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Cisco Diversity Allies ‘Come Out’

July 27, 2012 at 12:23 pm PST

What is the role that allies can play in workplace inclusion? Most commonly used in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (“LGBT”) community, the term allies refers to those who don’t identify as LGBT, but who share a commitment to inclusion for all, and who are eager to contribute to corporate inclusion efforts by advocating on behalf of under-represented workplace communities.

On August 2nd,  Cisco is co-sponsoring a free webinar called Allies ‘Come Out:’ Allies Are Changing the Face of Workplace Diversity and Inclusion. Moderated by Jennifer Brown of JBC, the webinar is from 1:00 to 2:15 pm EST.

The panel of diversity and leadership professionals will discuss the important role that allies have played in civil rights movements and the work that is underway globally for human rights, dignity and respect. Learn about 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.

Read More »

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Stand Up Against Bullying with Ben Cohen – Nov 9

November 2, 2011 at 9:14 pm PST

“Every person on this planet has a right to be true to themselves, to love and be loved, and to be happy. I encourage others to stand up with me and make a difference,” says Ben Cohen of Stand Up Foundation.

Ben Cohen

The Ben Cohen Stand Up Foundation, Inc. is the world’s first foundation dedicated to raising awareness of the long-term, damaging effects of bullying, and funding those doing real-world work to stop it. The foundation’s mission is to stand up against bullying for any reason. Because Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered (GLBT) people are often targeted by bullies, the foundation gives particular attention to this community. Removing homophobia from sports is also a central part of the mission.

The Cisco Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered and Advocates (GLBT&A) Employee Resource Group(ERG), together with the Cisco Disabilities Awareness Network ERG, are bringing Ben to the Cisco San Jose campus on Wednesday, Nov 9 at 3pm as part of Cisco’s Inclusion & Diversity Speaker series.

Ben Cohen is an England Rugby World Cup champion, and among the world’s greatest athletes. He ranks second in all-time scoring for England, and he’s the first straight professional athlete to focus his philanthropic efforts for the benefit of the GLBT community. He is also clinically deaf.

Bullying in our schools is a real problem. It disrupts the classroom and Read More »

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Collaboration is Hard: How to Work within Conflicting Points of View

August 2, 2011 at 12:40 pm PST

“If someone is very abusive, or very aggressive, I always try to think, why is this person so aggressive? And sometimes by even making a joke, or by trying to get more information about the person…you break the ice. And sometimes you have some surprising results”

Boris Dittrich, Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch, spoke on collaboration at Cisco’s San Jose campus recently.  He told a story about his time as an openly gay Dutch parliament member:

I was still a member of the national parliament and a leader of my political party. We had created a new government and I was on television every night. So people usually said something when I walked down the street. Usually friendly.

Dittrich then recounted a less friendly encounter he had with a man as he walked from the train station to parliament: Read More »

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It Gets Better Project: Cisco Employees

At Cisco, we recognize that building a culture of inclusion and diversity is both a business and a cultural imperative. It is simply not enough to have a diverse workforce. An inclusive environment where all of Cisco’s employees can work together allows us to anticipate important market transitions, be responsive to customer needs, be innovative in our technology and business models, and build a solid foundation for the future.

Recently, several LGBT Cisco employees and allies created a video for the It Gets Better Project.

This project was started in September 2010, by syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage and his partner Terry, who created a YouTube video with the hope to inspire youth that face harassment. Cisco employee participation with this video echoes the company’s commitment to end bullying and name-calling in schools through the sponsorship of GLSEN’s No-Name Calling Week.

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