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#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 »

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5 Steps to Make Mentoring your New Years Resolution

When people think of mentoring, the images of an apprentice learning from his master are often rendered. The senior blacksmith guiding his pupil through the craft he has spent his life perfecting. Over the years mentoring has changed, and today it is used throughout business to guide the greenhorns throughout their craft, or even life. But the idea that this advice must come from a wise old sage is a bit passé.In today’s world, the 1:1 ratio of mentor to apprentice isn’t common place. While you will still find these relationships around the world, the world has changed, and technology has helped us evolve. As a matter of fact, I believe the Cisco Champions program is fundamentally a group of mentors. We are all selected because we participate in social media, we blog, we have a sense of community. Because of all of these things, I believe many of us are already indirectly mentoring the community as a whole. But I wanted to mainly focus here on the local mentoring you do in your daily work life.

  1. Listen – In any relationship the power of listening is massive, just ask a therapist what their number one tool is. When you take the time to listen, you are showing support and encouragement. Once you have taken the time to listen and understand, the advice you provide will be much more valuable.
  2. Never stop learning – A career in IT means that you can never stop learning, lest your skills become antiquated. This just doesn’t mean you should keep up on the industry changes, or take a class on some new technology every year. I believe that it’s important for everyone to have their own mentor(s). It’s not always just about the technology, but sometimes the methodologies, and strategies that we can learn from our peers are much more important.
  3. Be committed – Being a mentor is a commitment, it certainly takes time and effort, but it is an investment! You spend your time and energy into your pupils, but you end up getting much more out of the experience. Be sincere, and interested in their development. Remember that your fledgling is easily demotivated by your indifference towards their development.
  4. Be open-minded – Some folks say that the best way to truly learn a subject is to teach it to others. Teaching is rewarding in that you get to not only review the subject matter for yourself, but you get to answer questions you may of never thought of. Also remember to listen, as some folks will never see your side of a discussion unless they’re convinced that you’ve understood theirs.
  5. Blog – And participate in social media, because sharing information is important. It is easier today than ever to share knowledge and incite discussion amongst the community of your peers. And because of that, it is easier than ever to reach out for help and guidance. So remember, when someone does, be a mentor. Listen, Understand, and most of all, try to help!

There are 5 ways you can become a (better) mentor. But I imagine many of you are asking why… Mentoring isn’t just about taking care of a junior staff member, it’s great for you in many different ways. First of all, helping others provides a wonderful feeling. Especially when you’re able to help make a difference in their lives! In addition, teaching is a wonderful tool that not only helps educate the student, but also forces you to continue your own learning to stay ahead with your advice.

I hope this has convinced some of you to step up your mentoring game in 2015. I certainly hope to spend more time at a white board this year myself.

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We all start at Square One

I’ve been thinking about what to write for a while now.  I’m involved in some really cool projects right now, pervasive wifi in a theme park, using CMX with many zones at that same theme park and upgrading some public schools to newer equipment with full coverage wifi in the classrooms.  I think each of those would make a great post and I plan to touch on them soon, but this post will be on a comment that an intern made to me while we were upgrading a school recently.  “I can’t believe a Sr. Network Engineer is helping me cable a rack.”  I didn’t think much of it at the time but I did start thinking about it on the way home. Read More »

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Top 5 Learnings for Any Digital and Social Media Professional

It’s hard to believe that over eight years have passed since I started working with Cisco. Along the way, I learned so much from peers, the industry, and about myself. As I get ready to pursue a new adventure outside of Cisco, I wanted to share some key learnings I think may be helpful to other digital and social media professionals and give a shout out to a few people!

Top 5 Learnings for Digital and Social Media Professionals

Top 5 Learnings for Digital and Social Media Professionals

Top 5 Learnings for Any Digital and Social Media Professional

  • Carve out an individual online persona that is true to yourself and is relatable to the audience.
    • We all have expertise to offer in our roles and throughout the socialsphere. Share this knowledge and make an impact in a collaborative way. It may take time, so patience is a must. Look for ways to share and interact with others, where ever its most comfortable for you. (I personally find LinkedIn, Twitter, blogging, and Pinterest to help me create and develop these relationships.) Read More »

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2014 Digital and Social Media Trends Twitter Chat Recap

#Ciscosmt November 21st Twitter Chat

#Ciscosmt November 21st Twitter Chat

Thank you to everyone that participated in the Let’s Chat! #Ciscosmt Series 2014 Digital and Social Media Trends Twitter chat. What a lively discussion and a special thanks to our guest Molly McHugh (@iammollymchugh), Web and Social Section Editor at @DigitalTrends. She really helped outline trends we should watch out for in several key areas from the way we use social media channels to impact of big data.

Check out this transcript and let us know your viewpoints for 2014 digital and social media trends! And stay tuned for more 2014 #Ciscosmt activity details by following the Cisco Digital and Social blog and the #Ciscosmt hashtag!

Let’s Chat! #Ciscosmt Series: Engaging Employees in Social Media Twitter Chat Transcript Read More »

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