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What I Learned at Grace Hopper: Collaboration Is Crucial for Improving Gender Diversity in Tech

In October I had the privilege of attending the Grace Hopper Celebration for the first time. I am truly in awe of how transformative and inspiring this conference is.

Grace Hopper is the largest event for women in computing. It’s a place for women to come together and get inspired by other women who are inventing and innovating. After three days of amazing keynotes and technical sessions, I can honestly say that I have never been more proud to be a woman in tech!

Where My Girls At?
I started my career in 2008 and quickly became passionate about improving gender diversity in tech. The photo of my first team may help you understand why. Taken within my first few months of joining a large tech company, it’s a great snapshot of a typical lunch outing with my team. Believe it or not, this was not a staged photo. I was really the only woman in attendance.

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Cisco SX10 Gains New Video Fans

When a product does exactly what it promises and more, it can develop almost a cult following. Think iPhone, 3 Series, red soles. You almost don’t need the company brand to know what I’m talking about.

OK, so maybe the Cisco SX10 doesn’t quite stir the same emotions as a sleek BMW or a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes. But I can tell you that people are buying into the promise we made when we launched this entry-level video conferencing solution:  “High quality, simplicity, and affordability come together to create a practical and powerful business class solution for video ubiquity – all at about the price of a PC.”

Over the past 18 months since we launched the SX10, customers have validated our product positioning with their wallets and their feedback. But we know we’ve hit a home run when some of our toughest critics also agree. Take for example, the recent independent review from Wainhouse Research: Evaluation of the Cisco TelePresence SX10 Quick Set Group Conferencing System.” It is testament to the strength of our design and engineering teams that the review aligns with our product promise. Read More »

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My Job Moves with me Anywhere I Go

In the last five years I have moved from Siberia to San Francisco, to Berkeley, to San Jose, to Phoenix, and now to Minneapolis. Unlike most people, moving so many times almost feels like a privilege to me. My husband and I have been able to explore the “sparkle” of Silicon Valley. We enjoyed Phoenix during the not-so-hot months. And now we are in Minneapolis where every day of summer seems like the 4th of July. (I might not be bragging in January when its -30 degrees. But hey, I’m trying to tell myself that it’s healthy for the soul to endure a Winter Wonderland in the U.S. Midwest.)

There are many reasons why we’ve had to relocate so often. Whether I moved to be closer to the beach, the snow, or family — or due to a tragedy — I’m glad that my personal life did not impact my professional life. Aside from constant packing, unpacking, and doing the legwork of finding housing – I don’t know what I would do if I also had to start and restart the process of finding a job.

I have worked for Cisco a little more than two years now. Throughout my transitions, my responsibilities have changed only slightly. Surprisingly, my productivity and efficiency have increased thanks to my new, liberated perspective of work.

South Long Lake_MN_OK3My job moves with me anywhere I go. As long as I have an internet connection, I can work from my home office, my backyard, a restaurant, a coffee shop, or even on my family’s boat. My laptop and smartphone are the only devices I need to be fully functional.  And Cisco tools such as Jabber, WebEx, and now Spark (a team collaboration solution) allow me to collaborate with my colleagues across continents.

If I need to join an important meeting with executives or managers, I have a DX70 desktop endpoint for better audio and video quality. If I have a meeting with local colleagues, we can use room systems like MX800 or IX5000 in a Cisco office. It has been fun to explore the differences between the Cisco offices in Phoenix, San Jose, and Bloomington, Minnesota. (Hmm, I think next year I should visit the Cisco office in New Zealand.) Read More »

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Changing the Future of Healthcare with Collaboration

All of us have hobbies and some have passions. And then there are causes, which many of us are passionate about. I have a special place in my heart for making a difference in anything to do with healthcare.

I obtained my Master’s degree in Child Psychology. I realized that most of my student projects pivoted around activities like spending time with and reading stories to sick children in hospitals. And teaching families in rural areas about healthy living and good nutrition. My project reports were quoted as examples of near ideal written pieces that other students could emulate. The seed was sown.

I started my career with writing, mostly on health, fitness, nutrition among many other topics. I critiqued books on health, care, and life. As I progressed in my career, I moved into IT marketing. I could feel my satisfaction levels peaking when I could bring technology and healthcare closer together. Technology can improve healthcare access and delivery. It’s especially impactful in rural areas where the nearest hospital or clinic could be hours away.

The Promise of Technology-driven Healthcare
There is no doubt that technological advancements are transforming the entire healthcare industry. The proliferation of new collaboration technologies is helping to address issues such as:

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Behind the Scenes at Jimmy Kimmel Live’s “Wall of America”

Two things happened this year that give me a reason to stay up past 11:30 p.m.: I had a second baby and Cisco started a new partnership with Jimmy Kimmel Live.  Usually, I catch clips of late-night shows on YouTube. But when we partnered with the Jimmy Kimmel Live team to reimagine the fan experience, I knew I would have some great TV to watch while up with my newborn.

IMG_2959What they’ve accomplished with the Wall of America, powered by Cisco video conferencing, has been truly amazing. It brings a new and different dynamic to broadcast television. Sure, video conferencing on television isn’t new. The difference is video conferencing at this scale and quality!

The show’s team had a vision to not only create a virtual audience during live broadcasts, but also to have the ability to interact with the virtual audience in meaningful (and often very funny) ways. Whether home viewers connect to participate in a funny game, or talk “in person” with celebrities, the segments never disappoint.

Things I’ve learned since the Wall’s debut: Read More »

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