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Texas Conference for Women: An Empowering Partnership

#CiscoInspiredWoman will be a hashtag reverberating throughout social media spheres this week as 6,500 attendees experience what I call, “Moments that Matter”, at the Conference for Women (CFW) in Austin, Texas. Cisco is the Exclusive Networking Partner of CFW for the fourth year in row, has 90 attendees and six speakers (three women and three men) at the Texas event, which aligns with our commitment to build and empower a more inclusive, diverse and collaborative culture.

The Texas Conference for Women on Thursday kicks off a series of three more in successive months that will be held in Pennsylvania, MassachusettsTexas CFW and California, collectively expected to attract about 27,000 women dedicated to personal and professional growth. We will have a major presence at all of them.

We are ramping up our partnerships with organizations like CFW to empower and equip women and other underrepresented minorities with skills needed to advance in the workplace. Such partnerships not only help us to leverage diversity to spark greater innovations and outcomes for our customers, but also to attract a full spectrum of the best talent to join our increasingly vibrant workplace.

Our partnerships, combined with a number of internal leadership programs for women and Texas CWF Cisco Speakers Tableother minorities, is part of a holistic approach to create an environment in which everyone can feel welcomed, respected, valued, and heard. In effect, to have a seat at the table.

Inclusion and Diversity Starts at the Top

This starts at the top. Cisco is fortunate to have a CEO who not only champions the value of inclusion and diversity, but also walks the talk. In one of his first actions as incoming CEO, Chuck Robbins formed a next-generation Executive Leadership Team to help chart Cisco’s direction.

We have made a lot of progress at Cisco to advance women and other minorities, but total, true transformation has not been realized yet throughout industry. That’s why we’re building a first-of-its-kind framework using digital analytics to identify our gaps, next-generation systems, practices and tools as well as areas of opportunity. I will detail these inspiring programs in future blogs after our Corporate Social Responsibility Report is published before the end of this year.

All this provides context for why we’re so excited to be partnering so deeply with CFW and other organizations committed like us to inclusion, diversity and collaboration. I have benefitted immeasurably from such programs and I have urged all Cisco attendees to take full advantage of CFW’s programs and networks to create Moments that Matter.

I can attest that deeply engaging with partners like CFW is one more essential thread that weaves into a mosaic of different perspectives, backgrounds and approaches that can accelerate exponential results for our customers, partners and employees.

What programs have you found most effective in advancing diversity and gender representation in the workplace?


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Validating Cisco Network Function Virtualization Infrastructure (NFVI)

Service Providers seeking to reduce operating expenses, deliver new services rapidly, are looking to SDN (Software Defined Networking) and virtualization technologies. Earlier this year, Light Reading and EANTC published an evaluation of Cisco’s virtualization and cloud solution, including multivendor network orchestration and optimization. They’ve now published a follow-on, that takes a closer look at the data center, specifically the Network Function Virtualization infrastructure (NFVI).

For SP’s to be successful in meeting customer experience requirements Read More »

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6 Reasons Interning at Cisco is the Best Idea Ever


Recently after his experience as a Cisco Intern, Naman Bhatt shared with his LinkedIn audience what it was like to work for “one of the best companies in the world.”  We loved his story so much we thought our readers on the Life at Cisco Blog would too!  

Before my summer internship at Cisco, I had no clue what I wanted to do with my career. I went to the Engineering career fair at NC State University in my junior year where I met my internship program manager and was introduced to Cisco internship opportunities.

At first glance I was already excited as I read the description, “Now Hiring: World Changers!” I knew that I wanted to be a part of a company that made the Internet what it is today, and having an opportunity in front of me where I could contribute to the way the world works, lives, plays, and learns by connecting the unconnected was really thrilling.

