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Chief Diversity Officer Sandy Hoffman on Diversity and Technology

June 5, 2012 at 3:44 pm PST

I had a moment to chat recently with Sandy Hoffman, Cisco’s newly appointed chief diversity officer, and we spoke about her new role:

What does a chief diversity officer actually do?

At Cisco, I see my role as providing strategic leadership across the company on recruiting, advancing and retaining talented people in our multinational and multigenerational corporate environment. Additionally, I’ll partner with the business on embedding inclusion and diversity into existing business processes, improving the effectiveness of employee resource groups, and supporting supplier diversity.

What challenges/opportunities do you see for diversity in technology companies right now?

The changing business landscape indicates that by 2020 the workplace will be dramatically different. In order to remain competitive, companies need to create a workplace that is diverse and inclusive, adaptable, virtual, and global.

Technology companies in particular are facing challenges in the Read More »

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Celebrating Memorial Day in the U.S.

May 28, 2012 at 8:25 am PST

Here in the United States, we are observing Memorial Day today which honors those men and women that have laid down their lives in our nation’s service.  Here’s a fact I only learned recently about why the flag is only at half staff until noon:

On Memorial Day the flag is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day.

The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.

Here at Cisco, our military focused employee resource group (ERG) is just finishing up its annual spring care package drive to troops overseas.  It is always an education to get Read More »

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Talking about my Generation

I recently read an article by Deloitte and something really caught my attention: voicemail.

Apparently voicemail is antiquated.  It’s out of touch. It’s not an efficient way to communicate with people.

Did you know that? I didn’t. But according to the same article, the reason I didn’t know is because I am too old.

I’m a Generation X-er. I’ve lived through the digital revolution. And whilst I, like any good Cisco employee, love the fruits of technology – the Internet, smartphones, SMS texts, blogs, IWE – I also remember a time when telephones had cords and emails were word-processed and delivered by postmen. And apparently that makes me a whole different ball-game to Generation Y-ers and “Millenials.”

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Connecting, Empowering and Inspiring Women in Technology at Cisco

April 20, 2012 at 4:47 pm PST


Birds of Feather Session

Women in technology have unique opportunities and challenges. Only about 25% of Information Technology jobs are held by women and this can lead to feelings of isolation. Additionally, when women don’t see a lot of role models in the industry, they find it harder to believe they can succeed.

In working with the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, I’ve learned that it’s important to acknowledge these challenges and have open conversations about them. After brainstorming with my manager and getting great support from my VP, I rallied a group of women to create a day devoted to the development and advancement of women in technology.

On March 27th, we held our first Women in Technology Forum for Cisco employees. The main event in San Jose, California saw 300 attendees in-person. The nice thing about working at a worldwide leader in networking is that Read More »

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Is it really funny?

Driving home from the supermarket a few Saturday mornings ago, I switched on the radio to discover a female chef talking very enthusiastically about her collection of knives. I couldn’t place who she was but was suddenly more interested when out of her mouth popped the phrase:

“Anyone who uses a serrated knife for anything other than tomatoes is totally gay.”

I turned up the radio hoping to check what I’d heard was really what I’d heard but there was only silence, as if the chat show host and other guests were deliberating over the need to pick up on the chef’s use of the term gay.

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