their time together. Be sure to put your thoughts and questions down on paper. Be ready to take action, and be purposeful and committed to this relationship.
  3. Be Honest. Be Trusting. There are times in a mentor-relationship where you have to challenge your mentee and offer real world advice and opinions to help them grow. You may ask them to go out of their comfort zone in order for them to gain new experience. As a mentee you have to be honest with yourself and comfortable with your mentor to ask the difficult questions.
  4. Be Open to Learning. Chances are, through this mentorship you both will come away with big rewards!

So how have things progressed since Juli received that first email? “Angela is still here! We’ve actually talked about this because we were very, very close to losing her and in fact we did lose some of those women at the table because it was just too late for them. This is someone I care so much about and someone who I will be connected to for the rest of my life – if that email hadn’t come through, I never would’ve known Angela!”

Two years have gone by, and as Juli took her seat at Cisco Rocks in Levi’s Stadium during the July celebration that honored John Chambers and welcomed new CEO Chuck Robbins she looked down her row to spot a familiar face – Angela! “We didn’t plan on sitting near each other that day, but there she was! We couldn’t get over how we both randomly wound up in the same row. I’m so proud to work at Cisco, a company that holds these events that helps us all come together.”


Want to join a company that empowers your growth? View our available positions now.


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The Channel Company Presents Annual Best of Breed Event in Orlando

I’m back! Back on the Cisco Partner Blog for the first time in a fe#BoB15 Orlandow months, and back in Florida for the first time in a few years. I spent the early part of this week in Orlando at the Best of Breed event. As the weather has shifted to distinctly more “fall-like” back in North Carolina, it was nice to head south for a few days and enjoy a few last gasps of summer.

More importantly, it has been an opportunity to meet numerous influential executives from within the industry. There were many Cisco Partners here at the event and to have the opportunity to speak with them about working with Cisco is always valued. In addition, it’s always interesting to hear their takes on the speakers and information coming out of the event, as the partners are truly the guys on the front line with customers every single day.

CRYou might have seen, from the ongoing coverage of Best of Breed, that our new CEO, Chuck Robbins, was here to deliver the keynote, which was done in an interview style with the CEO of The Channel Company.

Chuck fielded questions about the recent Dell-EMC deal, the Cisco partnership with Apple, and his basketball playing days. Be sure to check out the interview with Chuck and subsequent stories from CRN, including what he forecasts about Apple’s relationship with the channel.

I had several partners tell me this week how happy they were to see Chuck at the event and how it showed them consistent, ongoing commitment to the channel from Cisco. That is great feedback and we are indeed committed to our partners at Cisco. We do understand how important the channel is to our business.

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The Future of Smart Cities

In the future, all cities will be smart cities. With more than one-half of the world’s population living in cities innovative new IoT solutions, such as smart parking, connected waste, and traffic management, hold great promise for combatting the major challenges of rapid urbanization. We are unlikely to see many Jetson-like smart cities of the future appearing overnight. However, like in the past with the adoption of revolutionary technologies such as sewers, electricity, traffic lights, and the Internet, mayors will slowly implement IoT solutions to save money, shape the future and make their cities better places to live.

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The Internet of Things offers cities the unique opportunity to generate new revenue, save costs, improve efficiencies and increase the overall value and experience for its citizens. Solutions like smart lighting can greatly reduce a city’s expenditure on electricity and operations, while at the same time improving the safety and security of the inhabitants. Smart parking not only allows people to spend less time in their car searching for an open parking spot, it actually creates new sources of revenue for the city. Parking can now be priced on a variable, demand-driven basis, rather than a fix fee irrespective of the time of day. Such pricing flexibility allows rush-hour spots to generate much higher revenues than those available on a Sunday morning. Security cameras and traffic management solutions not only make citizens safer and save them time, but they allow police and emergency forces to be much more efficient and responsive to potential incidents.

All of these exciting and innovative solutions will truly deliver real value to the city and its inhabitants. I think that the next big source of innovation will be Read More »

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Advancing Diversity with ‘The Power of One’

Last week, many of the nation’s top African-American leaders and emerging talent experienced first-hand “The Power of One” – the power of one person, one organization or one partnership to transform the world.Chuck's ELC Twitter Photo

The occasion was the Executive Leadership Council’s (ELC) annual celebration of individuals and corporations making a difference to advance inclusion and diversity in business. Honorees such as Merck Chairman & CEO Ken Frazer, Caterpillar Corporation, and Former US Attorney General Eric Holder, embodied the Gala’s theme for their impressive achievements.

Cisco and ELC provided leadership workshops for aspiring mid-level managers prior to the Gala, creating so many transformative and magical “Moments that Matter” . . . Chuck Robbins and other industry CEOs sharing experiences with managers who learned how to take charge of their careers . . . a collective realization of what’s possible through inclusion, diversity and collaboration. Awe inspiring!

