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.


November 7, 2014


“Brick by Brick”

1 min read

Apple CEO Tim Cook’s announcement was an act of service and contribution. In sharing a personal truth, he illuminates a universal one - our greatest challenges often bear the greatest gifts.