Black History Month is an opportunity for reflection and education. For me, it began with my experience attending segregated schools until 1972. My experience with racism and segregation shaped my decision to attend North Carolina Central University (NCCU), one of our nation’s Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs). For the first time, I learned about heroes in American history that looked like me. This unlocked a sense of belonging and possibility that has continued to motivate me many years later.
The safety I feel at Cisco mirrors the safety I felt at NCCU. When I joined Cisco in 2008, I viewed it as an opportunity to work in information technology and build a better life. Quickly, I joined an Employee Resource Organization that connected and celebrated our African American/Black (AA/B) employees. With our shared experiences as a unifier, I was able to become more authentic in what I was bringing to work, as well as more committed to the work I was driving. In 2014, I was given the opportunity to help build stronger relationships with HBCUs to accelerate young AA/B talent to Cisco. Over the next several years, I visited HBCUs to share the value of working at Cisco, and this outreach has since become a key piece of our talent acquisition strategy.
Everything accelerated in 2020. In January of that year, I, alongside other AA/B employees met with Cisco’s Executive Leadership Team. This meeting established a set of executive-sponsored activities to accelerate representation, promotion, and investment in AA/B employees, as well as education for external communities. With the murder of George Floyd in May, these activities expanded to become Cisco’s Social Justice Actions, a five-year commitment to the Black community as well as a blueprint for how Cisco will respond to injustice and address inequity for any community. These twelve actions are led centrally by an Inclusive Future Action Office where I currently lead Action 8, Commit to HBCUs.
Now, almost two years later, I am helping to lead one of the largest philanthropic efforts for HBCUs in corporate history, while also fulfilling a lifelong dream of giving back to a community that shaped the leader I am today. Our commitment and framework for HBCUs was launched in May of last year. To date, we have impacted more than 30 schools in 11 states through technology investments. We have awarded $12.5 million in endowments and $7.5 million in technology upgrades for STEM students, and we have a deep alliance with our partners including the Student Freedom Initiative.
“As our first corporate supporter, Cisco demonstrates leadership and an unwavering commitment to social justice and recognition of the enormous capability of Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” shares Mark A. Brown, Executive Director at the Student Freedom Initiative.
This quote brings to life our purpose, to Power an Inclusive Future for All, with a commitment to lead. Black History Month is a time for reflection and education, both of which I am proud to do at Cisco. Looking forward, I am committed to deepening our impact and sharing how we are doing in a future communication.
Thanks for your leadership, Scott! It has been amazing to see both your commitment and that of Cisco’s to build an inclusive future for all!
Such a great legacy you are creating Scott. All in supporting you.
This is awesome, Scott! The commitment of people like you is why I love working at my HBCU. Thanks for all you do for equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Amazing effort into long lasting legacy. Well done. Proud of you, your vision, hard work and your contributions!
Tremendous results!! Scott the results reflect the tremendous effort you and your team have put into this work. Congratulations
This is what truly making a difference looks like. Keep up the amazing work Scott and Cisco!
Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I must applaud you. You have had quite the journey to reflect back upon. Congratulations and continued success to you. Thank you for all that you and your company are doing for the community also.
Scott, this is great work by Cisco. It is wonderful to see companies stepping up to make the world in which they do business a better place. I am delighted that you are working with Step 8 (HBCUs)! You have lived the reason the support is needed and you realize how HBCUs can help uplift the AA/Black condition. Thank you for your committed service and kudos to Cisco for making it possible. P.S. My favorite male cousin is retired from Cisco. He retired at 50! Cisco was an excellent company to work for and paid him well enough he could retire early and live his dream life of traveling to music concerts around the world. He too was an HBCU graduate. Cisco has been realizing what diverse employees can offer for a long time and it is great that they put their money where their mouth is. Kudos to the whole Inclusive Future Action Office!
Way to go Scott! This is a touching and note worthy piece. Cisco is an amazing and will always have a special place in my heart.
This is amazing Scott! Your commitment to driving excellence is appreciated and acknowledged!
Congratulations Scott, this is incredible! Your dedication to supporting HBCUs has been unwavering. This work will have a lastly impact for years to come. Well done!
It’s great to see the impact Cisco has made with your leadership. Way to lead by example!
Your passion and leadership is inspiring Scott!
Outstanding!! What great timing in the face of these recents bomb threats to these critical institutions.
So proud of you and Cisco for the commitment and clear impact and investment you are making in the community!! Keep it going!!
Great job Scott! Really appreciate the work you’re doing!
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