In my pre-Cisco Live US blog, I talked about my excitement and how I was greatly anticipating the event. I was both excited and nervous to present, wanting to participate in everything, and network with as many customers as possible. The week left me absolutely drained, but it was unlike any experience I have had in my 15 years at Cisco.

With Cisco IT hosting the IT Management program, I felt a huge sense of pride and a responsibility to make sure that the experience for our customers was one they would find valuable. Cisco IT has always felt like a big family and I wanted to find a way to extend that feeling to those who attended IT Management. Beyond the main stage sessions and breakouts, there were wonderful opportunities to connect with people over breakfast, lunch, and even off site. One of my biggest takeaways was not just the great conversations on the ever-changing landscape of technology and IT, but the personal connections I made with strangers who quickly became friends.

I was inspired by our customer’s level of engagement and passion. They were there to grow in their careers and take back learnings to apply to their organizations. The program had a high level of energy and it was obvious that people were there to learn, to share experiences and that as an IT community our goal was to help one another grow. It is hard to believe that intimacy could be achieved with 700 attendees, but the week felt very connected and every bit intimate.

My final takeaway was how inspired I was by our new CIO, Guillermo Diaz’s closing. G didn’t close with a sales pitch, or boastful wrap-up of how great Cisco is. What he did do was touch everyone’s heart by being vulnerable, sharing a lot of himself, and a lot of what makes Cisco IT such an amazing place. He challenged us to connect with our colleagues; he encouraged us to be the change in our organizations and to take the time to get to know one another. He stressed putting relationships over issues and it was an amazing message and the perfect end to a wonderful week.