After several video interviews, I was able to successfully land a Network Consulting Engineer internship at Cisco. Here are a few key take-aways I experienced in my time with Cisco:

  1. Cisco Values Its People: I knew I wanted to be involved with a company who had a great culture. Company culture attracts great talent which tends to create great success. This is one of the biggest reasons I find Cisco to be so successful as their “People Deal” defines the story of who Cisco is, what they do, and where they’re heading. From the internet of computers to the internet of people and now to the internet of everything, Cisco technologies change the world. But the edge doesn’t just come from technology, it comes from the people too!
  1. Giving Back is a Priority: I wanted to work at a place where people believe in giving back to the community, and I discovered that Cisco RTP employees volunteer on regular basis at the Durham Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. Volunteering with other employees, managers, and even the director himself helped me to feel that Cisco really put an emphasis on giving back and was somewhere I was proud to invest my time in.
  1. Interns are Encouraged to Lead: Even though I was only an Intern, I was given responsibilities that had a direct impact on Cisco’s customers and business. This may sound scary, but it’s actually really exciting! This is where the real life work experience comes from, and having the opportunity to work in a fast paced, high impact environment where I could directly contribute to the success of Cisco’s customers was something I am very thankful for.
  1. New and Prospective Ideas are Always Welcome: During my internship, I was expected to continue learning new technologies, while studying and passing Cisco certification exams. With enough resources provided, everyone is there to help you out, but it depends on you and how you utilize those resources to gain the full experience out of your internship.
  1. You Can and Will Learn from the Best: I worked closely with Cisco’s brightest engineers to provide high quality service to customers and to solve network problems that cross a broad range of technologies. While working with these engineers, I received in-depth training that built my technical and soft skills. I had the opportunity to participate in global leadership discussions with various executives across the business, and even had the opportunity to present an end of year project to Cisco leaders.
  1. These are Exciting Times: During my internship I was present for some of Cisco’s historic events such as the Cisco RTP 20 Years Celebration, the new CEO announcement, and Cisco Rocks where we celebrated John Chamber’s 20 years of leadership and welcomed our new CEO Chuck Robbins. The interns also got a chance to talk to both John and Chuck where they welcomed us, discussed the company’s vision & strategy, and answered all the questions we had. Interns having access to Executive Leadership isn’t something most companies offer, but then again Cisco is not most companies.

Looking back on my internship, I knew I wanted to work for Cisco, but I didn’t know why. Initially, I was scared because I was the only one in my team with no networking background. I would encourage young talent to apply for a job or internship that you might not have previously considered – take risks and try new things! The only way to grow and learn is to step outside of your comfort zone.

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Cisco’s Packet Optical Network Conference Comes to Rome

Leonard LunaGuest blog by Leonard Luna, Marketing Manager, Cisco

This year’s fall Packet Optical Networking Conference (PONC) convenes on November 3 and 4, 2015 in Rome Italy. Cisco executives and technology experts will convene in the “Eternal City” to present Cisco’s strategy and vision to help service providers, large enterprises, public sector agencies and data center operators achieve their business outcomes by leveraging opportunities driven by the accelerating rate of content consumption and the exhilarating innovations taking place in service and application solutions.

Images from Fall 2014 PONC, Italy:

PONC Rome 1 PONC Rome 2 PONC Rome 3 PONC ROME 4

This year’s fall conference will explore Read More »

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The Branch: A Retail Bank’s Secret Sauce to Success

So This Guy Walks into a Branch…

I like to think of myself as a tech-savvy consumer, and that includes my banking habits. That means that I rarely step across the threshold of my bank’s branch, since most of what I need can be accessed online, or via my bank’s mobile app.

However, when it comes to complex interactions and larger spending decisions, I still prefer my local branch. What’s more, I have repeatedly gone back to the same bank as we have added new investments, even when they didn’t offer the best rate. Why? Because I value their expert advice, their understanding of my history, and, most importantly, their ability to see the whole picture — rather than just an isolated transaction.

Bank Customers Want It All

In this sense, I am not alone. The digitalization of banking has transformed customer expectations and behavior. Advances in technology have allowed customers like me to manage our own accounts remotely, from any place at any time. Yet for the more complex transactions, we still prefer personal interactions at our local branches.

Ian's blogAn annual survey of 1,000 U.S. adults for American Bankers Association (ABA) by Ipsos Public Affairs, in August, 2014 found that consumers are embracing mobile banking in ever-increasing numbers. However, in-person branch visits are still popular with many customers. Preference for branch banking had increased year over year from 2013, from 18 percent to 21 percent, and 89 percent of customers who come to the branch required advice for complex financial products.

Today’s customers expect the best of both worlds: the convenience and easy access to online banking, along with the expert advice and personal guidance from their local branch. In short, they expect a blending of the physical and virtual, a value proposition that online-only banks cannot match. Read More »

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