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Multiplying the Impact of Food and Housing Relief

When you have a regular paycheck, a roof over your head, your health, and a fully stocked refrigerator, it’s easy to focus on other activities of daily living.

But when you lack one or all of these things, your focus is on surviving.

I know all this from first-hand experience. As a child, I helped my mom, who doesn’t speak English, apply for public assistance in times of great family need. I had to research and complete, on behalf of my parents, food, health, and unemployment forms and job applications, translating them from English to Spanish and vice versa. We used buses to go from one agency to the next, and sometimes going back and forth to the same organization. There was no one to point us the right way or direct us around pitfalls, as we worked toward stabilizing our day-to-day lives, and eventual self-sufficiency and economic independence.

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Recognizing Programs that Empower Girls and Women

As we prepare to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, I am reflecting on so many factors that led to where I am today. My mother grew up in India when the path for most women was not one of higher education and a professional life. Yet, with the support of her family, she pursued an advanced degree and became an internationally acclaimed scientist. At a time when arranged marriages were the standard, she met my father and they wed in a non-traditional “love marriage.” With her quiet strength, she was a pioneer, and her experience and outlook helped shape who I am and the path I have taken.

I, too, had the support of my family to pursue dreams of a college degree and professional career, and to be a wife and mother. But many girls and women are not afforded these opportunities, a lack of access which leads to millions trapped in a cycle of poverty, abuse, and poor health—an inherent inequality—where 66 million girls around the world are not in school, 150 million girls are victims of sexual violence each year, and the number 1 cause of death for girls ages 15 to19 is childbirth.

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Vote for Videos that Inspire Social Good

February 28, 2014 at 8:00 am PST

Cisco is proud to sponsor the DoGooder Video Awards for the third year in a row. These awards recognize the creative and effective use of video in promoting social good.

The submissions included a wide array of funny, moving, and informative videos that embraced strong storytelling to communicate important messages. It was a difficult task, but the DoGooder Team has chosen the finalists -- and now it’s up to the public to choose the winners.

Visit the contest site today and cast your vote. Public voting is open through March 10, 2014.

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Four Secrets of One Woman’s Success in the IT Industry

February 26, 2014 at 6:30 am PST

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 4.04.46 PMThis post was written by guest blogger Patrice D’Eramo, who, as Vice President of the Americas Field Marketing Organization, leads field marketing for Cisco’s largest geographic region with $25 billion in annual sales. 

As I reflect back on my career journey, I realize most of the positions I wanted, I wasn’t supposed to get, at least not yet. I was either too young, didn’t have “enough” experience or didn’t have tenure at the company. Others were better positioned in the network, had more experience and were already a part of the company’s succession planning.

But I never let anything stop me from applying; I submitted my resume anyway. I surprised myself each time by being awarded every job I pursued. As a result of my “do it anyway” attitude, more opportunities presented themselves to me as time went on. In thinking back on how I have been successful, I attribute it to a few things:

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Cisco Supports Tech Entrepreneurs in Jordan

It is Sunday night in Amman, Jordan, and the Jordanian startup scene keeps moving full steam ahead at an event called Dealmakers Weekend, organized by Endeavor, a nonprofit that supports high-impact entrepreneurship and Int@j, a nonprofit representing the Jordan IT industry. The cream of the local startup crop were paired up all day in matchmaking sessions with local and international investors in hopes of creating lasting relationships.

One of the startups, Mixed Dimensions (MXD), is representative of the new breed of company emerging from the local ecosystem. Founded in 2009, MXD is a technology and tools provider for platform developers, gaming companies and interactive 3D online application developers. Its co-founders, Muhannad Taslaq and Baha Abu Nojaim, are examples of the diverse entrepreneurs Jordan is producing. Born and bred in Jordan and of Palestinian origin, they are graduates of Jordanian universities and active participants in promoting grassroots technology entrepreneurship in Jordan.

Unlike many startups in Jordan and the region overall, MXD’s vision extends far beyond its home country’s borders. Having begun its journey at the iPARK, an ICT incubator in Amman, MXD was from day one building technology targeted at a global audience. Its flagship product, a 3D asset development tool called GameDraw built for the Unity gaming engine, is used by over 16,000 game developers in 110 countries (as of January 2014). The company has expanded its global footprint, completing the Alchemist Accelerator program in Silicon Valley in August 2013 and venturing into new technology niches within 3D modeling and development.

MXD will become one of the first portfolio companies of the Badia Impact Fund, which announced its first close February 24 with Cisco (as part of our 2011 Venture Capital Commitment to Jordan), European Investment Bank, and King Abdullah Fund for Development.

GameDraw is the flagship product of Jordan start-up Mixed Dimensions. It is a 3D asset development tool built for the Unity gaming engine that is currently used by over 16,000 game developers in 110 countries .

GameDraw is the flagship product of Jordan start-up Mixed Dimensions. It is a 3D asset development tool built for the Unity gaming engine that is currently used by over 16,000 game developers in 110 countries .

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