Cisco Blogs

Cisco Blog > Life At Cisco

Employees Give Cisco Cats a “Paw Up” In Life

Cisco Cat

One of the Cisco Cats awaits its friends in the Cat Club.

Everyone knows that cats rule the Internet. Since Cisco’s focus is the Internet of Everything, it would make sense that when they are abandoned or lose their homes, cats would want to gravitate towards the Cisco San Jose campus (even enter the lobbies!).

Cisco cat at the lobby

Time for work! Let me in!

Employees that work in San Jose, however, knew that these cats needed a little help, and they would all be “grumpy cats” (and maybe be in mortal peril!) if left on their own.

Cisco employees always seem to jump at the chance to help those in need, even the furry ones. Thus, the Cisco Cat Club was born.

“There are some people who say that we shouldn’t do anything for the cats, but we couldn’t just turn our backs on them and do nothing!” says Jennifer Hull, “Chief Cat Club Coordinator” and Executive Assistant with Cisco Capital.

Jennifer and almost 100 other employees volunteer to help the cats as much as possible. Spay and neuter is their first priority, using humane traps (by trapping experts, and the traps are never left unsupervised.) For those that they can’t catch, or newcomers (there are a surprising number that get abandoned at Cisco, and they’re pretty smart and wily) the volunteers spend their own money to buy food and work from a feeding schedule to be sure the cats get to eat. They also all pitch in if one of the cats is injured and needs extra help.

Of course, a lot of these cats end up being re-homed. If they’re caught early enough, as kittens, they can be easily fostered and adopted (many by Cisco employees – so they stay Cisco cats forever!)

For those that have been on their own for too long and are too feral, the Cat Club makes sure they’re still taken care of, rather than sending them to a shelter to be euthanized.

“A lot of people think these abandoned cats can survive on their own,” Jennifer says. “But when they’re used to being cared for and then dumped off, they can’t.”

By the Cat Club’s rough count, over 150 cats have been spayed & neutered, and a good number of those adopted. Cisco has a program that matches employee volunteer hours with donations, so the cats get extra help. Once the Cat Club submits their hours, the Good Home Animal Society gets funds that help pay for the spay and neuter program.

Cisco Cat

Flaco is one of the Cisco Cats that Jennifer Hull adopted herself.

Even Jennifer herself has a few Cisco cats. One cat, Flaco (which means “skinny” in Spanish,) especially captured her attention (and her heart.)

“We called him ‘the greeter’,” she recalls. “Every time a feeder would come, Flaco would show up to greet us. He was an older fellow, and when we caught him, we discovered he had no teeth! That meant special feedings, but we loved him, so it was no problem. I wasn’t sure how he’d adapt to a home, but I couldn’t help it, I took him in. He had several health issues, and that, combined with his age meant that he was only with me for a year. But he was the best cat I’ve ever had!”

Jennifer’s excitement for helping these cats is contagious. Just ask new volunteer Rebecca Amato, a Business Analyst for Cisco’s IOE (Internet of Everything) Market Development Ops group.

“I just started feeding the 20+ cats that live near my work,” she says. “Jennifer explained how they really take care of the cats: wasp traps, food bowls inside of water bowls in the summer (to avoid ants from getting into the food bowls), spay and neuter, etc. The cat club goes beyond providing food and water for the cats. I am looking forward to watching the cats gather after I fill the bowls for the first time!”

Does working for a group of people who give back like this appeal to you? Join the Cisco family!

Tags: , , , ,

Galway Shoots a “GOAL!”

Cisco Jersey

At its heart, Irish culture has a very strong love of sport. While the Irish are very passionate about it, sometimes our success is disproportionate to the size of our love and our population. But that doesn’t stop us!

Because the sporting community has a strong sense of volunteerism, it’s the foundation of many of the sporting clubs. This enthusiasm for giving back is not only part of the Irish culture, and the sporting culture, but Cisco’s culture. So when we can mix sport, culture and charity, the Irish get excited!

Enter GOAL Jersey Day. The idea behind GOAL Jersey Day is to run a nationwide fundraiser where participants across Ireland don the jersey of their favourite sports team and make a donation towards the GOAL charity.

We in Cisco Galway took this idea a step further (as we like to do) and took some time during lunch to play some of the Ireland’s favourite games! Over the last few years this has included the ancient and traditional game of hurling (the fastest game on grass and not for the faint-hearted!) but this year the team decided to play Rugby to celebrate Ireland’s successful participation in the Rugby World Cup. (Another game not for the faint-hearted!)

Because we can be a little competitive here at Cisco Galway (and we don’t want anyone injured), the team decided to tone down the physical aspect and play TAG.

We had a great day, and donated some time and money. Our team really got into it!

GOAL game

Cisco Galway employees have fun and raise money for GOAL.

“Getting groups of Cisco Galway employees together into team and letting them play sport while making money for charity just made sense!” said Anthony McLaughlin, a software engineer at Cisco Galway. “It was a fantastic afternoon of ‘craic‘ (it’s an Irish word and not to be mistaken for other interpretations :) ) was enjoyed by everyone involved. And it was good to know that it was all in aid of charity”

 “It’s an easy decision to make to be part of Cisco’s annual GOAL Jersey day,” said Brian O’Donoghue, a system engineer for sales at Cisco. “It allows employees to display their pride in their team, get out and be active on the sporting field, while at the same time donating money to a very worthy Irish charity. Cisco Galway employees played with a competitive but fun attitude that typifies the culture of Cisco globally!”