Jumpstarting the Career Journey with Belviane

In attendance was a bright, driven young woman from Laurel High School near Baltimore. Meet Belviane Songong, 17, who exemplifies how “The Power of One” can jumpstart the journey from the classroom, perhaps one day leading her all the way to the C-Suite.

The high school senior aspires to be a biomedical engineer, and she realized early that she needs strong technical skills now to be competitive for college and her career later on. So she enrolled in the Cisco Networking Academy class at Laurel High, attaining one of the Academy’s top scores by a high school student on their exam, which helped attract scholarship offers from major colleges.

“I may just be one student but I know I am making a difference, and when I think of the power of millions of others just like me all across the world, studying, learning and helping others, now that really is a dream come true,” Belviane says in the video about her experience with the Cisco Networking Academy.

At the Gala, Chuck told the audience of 2,500: “Belviane has the skills, passion and commitment to create a tremendous amount of value for any organization today. She is a great example of how important it is to build our talent pipeline early on.”

Belviane may be one in a million, but the Cisco Networking Academy has helped more than 5.5 million people at 9,000 academies across 180 countries since it started in 1997. Today, 92% of our graduates report that what they learned through the program led to a new job, a better job or promotion, more responsibilities, higher salary, deciding on a program of study, or pursuing more education.

Next Steps in the Talent Pipeline

As Chuck said, this is just the beginning of the journey. It takes more “Power of One” partnerships with organizations like the ELC to help fuel the talent pipeline, preparing more underrepresented minorities to reach the C-Suite. Consider that 29% of Cisco’s African-American mid-level managers who took ELC’s leadership program were promoted in the last year – twice the company average.

Cisco had a huge presence at the Gala with 120 of Cisco’s highest-performing managers who had just completed ELC’s leadership course. They were joined by members of our highly diverse Executive Leadership Team and other Cisco executives. When Chuck asked everyone from Cisco to stand, it was a proud Moment that Mattered.

Milestone Moments

Ehrika Gladden_compressed

Ehrika Gladden

The experience inspired many other milestone moments. Ehrika Gladden fought to hold on to her emotions when Chuck and Fran surprised her in front of the Cisco group with the announcement of her promotion from senior director to a Vice President position. “Prior to last week, I was positive I knew what The People Deal meant for me and other Cisco employees.  What Chuck, Fran Katsoudas, Jeff Reed, Shari Slate, Cassandra Frangos and a host of other Cisco leaders did last week was help me to actually live the recognition and engagement experience of leaders delivering on the promise The People Deal creates for employees.  It is a model l will do my best to emulate.”

Shannon Cobb

Shannon Cobbs

Ike Harris

Ike Harris

“The event helped me to be recognized while I learned a lot of new tools to help me in my career and inspire me with what’s possible,” said Shannon Cobbs, Engineer, PDI Technical Advisors Network. The “hugely impactful” event clearly “made a difference” in employee engagement, added Ike Harris, Cisco’s VP of Global Planning and Fulfillment. The combination of workshops, exchanges between executives and managers as well as Cisco’s emphatic commitment to inclusion leads to “greater engagement and retention.


Jason Gallo

Jason Gallo

Jason W. Gallo, Global Director of Channel Sales for Collaboration & Software, felt a personal connection with Chuck when he shared what a huge leap it was back when he was promoted to Director.  Gallo also stated that, as a leader who is currently expanding his team, the ELC-Cisco experience reinforced to him the impact of “having access to a diversity of ideas and relationships that build a stronger pipeline of talent for Cisco.”


Shawn Dawson Troutt

Shawn Dawson Troutt

For Shawn Dawson Troutt, Director, Services & Cloud, Legal, the ELC-Cisco experience provides an “opportunity to pause, focus on being intentional about your career and have access to amazing individuals at Cisco and industry leaders.  There aren’t a lot of African-Americans at Cisco and we don’t find ourselves in the same room together very much.  It’s a real benefit to be together and meet with executives, with the joint purpose of improving our effectiveness as a company.”

I too am one of the beneficiaries of our partnership with ELC and its leadership growth programs. They have contributed mightily to developing and advancing diverse leaders both at Cisco and industry wide.

Through powerful partnerships like we have with ELC, we have made progress with inclusion and diversity at Cisco, but much more is still needed. True transformation will evolve with the “Power of One” – the power of one person, one organization or one partnership to transform the world, or one person at a time like Belviane and each of our high-performance managers.

Just imagine the possibilities if a million Belvianes started their journeys like hers and continued to get partner support like our mid-level managers along the way.



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