When Tina Swallow, director of Department of Defense services sales at Cisco, joined Cisco 12 years ago, she didn’t know where she was going to end up. At the time, she was interviewing for the role from Yokosuka, Japan, where her family was stationed and where her husband was still serving in the U.S. Navy.
She had just retired from a successful career in the Navy herself. This career took her around the globe from Keflavik, Iceland and Naples, Italy to Bahrain and Korea. And, if there was one thing Tina could handle after her years of military service it was change, but she’s wasn’t so sure that her soon-to-be employer would feel the same.
“Cisco was unfazed that I was in Japan. I ended up moving back to the states and getting the job even before we knew where we were going to be long-term,” says Tina. “And having the tools available to do the job anywhere gave our family the opportunity to continue serving while allowing me to have incredibly fulfilling work.”
Although Tina was new to Cisco as an employee, she wasn’t new to the company and its products. Years before, while at the Atlantic fleet headquarters in Norfolk, Va., she became familiar with the Cisco routers used onboard Naval vessels and the role they played in making ships faster and stronger. The center also leveraged Cisco technology to bring military families closer together by connecting ships with each other and families back home. Something else was familiar to Tina, too – Cisco’s culture. Much to her delight, Cisco’s culture wasn’t all that different from the Navy’s.
“The people at Cisco have huge hearts. It seemed like whenever there was a natural disaster or tragedy Cisco was there, helping to pick up the pieces and restore communications,” she says. “Cisco experts did this quietly without any fanfare.”
But Cisco’s culture of giving back would become deeply personal for Tina. While her husband was still serving in the Navy, her oldest son was diagnosed with stage four cancer.
“The Cisco team rallied by my family’s side – all the way up to our top leadership. They put telepresence in our home, so that my son could attend school as well as arranged for special experiences with his favorite sports team. I was able to continue working, because I had the tools available and the support of the team. To this day, I have felt very loyal to Cisco for being by my side and for the generosity of the team,” says Tina.
Nine years later, Tina’s son shows no evidence of disease and is in graduate school at American University studying data science. Tina can’t imagine where her family would be without Cisco’s support.
“I am grateful to continue to lead and serve at Cisco. From growing up in a Navy family to enjoying my own career as a Naval Officer, and still serving the Department of Defense at Cisco – it has been an honor,” she says. “I have been constantly amazed by the good work Cisco does and the culture of giving back. Whether it is taking care of our customers or our communities, I have seen incredible results when you bring together a talented team, backed by the heart and culture that is Cisco.”
Deeply committed to her community, Tina also serves as the executive sponsor of the Cisco Military Spouse Connection. She recognizes that companies like Cisco can help build bridges and develop solutions to address the high unemployment rate military spouses face even in times of economic prosperity.
If you are a Cisco employee and military spouse who would like to connect with the Cisco military spouse community, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the new Cisco MilSpouse Connection mailer.