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Connecting, Empowering and Inspiring Women in Technology at Cisco


Birds of Feather Session

Women in technology have unique opportunities and challenges. Only about 25% of Information Technology jobs are held by women and this can lead to feelings of isolation. Additionally, when women don’t see a lot of role models in the industry, they find it harder to believe they can succeed.

In working with the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, I’ve learned that it’s important to acknowledge these challenges and have open conversations about them. After brainstorming with my manager and getting great support from my VP, I rallied a group of women to create a day devoted to the development and advancement of women in technology.

On March 27th, we held our first Women in Technology Forum for Cisco employees. The main event in San Jose, California saw 300 attendees in-person. The nice thing about working at a worldwide leader in networking is that Read More »

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Diversity in Resentment and Liberation from Guilt

Padmasree Warrior, our Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Engineering, shared some thoughts earlier this month on women in technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.  Padma joined Google’s Marissa Mayer, Hunch’s Caterina Fake and CNET’s Lindsey Turrentine on this CNET sponsored panel.  The takeaways are for both men and women:

Padma said that liberation from guilt is an important choice to make.  Earlier in her career, she felt guilty at work about not being with her child but she also felt guilty when she had to miss customer meetings to be home with her child.  Regardless of the decision, she learned not to be guilty about the decision.

In this day and age, you can be yourself at work.  Caterina Fake commented that in the 80s, businesswomen adopted the “Sigourney Weaver” uniform of heels, suits with shoulder pads and speaking in a low voice.  Now, you no longer need to conform to a single image to be taken seriously.  Marissa had a great line: “you can wear ruffles… or you can be a jock”

Burnout was a meaty topic that Marissa Mayer introduced by saying that working long hours is not what causes burnout. Read More »

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Diversity Awardee Reveals Hard Work Is Not Enough.

Kimberly Marcelis, Vice President of Strategic Planning at Cisco

We’ve been pondering our collection of inclusion and diversity awards sitting in our San Jose office. Some are inspired and even practical, like the glass bowl with a plaque stating “fill with candy and share”. And then serendipitously, I came across an employee account from our recent participation at the NELI (National Eagle Leadership Institute) Awards that re-ignited the real stories behind the glass ornaments in our awards cabinet. Read More »

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So…Where ARE the Women in I.T.?

In 2005, The Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology published a report entitled “Where are the Women in Information Technology?”  Six years later, we’re still asking that same question—the focus of an article this week in Bloomberg/Business Week. Shockingly, the article reports that although women hold about half the jobs in the U.S. economy, they represent less than 25 percent of science, technology, engineering and math positions. Ultimately, we need to not only stem the flow of women leaving the industry, but also leaving the associated fields of study in college.

Sunday evening, at a fundraiser dinner, a friend of mine who works for another technology company raised this same question. Looking around the room, she pointed out several of the brightest minds in technology, who happen to be women, and questioned why they weren’t more visible within their organizations and within the industry. Clearly, there’s an opportunity for our industry to make a big shift, but what will it take?

Read More »

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Cisco Honored as a Top Company for Multicultural Women 2011

“Ambition is not a bad word.” Working Mother Media held its 9th Multicultural Women’s National Conference in New York City on July 19-20, 2011. Over 700 women and men gathered for a conversation on race and gender. For the third year in a row, Cisco Systems was honored as one of the Top Companies for Multicultural Women, and for the second consecutive year as one of the Top 5 companies in the US.

Randall Lane accepts Cisco’s Top Company for Multicultural Women award from Carol Evans, President of Working Mother Media and CEO of Diversity Best Practices. Used with permission from Working Mother Media. Photo by Steven Easley

Accepting the award for Cisco was Randall Lane, Senior Leader, Global Inclusion & Diversity. I asked him to share a few thoughts from the event.

You’ve represented Cisco at the conference for three years now.  What does this conference consistently offer every year? Read More »

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