On 8 March, thousands of International Women’s Day events have been planned throughout the world. The focus of the day generally expresses respect for ,and appreciation towards women who have achieved greatness on the public stage. More often than not it is to acknowledge their accomplishments in economics, political and social change.
I’d like to take a moment today to thank several remarkable women colleagues that I work with every day who move the ball forward, inch by inch, to make sure that the impact of our efforts to improve the world do not go unseen.
Since ” ’tis the season” for giving in many parts of the world, and as end of the calendar year approaches, I’ve decided to finish my working year reflecting upon the biggest “Giving Back” initiative I was personally part of in September of this year (2012) -- my two stages of the Deloitte Ride Across Britain, or RAB as we called it in Cisco UK & Ireland -- an event we aligned to Cisco’s overall involvement in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games. Time has flown since I initially blogged about my nerves pre-ride. I reflected on our “Virtual RAB” -- designed to give everyone at Cisco an easier chance of participating -- also as part of our overall fundraising, and told you about the “Network on Wheels” or Cisco NOW Van that supported us with remote (very remote!) internet access as we cycled through all weathers from the bottom to the very top of the UK. The Cisco team raised around £20,000 (over $32,000 USD) -- while the event as a whole, with over 700 riders, raised over £1 Million in total -- all for paralympic athletes.
It was indeed an experience! While the second of my two days was a beautiful day for cycling -- as the video clip from Cisco UK & Ireland Senior VP Phil Smith (quite a cyclist btw!) shows -- the first day was a 12 hour test in truely horrendous stormy conditions! Let me tell you more about that day and show you some of the sights on the way.
“You mean you can Facetime us from your camp site”, my daughter said incredulously. “From the middle of nowhere?” she continued. ”You lot are mad!” OK she was more annoyed that I was taking our WiFi-only iPad away with me as I took some time out of my day job in Cisco Data Center Services, to participate in 2 stages of the Deloitte Ride Across Britain. Prior to the ride, I blogged about this challenge here, discussing the scale of the event and our target to raise money for Paralympic athletes. A nine day, 969 mile cycle over some of the most challenging terrain in Britain, the ‘Deloitte Ride Across Britain’ was an immense physical and mental challenge. From Saturday 8th September until Sunday 16th September (just passed), over 700 riders took part in this epic journey from Land’s End to John O’Groats. For the second year in a row, Cisco provided key technical support to the riders, so that they were able to focus fully on this enormous and exciting journey.
Today, we’ll tell you how we raised funds for Paralympic athletes through what we call the “Virtual Ride Across Britain” – literally cycling on (stationary) bikes in each of the Cisco offices across the UK and Ireland!
I’m writing this blog in conjunction with 2 of my Cisco colleagues, Stephen Reidy and Nigel Townley.
Last week in another Cisco blog, we introduced Cisco’s participation in the Deloitte Ride Across Britain (or ‘RAB’, as we call it) – a 9 day cycle event across the whole of Great Britain. A number of Cisco colleagues were taking part over one or multiple days to raise funds for ParalympicsGB, in order to help this tremendous charity support more inspirational athletes. Alongside this, we also run the “Virtual Ride Across Britain” or VRAB, to enable more employees to participate. For the Cisco staff that can’t get out on the road, we compete virtually on gym bikes at each of the UK offices – Bedfont, Galway, Glasgow (Trilogy), Greenpark, Langley, London City, Manchester, Ruscombe – with an objective to collectively ride the length of Britain, equivalent to the 963 miles that the road riders complete in the “actual” RAB.
Stephen Reidy is a sales account manager in Cisco, and championed our “Virtual Ride Across Britain” across all of Cisco’s UK and Ireland offices, and Nigel Townley is a director of engineering in our “Enhanced Customer Aligned Testing Services” (or eCATS) testing team and press-ganged – sorry encouraged -- tremendous participation in our Greenpark (Reading) office.
Doing good is not that easy, and sustaining good on a grand scale is almost impossible. But once again it is being done at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting, Sept 22 to 24. I like to say it’s a place where highly influential people go behind closed doors to do good.
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, CGI convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI annual meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and nongovernmental organizations, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI members have made more than 2100 commitments, which are already improving the lives of nearly 400 million people in more than 180 countries.
As part of our involvement in CGI, Cisco along with several nonprofit, NGO, and government partners, made a 4-year investment to support ICT-driven development strategies in five countries in sub-Saharan Africa — primarily through establishment of locally managed and self-sustaining community knowledge centers (CKCs).