Today. Tomorrow. Transformed. This was the theme of the second annual Cisco Empowered Women’s Network (CiscoEWN) forum at Cisco Live. And what a great week of transformation it was, and a great way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Cisco Live! Sorry for the long blog post, but it was an exciting week for us!
CiscoEWN is a global community of highly motivated, professional women, as well as a forum for Cisco customers, partners and employees to network and motivate one another at Cisco Live and in virtual and live events throughout the year. Our founders and Executive Sponsors highlight our goals for CiscoEWN at Cisco Live US in San Francisco this year:
CiscoEWN sponsored several activities during the week each of which gave the opportunity for women in technology and our male allies to gather together and network, learn from and empower each other.
We kicked off the week with the CiscoEWN Forum on Sunday, a four-hour event with a packed agenda of mentoring sessions, panels, and keynotes. Here’s a recap of the afternoon:
Over 450 men and women, including Cisco employees, customers and partners, attended (up from 250 attendees last year!).
50 executive mentors shared life experiences and offered advice in an icebreaker mentoring session with attendees.
Cisco President and COO Gary Moore shared his thoughts on why diversity and inclusion is important for business.
Exactly one year ago, during the launch of the Cisco Empowered Women’s Network at Cisco Live Orlando, we asked the audience: “What would you do if you were not afraid?” On that day, we couldn’t have imagined the incredible journey we would take in answering that question and, ultimately, in building the Cisco Empowered Women’s Network (CiscoEWN).
CiscoEWN was created out of a collaboration between myself, Priscila David (Director, Systems Engineering, US Commercial East); Rima Alameddine (Sales Director, Enterprise NY); and Anuja Singh (Manager, Systems Engineering, Public Sector). All three of us work in the field sales organization at Cisco and have daily interactions with customers and partners. We realized that Read More »
Long after she made it cool to be a woman in high tech, Sheryl Sandberg is now making it popular to talk about gender in the workplace. The Facebook COO is sparking wide discussion about female ambition with her blockbuster book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead”.
At the recent All Things Digital Conference, Sandberg said women hold just 11-21% of the top jobs in high tech. She argued however that it may not be men – or even the so-called ‘glass ceiling’ – holding women back… but themselves. She focused on what she calls the invisible barrier in women’s minds: a lack of confidence that may keep some women from aggressively pursuing opportunities. Read More »
Cisco has been planning events globally to host girls at the various sites in addition to providing profiles of Cisco women at some of these locations that present their engineering roles including software development, software testing, user experience design and so on.
I am really excited to be in New York on April 26, 2012 and to participate in a fantastic program and stimulating discussion with various members from the government, private industry and of course girls themselves:
I participated in a panel about Girls in ICT at ITU World Telecom on October 27 2011 chaired by Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau and learned this:
Job opportunities in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) continue to grow, and many countries and regions are predicting a shortage of qualified staff with math, science, engineering and computing skills to meet the growing demand. At the same time, many companies are looking to increase the number of women in the sector. This means that highly qualified women in technical fields have significant opportunities available to them. Unfortunately teenage girls and young women often never even consider a career in ICTs. There is a lack of awareness among students, teachers and parents on the opportunities presented by a career in ICT.
Former US FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate was present in the audience at this session and called out a program that she and actress Geena Davis are engaged in regarding Gender and Media. Greena Davis was featured in the film Miss Representation, which explores how the media’s misrepresentation of women has led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.
This makes it that much more important to make sure girls and young women are aware of the resources available to help them prepare for and enter the ICT sector. Check out The Girls in ICT portal, which provides listings for scholarships, internship and training opportunities, tech camps, Girls in ICT Day events, online networks and so much more! Check it out and spread the word!
So now you must be wondering where is Cisco in this space?
In May 2011 Cisco France set up a connected girls day that included members from the industry and conducted workshops on technology and its applicability to society. Take a look at the following video to experience the event:
On September 25, 2008, Cisco hosted its first worldwide Connected Women event, demonstrating collaboration in business. Live events ran in 9 cities across the world with more than 400 senior female customers and partners coming together for a series of stimulating and practical presentations centred on collaboration, sustainability and the importance of technology. The opportunity to ‘Inspire and be inspired’ was a theme throughout with contributions from high -- level external business speakers at the different events around the world.
Cisco will be running the next Connected Women event in April 2012. By running this event we intend to both inspire our guests and for them to in turn provide inspiration through the sharing of their personal successes and innovative practices. The April event, like previous sessions, will be a real testament to what we can all achieve through greater collaboration.