On International Women’s Day, and every day, Cisco is committed to celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. As the World’s Best Place to Work, we are proud to celebrate and support the people that make Cisco, well, Cisco.
The mission for IWD: Women in Tech, is to celebrate digital advancement and champion women forging innovation through technology. This year, we are proud to feature a Cisco Data Center Woman in Tech, Karishma Gupta, a Technical Marketing Engineer, who proudly works with our customers each and every day.
Karishma started as a software developer writing code for the Nexus 7000 platform and has a thorough knowledge of Nexus switching architecture. She has more than eight years of experience working with Cisco switching platforms and is deeply engaged with Cisco Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) and the Analytics piece (Cisco Data Center Network Insights) in Cisco NX-OS and ACI.
Want to get to know Karishma better? We did, too, so we asked about the support system that led her to career success, her approach to achieving her dreams as a woman in tech, and what #eachforequal means to her.
Karishma, so much of International Women’s day is about how individual actions, behaviors and mindsets can have an impact. Can you tell us about what made it possible for you to discover engineering?
I grew up in Mumbai and as a kid I was surrounded by family and friends who were always encouraging me to follow my interests. And to be honest, I was a total nerd. My mom was a homemaker and my dad worked in business; both of them were really good with helping me to channel my energy and love for big books. Many of my friends were also pursuing engineering, so I would say that peer pressure really worked in my favor.
It just so happened that once I started, I realized I really loved engineering and later realized my passion for computer networks in school. But I know if I had decided differently, my friends and family would have still supported me. Who you become is so different for everyone, but if you’re in a supportive environment, then you have a chance to do a lot of good things. My friends and family helped to motivate and guide me.
What would you say is the biggest opportunity you’ve had in your career thus far?
I started at Cisco early in my career and have been so lucky to work with such a dynamic organization, but the biggest opportunity lies in my continued experience here.
I worked as a Software Engineer for more than four years as part of the core engineering team for data center switches. I learned so much and was surrounded by so many amazing people. This is where my fundamentals started to strengthen and I could go into the weeds of data center architecture.
As part of the Cisco Data Center engineering team, I was able to explore new opportunities within the company, specifically Technical Marketing. I love speaking in front of a crowd and have deep product knowledge, so my mentor suggested I go interview for the position and show them how an engineer would make a good Technical Marketer. That interview, and that opportunity, coupled with the support of my team, was a game changer for me. Now, I’m so passionate about what I do. I wake up with a lot of excitement and I love every part of my job, especially working with customers. There is nothing else I would rather do. And that’s where I always wanted to be. It was a process to get here, but I have to say – it was so worth it!
What do you love about the Cisco Data Center team?
What I love about the Cisco Data Center team is how the team truly embraces a culture of diversity and inclusion. Everyone is extremely smart with diverse backgrounds- from gender identity to race to geography, and they also have diverse interests outside of work. We have great painters and musicians and everything in between, which makes coming to work every day so interesting. That kind of diversity and culture at work every day is just great. Lastly, they give you a ton of opportunities to grow and really care for you, even the senior staff genuinely ask, “How’s your family?” It’s amazing. Work-life balance, remote working options – can one really ask for more?
What does #EachforEqual mean to you?
#EachforEqual is definitely not just an International Women’s Day thing. For me, it’s a phenomenon. It’s a routine. It’s a movement. #EachforEqual is a mindset and responsibility that must be ingrained in each individual to see a society succeed without having to “ask” for rights and our fair share. I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by people who have always made me feel equal and I continue to be respectful and excited for other individuals as they take on and seek new opportunities.
What is one way that you champion innovation through technology?
I was awarded Distinguished Speaker for Cisco Live! Barcelona 2020, which was a stand-out moment for me – a true appreciation for all the work we put in as speakers. I am truly passionate about sharing our technology and solving business challenges for our customers. At Cisco, not only do I have the opportunity and support to lead critical technologies and business-critical solutions, I get to be the voice for our cutting-edge products and take them to customers, serving as a true champion of innovation.
Watch now: See Karishma in action as she schools us on Network Insights at Cisco Live! Barcelona 2020.