The final countdown to the 2016 Olympic Games is on – the Opening Ceremonies are a week away, and people around the world are working tirelessly to ensure that everything runs smoothly and efficiently.

Cisco is an official supporter of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and we are dedicated to leaving a lasting impact in Brazil that goes far beyond the four weeks of competition. Through numerous social and urban innovation projects, we are working to transform Rio into a smarter and more connected city, both now and in the future.

A large part of that endeavor comes from our biggest asset as a company – our employees. In February, as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts, we kicked off a new initiative to involve global employees in the Olympic legacy work the company is doing in Brazil.

The CSR Volunteer Program virtually connects employee volunteers around the world with students and instructors of the Cisco Networking Academy and Community Centers in Rio for 30-minute sessions on various topics. So far, we have facilitated 18 sessions with 20 employee volunteers from four countries and more than 600 students.

Students and instructors in Rio connect virtually with Cisco employees from around the world
Students and instructors in Rio connect virtually with Cisco employees from around the world. The sessions help the students and instructors practice their English, learn more about Cisco, and connect the world to the 2016 Olympic Games.

Through the power of Cisco collaboration technology, the CSR Volunteer Program aims to help Networking Academy students and instructors learn from the Cisco employees while practicing their English skills, building relationships, and having fun. And we’ve seen so far that the benefits go both ways – the Cisco employees have enjoyed the experiences as much as the students, as it gives employees around the world an opportunity to be a part of Cisco’s Olympic sponsorship platform (employees only).

During sessions focused on technical topics, Cisco employees who either hold or are working toward a CCNA certification connect with Networking Academy instructors and students in Rio who are working toward the certification. The employees share their own experiences, provide tips and advice, and answer questions. One of the first volunteers was Alan Groom – a 19-year-old Cisco intern in London.

“For me personally the fact that we are all studying toward the CCNA certification meant that we would be able to share our experiences and methods of study to one another,” Alan says. “It’s just one of the amazing characteristics of working for an international company, and working together as one to achieve the same end goal.”

The response from the students in Rio has been equally as positive.

“This is such a great opportunity for our students,” said one Networking Academy instructor who took part in the session with Alan. “They never get to talk to global Cisco employees. They are going to get really excited about it.”

Visit Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility online and on Twitter to learn more about the Cisco Networking Academy. And if you’re an employee, find out how you can participate in the CSR Volunteer Program! 

*Key people behind this effort include Gilberto Cabral, Deborah Chamovitz and Alex Rosen.


Austin Belisle

No Longer with Cisco