Shari Slate

Chief Inclusion & Collaboration Officer

SVP of Inclusive Future & Strategy

Shari Slate is a thought leader, trail blazer, and catalyst for transformation in the field of diversity and inclusion. Throughout her career, she has pushed beyond the predictable to achieve the extraordinary. In her words, “I see around corners and imagine what’s possible.” Shari has had a significant impact on Cisco’s expanding commitment and approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion. When she stepped into her leadership role at Cisco 10 years ago, Shari had a vision of what was possible at the intersection of diversity, inclusion, collaboration, and technology. She and her team took a digital-first approach to diversity and inclusion, designing digital solutions to solve some of the company’s most critical diversity and inclusion challenges. These solutions include Diverse Talent Accelerators, which is transforming how Cisco finds and hires diverse talent; The Multiplier Effect Pledge, which leverages the power of sponsorship to accelerate the pipeline of diverse talent at every level; Cisco’s Proximity Initiative, which facilitates conversations between leaders and team members who are different from them with the intent to understand their unique experiences and challenges; and Next Horizon Community Impact, which expands community impact to include all the ways Cisco employees take action to positively impact people, society, and the planet. These industry-leading innovations have resulted in Cisco achieving its highest diversity levels in its history for seven years running, 100% of the company’s VP and above leaders taking The Multiplier Effect Pledge, over 1,000 proximity conversations, and 80% employee participation in community impact. In 2019, Shari’s role was expanded to include Inclusive Future and Strategy with a remit to design the company’s Next Horizon people strategy and be a key convener in helping the company scale and operationalize its purpose to Power an Inclusive Future for All. In 2020, Shari’s new organization was instrumental in creating Cisco’s Social Justice Beliefs and Actions and the Inclusive Future Action Office, which has oversight of a $300M budget. One of the company’s first actions was to make a $150M commitment to fund STEM education and drive technology modernization at four-year Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Shari serves on the California State University Foundation Board of Governors and the Textio Board of Advisors. She is a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on Systemic Inequalities and Social Cohesion, the Business Roundtable Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, and the World 50 HR50x and Inclusion and Diversity Impact Communities.


The Future of Fairness

If you’ve tuned into some of the latest headlines within our industry – from the push for pay equity to the call for higher levels of diversity – you may have noticed a common theme. Fairness. There’s a shift occurring in the dialogue – and action – around driving fairness. And Cisco is making the […]

Changing the Diversity Equation – The Multiplier Effect Pledge Launches at Mobile World Congress

More than 40 service provider and tech leaders worked together at Cisco’s annual Connected Women Executive Roundtable to launch The Multiplier Effect Pledge.

December 12, 2016


Power and Potential

Today I’m pleased to share our progress as documented in the Our Society section of Cisco’s 12th Annual Corporate Social Responsibility Report – Accelerating Global Problem Solving. This report...

September 28, 2016


Imagine what’s possible…

What’s the impact of inclusion? What does it mean to someone who’s been left out to be welcomed in? For a 10-year old with cancer, to be able to continue attending the school she loves while getting lifesaving treatment hundreds of miles away – it means everything.

A deeper, broader dialogue for unity

In the past few years, we have borne witness to events of immense historic significance in the fight for fair and equal treatment under the law within the United States.  Undoubtedly, we all have mourned injustice and incomprehensible loss – from Ferguson to Falcon Heights to Baton Rouge – for Trayvon and Alton and Philando.  […]

November 18, 2015


Changing the Equation

It’s been a little more than a year since we created Cisco’s first Office of Inclusion and Collaboration (OIC).   And it’s been a milestone year.  Today, we’re releasing our annual Corporate Social Responsibility report (CSR), which details Cisco’s high-level priorities for being socially and environmentally responsible, and I’m honored to share the highlights of our […]

October 13, 2015


Advancing Diversity with ‘The Power of One’

Last week, many of the nation’s top African-American leaders and emerging talent experienced first-hand “The Power of One” – the power of one person, one organization or one partnership to transform the world. The occasion was the Executive Leadership Council’s (ELC) annual celebration of individuals and corporations making a difference to advance inclusion and diversity […]

October 13, 2015


Texas Conference for Women: An Empowering Partnership

#CiscoInspiredWoman will be a hashtag reverberating throughout social media spheres this week as 6,500 attendees experience what I call, “Moments that Matter”, at the Conference for Women (CFW) in Austin, Texas. Cisco is the Exclusive Networking Partner of CFW for the fourth year in row, has 90 attendees and six speakers (three women and three […]

Are you ready?

In just a few short days, thousands of women and men across the globe will come together for Women of Impact seeking to connect with each other, develop...