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Practicing Inclusion and Diversity at home

Do you measure the success of your family by its ROI?

Every month, I receive an invite to attend Professional Business Women of California’s professional development sessions on a variety of topics. Their recent Webinar was a particularly interesting and thought-provoking one – how we can apply the skills we have learnt in our career to strengthening the most important organisation in the world, our family.

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So…Where ARE the Women in I.T.?

In 2005, The Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology published a report entitled “Where are the Women in Information Technology?”  Six years later, we’re still asking that same question—the focus of an article this week in Bloomberg/Business Week. Shockingly, the article reports that although women hold about half the jobs in the U.S. economy, they represent less than 25 percent of science, technology, engineering and math positions. Ultimately, we need to not only stem the flow of women leaving the industry, but also leaving the associated fields of study in college.

Sunday evening, at a fundraiser dinner, a friend of mine who works for another technology company raised this same question. Looking around the room, she pointed out several of the brightest minds in technology, who happen to be women, and questioned why they weren’t more visible within their organizations and within the industry. Clearly, there’s an opportunity for our industry to make a big shift, but what will it take?

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Veterans Corporate Technology Day at Cisco – Oct 18, 2011

September 19, 2011 at 9:35 am PST

On October 18, 2011, Cisco Systems will host Veterans Corporate Technology Day (VCTD) which brings U.S. military personnel, spouses and caregivers to Cisco campuses and exposes them to resources that are available as they potentially transition to the civilian workforce.

The multi-site event introduces mentorship programs and educational resources.  There will be a sessions on the GI Bill/ Vets Benefits and Futures Inc’s online career path and job resource center called “Pipeline.”  Cisco veterans and executives will share testimonials about their own transitions and attendees will have an opportunity to tour Cisco facilities such as labs, the Network Emergency Response Vehicle and the virtual Executive Briefing Center.

The event builds on the first Cisco Veterans Corporate Technology Day  held last year at Cisco’s Research Triangle Park campus in North Carolina.  The Veterans Enablement and Troop Support (VETS) employee resource group hosted 30 soldiers, spouses and caregivers from the Ft. Bragg Warrior Transition.  The day was a great success with many rewards for all parties involved. Click video below to hear from participants of last year’s event:

This year’s Cisco Veterans’ Technology Day will take place  on October 18, 2011 at the following Cisco locations in partnership with Wounded Warriors Project and Futures Inc.:

  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
  • Englewood, Colorado
  • San Jose, California
  • Herndon, Virginia
  • Lawrenceville, Georgia

Related Posts:

Cisco’s Inclusion & Diversity Blog: Transition from Military Service to Civilian Life

Cisco’s Platform Blog: Supporting New Opportunities for Veterans

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Lessons Learned: Successfully Implementing the ERG Progression Model

The Cisco employee resource groups (ERGs) help reinforce the Cisco goal of having employees bring their “total self” to work, fostering a more inclusive, collaborative, and innovative environment. The ERGs play a key role in supporting the Cisco business initiatives by uncovering marketing needs, exploring areas of potential growth, and creating meaningful dialogues that lead to business opportunities.  By valuing the differences that make each person unique, these groups can increase Cisco’s competitive advantage and increase profits.

To assist ERGs in becoming stronger business partners, we worked with Jennifer Brown Consulting to create the ERG Progression Model. This model enables ERGs to assess themselves, their work and their evolution as organizations.

This new framework allows ERG members to:

  • Actively engage on the ERG strategy and action planning process by identifying next phase structural and competency goals
  • Increase engagement by building competencies of ERGs to support recruitment and retention of diverse employees
  • Expand ERG capability to insert into new markets and related adjacencies
  • Establish a tool and process that balances structural needs with individual ERG autonomy

It is always a challenge to develop and implement a new method among established organizations. To ensure a smooth adoption at Cisco, I incorporated three key tactics: Read More »

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Transitions: From Military Service to Civilian Life

August 29, 2011 at 7:33 am PST

“Successful transitions are about attitude, ambition and placing the mission first. As we have done our entire military careers; never accept defeat, never quit and never leave a fallen comrade and to make this point clear, this is why I am here today. I have been in your seat, I have experienced many of the emotions you are going through and can provide you hope and encouragement that the future is yours for the taking.”

Credit: Wiliam McMillian

Kim Ringeisen, Director of Engineering at Cisco, spoke last month at the Wounded Warriors Project graduation ceremony for the Transition Training Academy at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. An 11-year veteran of the US Army, Ringeisen, was the keynote speaker for a 100 person graduating class of transitioning soldiers.

Also with him were Dale Robbins and Marissa Gaithers, members of Cisco’s Veterans Enablement and Troop Support Employee Resource Group.

“Soldiers today are very highly trained in their chosen discipline and in core values that the military instills on every soldier who has served, you have the competitive advantage, you have the spirit that many corporations seek.

“The Military is all about transitions, this is not new… You do not just arrive and you’re done, no! You will always improve your position, train and ensure your personal and team readiness, even if that team is you and your wife or partner. Do not let this transition rattle you, even though for some it will feel like deploying to a foreign land where nothing is familiar, questioning along the way, “will I make it?”, “is their hope for me?”, “how can I compete with the college grads?”, “ I’m in combat arms, but want to be a Network engineer, is this possible?”

“Keep in mind in that foreign land that you are entering, there are hundreds of thousands of veterans already there that can assist you in some form or another.”

About 27 percent of veterans age 20 to 24 are unemployed, according to recent statistics from the Labor Dept. Transitioning to civilian life is challenging. Ringeisen recounted his own experience: Read More »

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