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An Incredible Week: Cisco Empowered Women’s Network at Cisco Live!

June 1, 2014 at 11:24 am PST

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This blog post was written by Priscila David in collaboration with Emily GriffinAnuja Singh and Rima Alameddine

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.

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  • Cisco President and COO Gary Moore shared his thoughts on why diversity and inclusion is important for business. 
  • Padmasree Warrior, Cisco CTSO, shared insights about her personal transformational journey. She asked the audience to reflect, Read More »

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Cisco Empowered Women’s Network (CiscoEWN) at Cisco Live US enters its second year!

May 8, 2014 at 10:11 am PST

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This blog post was written by Priscila David in collaboration with Anuja Singh and Rima Alameddine

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 »

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Reflections on Leading in IT

The first time someone referred to me as a “woman leader in IT,” I was honestly caught by surprise.  I had never stopped and thought about the idea that I was any different than any other leader, any other woman or any other person in IT.  That single comment made me pause and reflect on where I was in my career, what had brought me to that point and if there was really anything that made me that unique or different from anyone else I worked with every day.  As I reflected, I began to think about some core experiences and traits that I believe have played a part in getting me where I am today.

First, I was never once talked to about what I could or couldn’t do because I was a girl.  I never thought twice about taking every math and science class I could in high school, going to college to get a degree in Engineering, and then starting my career in IT.  I really enjoyed science and math, and I was good at those subjects.  I wasn’t fazed by the fact that there were mostly Read More »

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How Can We Encourage Students Of All Backgrounds To Go Into STEM?

March 17, 2014 at 12:54 pm PST

Today in the Huffington Post, Blair Christie, Cisco Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, and Eric Schwarz, cofounder and CEO of Citizen Schools wrote about our organizations’ collective commitment to increase the number of students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects and careers.

Last week in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, network engineers helped 50 student robotics teams compete in Aerial Assist, a game in which students program and operate robots to toss as many balls into a goal as possible — in just 150 seconds. Similarly, in San Jose, a group of women engineers at Cisco hosted 70 middle-school girls earlier this year as part of “National Engineering Week” to give them a glimpse into how cutting-edge technologies are developed in R&D labs.

These engagements, part of the US 2020 initiative announced at the White House Science Fair last year, reflect the urgent need to do more to encourage students to go into science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professions.

Three things are true in STEM: There are a lot of job openings. These jobs pay well. And there are not enough qualified people to fill these jobs. Today, the technology industry employs 6 million people. By 2018, the U.S. will face a projected shortfall of 230,000 qualified advanced-degree STEM workers. Meanwhile, the Bureau for Labor Statistics predicts that STEM jobs will grow 55 percent faster than non-STEM jobs over the next 10 years. The flow of talent into the STEM pipeline is limited. Without a dramatic change, the pressure will weaken further, and the flow of talent will slow to a trickle.

Read the complete blog on the Huffington Post.

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Four Secrets of One Woman’s Success in the IT Industry

February 26, 2014 at 6:30 am PST

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 4.04.46 PMThis post was written by guest blogger Patrice D’Eramo, who, as Vice President of the Americas Field Marketing Organization, leads field marketing for Cisco’s largest geographic region with $25 billion in annual sales. 

As I reflect back on my career journey, I realize most of the positions I wanted, I wasn’t supposed to get, at least not yet. I was either too young, didn’t have “enough” experience or didn’t have tenure at the company. Others were better positioned in the network, had more experience and were already a part of the company’s succession planning.

But I never let anything stop me from applying; I submitted my resume anyway. I surprised myself each time by being awarded every job I pursued. As a result of my “do it anyway” attitude, more opportunities presented themselves to me as time went on. In thinking back on how I have been successful, I attribute it to a few things:

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