“’Jersey day’ is a great event in Cisco Galway – there’s great colour on site with Jerseys being worn that represent sports from different levels – International, Provincial, County and Club, and reflecting the wide variety of sports interests on site: Rugby, Hurling, Football, Camogie, Soccer  and lots more,” said Colie McGarry, a software engineer at Cisco. “As for the matches themselves – they have been very well run and the Cisco competitive edge was quite evident to anyone involved.”

“It was an opportunity to have some super fun, healthy competition with coworkers out in the fresh air and all in aid of a fantastic cause,” said Katie NicGabhann a software engineering manager for Cisco.

“It was a good opportunity to meet with other colleagues in Cisco as well as to show my tag skills, J“ said Tuna Erdumaz, a Cisco software engineer. I had so much fun to get involved in this. I even did the winning try to make my team tournament winner.”

“The TAG match was great fun, and an excellent opportunity to get more familiar with the Cisco family here in Oranmore since I’m just a new graduate of 2months,” said Eamonn Clancy, a graduate software engineer at Cisco. “The Cisco spirit is best shown through it’s charity, even in the short time I’ve been here I’ve already signed up to a number of charity events. It’s definitely been all inclusive since I’ve joined”

“The Tag game for GOAL was a great opportunity to participate in the fundraising endeavor,” said Mary Newell, a software engineer for Cisco. “Unlike other sports, TAG is something that can easily cater for all skill levels (from the unskilled like myself to the wannabe Paul O’Connell’s). A few players were expecting their Rugby World Cup 2015 call-up after their performances! All in all a very enjoyable experience”

Tags: , , , ,

Team Donates Blood To Support Their Cisco Family

Blood donation truck.

Folks at Cisco don’t “hijack” blood donation trucks unless there’s a very good reason. If helping a colleague cope with the loss of her father and honoring his last wishes isn’t a good reason, then we don’t know what is.

One of the members of the Digital Strategy Enablement (DSE) team recently lost their father to leukemia. Instead of flowers at his service, her father asked that people donate blood to help others.

So the DSE team jumped into action, re-routing a Stanford Blood Center truck from another location and standing in line to donate at Building 8 on the San Jose, CA campus.

  • 27 people attempted to donate (8 were denied due to recent travel, etc.)
  • 22 units of blood were donated
  • 3 people were able to give T5 double-red donations, which are extra special and earned them extra cookies and kudos

DSE Team Blood Drive

While enjoying a post-donation cookie, the DSE team spoke to another colleague from a different Cisco team whose wife also as cancer and is undergoing chemo treatment at Stanford. So the DSE team may be helping ANOTHER member of the Cisco family, as she may be a recipient of their donations, as well as other people in the community.

Giving back is so engrained in the culture at Cisco, that when employees volunteer or donate, Cisco will match their volunteer hours and donations to approved organizations. So in addition to the blood donations, the team was able to earn over $200 that will go to the Stanford Blood Center as well.

Thank you, DSE team, for proving once again that the idea of the “Cisco family” isn’t a marketing slogan, it’s just how we do things around here.

If you want to be a part of the Cisco family, you can view openings here.

Tags: , , ,

Cisco Employee Changes Lives Through Technology Donations

In 2013, Roland Holloway learned he was cancer-free. For 9 years, Roland, a Cisco employee, had battled neck cancer, but a surprising recovery inspired him to give back to his community. With the help of Cisco’s Employee Purchase Donation Program (EPDP), Roland is empowering a local nonprofit with new technologies and helping others in need.

Roland, who will celebrate his 20th anniversary at Cisco later this year, is taking advantage of his newfound health to create change in his own neighborhood. “I’ve had a lot of good fortune come my way,” he said. “I enjoy giving back; I can’t change world politics, but I can definitely help my local community.”

After recovering from neck cancer, Roland enjoys spending time with his family and grandchildren

After recovering from neck cancer, Roland enjoys spending time with his family and grandchildren

He started by visiting his childhood friend, Johnny Taylor, who founded a veterans’ outreach nonprofit called Promised Land Foundation. Doctors diagnosed Taylor with polio as a child, forcing him to use an electric scooter for transportation and making his goal of serving other veterans difficult. Roland saw his friend struggling, and helped Taylor purchase a wheelchair-accessible van in 2013. “I wanted to help him fulfill his aspirations to help veterans,” Roland said. “I saw him struggling to get around, and he’s using the van to make veterans’ lives easier.”

However, Roland didn’t stop giving back. In 2014, he learned about Cisco’s EPDP through a colleague who had used the program to donate equipment to his daughter’s school. Roland realized that as a Cisco employee, he could purchase equipment at a 75% discount for donation to qualified nonprofits and schools in the United States.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , ,

#CiscoChampion Radio S2|Ep 3. Giving Back to the IT Community

CiscoChampion2015200PX#CiscoChampion Radio is a podcast series by Cisco Champions as technologists. Today we’ll be talking with Cisco Champions about giving back to the IT community. Rachel Bakker (@rbakker) is this week’s moderator.

Listen to the Podcast.

Learn about the Cisco Champions Program HERE.
See a list of all #CiscoChampion Radio podcasts HERE.

Cisco Champion SMEs
Priscilla Oppenheimer, @priscillaoppy, Network Consultant
Anas Tarsha, @anastarsha, Solutions Architect
Chris Partsenidis, @firewallcx, Network Engineer

Cisco Champion Guest Hosts
Noah Jaehnert, @njaehner, Security Architecture Program Manager

Benefits of giving back
Ideas on how to give back to the IT community
How you can leverage your IT skills to give back to your local community
The positive impact of mentorship
Sharing your knowledge and expertise in your local colleges and schools
How to get kids excited about IT Read More »

Tags: , ,