Our customers are the heart and soul of everything we do at Cisco and each one of them has an interesting story to tell! Our Q&A series allows us to shine a spotlight on some of our most passionate customer advocates in The Global Gateway community as we learn more about their stories and backgrounds.
You may be wondering: What is The Global Gateway? It’s a community for Cisco customers where they can build powerful connections, expand their professional and personal networks, and learn from top experts in their field. One of our goals with our advocacy community is to deepen our relationships with our customers and today, we have one of the friendliest faces in The Global Gateway joining us for a chat. I’m excited to welcome Mark White from CDN Consulting.
Welcome, Mark! First of all, I wanted to note that you told me your photo was taken at Cisco Live Melbourne 2019 when you joined The Gateway, and that you’ve used it as your professional picture ever since. That’s great! Let’s kick things off by talking about what you wanted to be when you were 16 years old?
Thanks, Rashik! Yes, and it was also my birthday when that photo was taken! I remember in high school enjoying accounting and economics, as well as math and science. I think early on I was leaning toward accounting, but then one of my science teachers commented at a parent interview that becoming an accountant would be a waste of a good scientist! In my final year, I was waiting for a friend outside the counselor’s office and noticed in their career pamphlets a flyer from the local university about “electrical engineering.” Electrical engineering sounded very interesting, so that is what I ended up studying and that eventually led me into computer networking.
It’s amazing the impact one chance encounter can have on us! Where did you start your career? And, what professional decision or opportunity helped lead you to your current role with CDN Consulting?
I started working for a power company, looking after their IT networks and phone systems and I haven’t strayed too far from there. I have worked for a few large IT service providers in New Zealand and when some of my colleagues left to start CDN Consulting, I joined them the following year.
How has partnering with Cisco helped your work both in your segment and industry?
Right from the start, I have been working with Cisco routers and switches, and much of my telephony work has been with Cisco Unified Communications Manager for several years. Cisco has always had a reputation for reliable products. I often find Cisco solutions at my customers’ sites that provide critical services, for example with power companies, local hospitals, and the police, to name a few.
That’s impressive that you have extensive experience using our products across a variety of industries. What’s been your biggest challenge in your company in 2021, and how did you overcome it?
Being a smaller start-up, I feel our biggest challenge is name recognition and finding new customers. We are the same engineers who used to work for the large IT providers everyone has heard about, so we can often provide the same solutions. We were fortunate this year to attend two conferences which helped get our brand out into the market. It was a new and enjoyable experience for me, being behind the trade stand selling our services instead of being an attendee.
I’m glad to hear that the exhibitions helped with brand recognition and that you enjoyed working the stand! Let’s move on to The Global Gateway! How would you describe this customer advocacy community to those who haven’t heard of it before?
To me, The Global Gateway is a place to learn about all of Cisco’s products and new releases, hear from other customers around the world, and to have a bit of fun with the gamified challenges and prizes.
You’re one of our community Rockstars, and we really appreciate how long you’ve been in the community! What made you want to join The Global Gateway, and how has being part of this community impacted you both professionally and personally?
I was at Cisco Live Melbourne 2019 when The Gateway was launched in the Asia-Pacific region, so I was one of the first regional Gateway members. At that time, it seemed like a treasure hunt game to help explore Cisco’s “World of Solutions,” but after the Cisco Live event I kept coming back to The Gateway community online. Being part of a small company, The Gateway helped me become more familiar with Cisco’s entire product suite. I know a lot more now about Cisco’s Data Center and Security products now than I did before 2019.
We’re almost at the end of the interview, Mark, and we’d love to finish with three things you can’t live without?
Firstly, I would have to say my wife and son, as I think the last couple of years have shown most people how important family is. Second, my laptop and phone, because with these I can work from anywhere with Wi-Fi coverage. I’ve taken advantage of this flexibility to work when it suits me. The third thing I can’t live without would probably be chocolate.
I’m also a huge chocolate fan, so I agree with you on that one! It’s been great having you sit down with us, Mark! Thank you for joining us.
You are very welcome, Rashik!
Read more customer advocate interviews
You might enjoy this interview with our Global Gateway customer advocate, Ryan.
Join us in The Global Gateway
For our customers who have already joined us in The Global Gateway, say hello to Mark if you haven’t met each other yet. And for those Cisco customers who haven’t yet joined The Global Gateway, consider doing so! You’ll be able to:
- Connect with peers in a gamified, online community
- Have an opportunity to meet with Cisco’s executives
- Share your feedback, questions, and best practices
- Get access to “insider” content and resources
- Grow your professional and personal brand
- Amplify your company’s success story with Cisco technology
Ready to get started? Head over to The Global Gateway and say hello!