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Connection, Collaboration, and Innovation at the Cisco Networking Academy Conference

July 18, 2013 - 2 Comments
Cisco Executive Chairman Emeritus John Morgridge

John Morgridge

The annual Cisco Networking Academy Conference opened with a fitting tribute to celebrate its rich 15-year history. Cisco Executive Chairman Emeritus John Morgridge took the stage just days before his 80th birthday and told the audience the story of how Networking Academy was founded. Hundreds of academy instructors and Cisco staff watched in person from Cisco headquarters in San Jose, California and virtually from around the world.

According to John, there are 3 reasons why NetAcad has been such a success. First of all, it capitalized on Cisco’s strengths and capabilities. Cisco also invested for the longer term: 15 years and hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars. Finally, he mentioned and thanked the great instructors who have taught more than 4.75 million students in 165 countries since 1997. Today, NetAcad is evolving to keep up with the ever-changing educational system. One key component, according to Morgridge, is that “we test to master not to measure.”

Michael Yutrzenka

Michael Yutrzenka

The next general session speaker was Michael Yutrzenka who spoke on “Trends, Technology, and Networking Academy.”  He is the Senior Director of Corporate Affairs for the Global Engagement Organization in Asia, the United States, and Canada. He emphasized the need to proliferate the Networking Academy program model. “I hope that the instructors in the schools share what they are delivering so it can influence other courses,” Michael said. “NetAcad has a chance to influence the use of enabling technology in education.”


Cisco Networking Academy Leaders: Omar Shaban, Mary de Wysocki, Gary Coleman, Harbrinder Kang

Cisco Networking Academy Leaders: Omar Shaban, Mary de Wysocki, Gary Coman, Harbrinder Kang

The opening day of the conference finished with an overview by the Networking Academy leadership team. A big topic was NetSpace, the program’s new technology platform with built-in learning and collaboration experiences. According to Harbrinder Kang, Cisco Corporate Affairs Senior Director, “with NetSpace as a platform, we can create the environment and conditions to solve some of the world’s biggest problems. Those conditions are when you can enable connection, collaboration, and innovation.”

The day was inspiring and informative alike, creating an atmosphere of in-person collaboration and innovation that will strengthen the online instructor community online. John Morgridge seemed to summarize the feelings of the instructors and the staff alike when he said, “I hope I can speak in another 15 years at the 30th anniversary of Cisco Networking Academy.”

Read more about Cisco Networking Academy at

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  1. Cisco Academies will continue to grow because it has Cisco’s backing, dedicated instructors, increased school administration personnel understanding and support and don’t forget their great partners. Every day there are literally thousands of people who wake up in this world and ask themselves, “What can I do to help my student, help Cisco Academy?”

    In the end it is amazing what we will all accomplish if we are only concerned with the success of the student while also keeping the wheels greased and turning at the same time…I look forward to waking up with all of my friends and colleagues who are all asking ourselves how we can reach out and find those students that need our help so they can change their lives and the lives of their families for generations.

    The only question is, how far will the I.T. Education revolution go? I.T. touches so many sectors…what do farmers and doctors have in common?

    Well with Cisco’s Health Presence just like you can scan a patient’s face and match up from the last visit to look for discolorations and symptoms that help the doctor detect an issue, imagine a farmer that could do that with his cattle. RFID tag and scan for discoloration?

    When I start thinking of video and how it can impact/affect every major industry, I realize that video is the platform that will transform how we do things. It is now and soon it will become even more essential.

    Thank you to John Morgridge and everyone at Cisco that recognized and believed in this revolution enough to invest heavily with money and resources. Much thanks to all the instructors for teaching, the students for learning and the parents/spouses that play their role for the success of the program.

    Similar to what they say at SkillsUSA, if you think the world is going downhill, you just aren’t looking in the right places!

    Great post, keep up the good work and let’s keep fighting the good fight together!

    Love Cisco Academy!

  2. Cisco Should pay more attention on “Skill Development” as corporate social responsibility.