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Delivering Education And Mental Health Care to the Arctic Circle

April 8, 2014 at 11:25 am PST

willa_black_lo_resThis post was written by Willa Black, Director of Corporate Affairs for Cisco Canada, and was originally published on the Huffington Post.

The territory of Nunavut, Canada is incredibly cold and remote. It’s roughly a four-hour plane ride north of Toronto, with temperatures well below the freezing mark for eight months of the year, dark in the winter months and light all summer long. The communities in the north face unprecedented challenges. The school dropout rates average around 75 percent by the time students hit Grade 8. There is high incidence of youth mental health problems and suicide -- the highest in the world. And yet, there is much hope and potential in this corner of our planet. And a deep, rich Inuit culture and tradition that informs us all as Canadians. When Cisco Canada set out to build a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program for Canada, it didn’t take long for us to connect the dots and understand the vital role we could play in bringing much-needed services to our most remote communities.

On April 2, Cisco Canada officially announced Connected North, a program that leverages our core competence in Internet, networking and collaboration solutions. Our first stop in the development of our strategy was Inuit Tapiriit Kunatami — the organization of the Inuit people of Canada. Their direction was clear: Find a way to make the classrooms more exciting. Help to stem the high dropout rates.

We knew video held the key.

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Supplier Diversity Programs Bring Out the Entrepreneur Within

October 14, 2013 at 2:00 pm PST

Jasmine-web-2This piece was authored by guest blogger Jasmin Herro, founder and CEO of Outback Global Australia and vice president of Outback Global USA. Outback Global is an Indigenous-owned business certified with Supply Nation, along with Cisco Australia, which is also a member. Supply Nation is an organization dedicated to growing diversity within the supply chain

 

I woke up one morning and suddenly realized I was an entrepreneur!

Those who know me, even for a short time, realize that I am an ideas person, I am constantly thinking, joining the proverbial dots, making connections and never taking myself too seriously. Every day starts at 5:30 a.m. and ends the next morning around 1 a.m., or when I drag myself to bed after falling asleep at my desk.

There are things that constantly go through my mind, random sets of ideas that could at any moment be the next big thing. Was I always like this? I remember, as an 8-year-old child needing money to go to the annual fair and thinking that if I could convince Glen, the man who worked for my dad, to help me pick all the mandarins off the two big trees in our yard, I could sell them in my dad’s petrol station. After some gentle persuasion (begging), Glen harvested all the mandarins off both trees and I convinced him to help me set up a table at the petrol station with a sign that read “Mandarins 10 cents or 6 for 50 cents.” After 2 days I made $23 and with my best puppy dog eyes offered half the money to Glen. He of course declined but offered to make me an extension arm so I could reach the top of the trees and pick the mandarins myself the next year.  This was my first taste of entrepreneurial creativity and from then on I’ve looked for value and opportunity in everything around me.

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