Latin America Technologists

November 25, 2018 - 35 Comments

I’m writing this on a Sunday.  I do some of my best writing on Sundays, going back to before I knew how to write.


Silvia Spiva, kindergarten graduation

On late Sunday mornings, after Church, I would sit at the school desk my Grandma had set up in a covered area of her patio, close to her kitchen.  She and I could carry on a conversation, while she cooked, and I worked fiercely on my notebooks, decoding alien messages, intercepted from out of this world transmissions.  My grandparents were accountants, and I loved watching them decipher numbers.  Their faces would display so many emotions, as the numbers told countless stories.  They taught me how to look for patterns, quickly and quietly. I was just learning to math and write, but I knew I wanted to learn as many languages as possible.

Once I learned to read and write, I understood that even more power would come from learning to understand even more beings.  The real power of words for me was what you could do with a message after you decoded it.  There was no better way to view what you had decoded than on a big map.  So, that’s when I decided that when I grew up, I would work in the room with the big map.

By the time I was 9 years-old, I had chosen my career path: data visualization.  I didn’t call it that yet, of course.  Who did?  But, I knew what I wanted, and I could personify it in my childhood superhero: Diana. No, not Wonder Woman. I wanted to be Diana from V.  Sure, she ate people, but let’s focus on her best qualities: She was THE Commander of an entire interstellar fleet, she called all the shots, and she worked in the Mothership, with the big map! Also, she was beautiful, and to a little girl, it is very important for beauty and brains to work together. That is real power.


Silvia Spiva and Grandma, high-school graduation

Some decades, and a couple of “empowerment” movements later, I am in awe of how ambitious I was when I was a child.  Moreover, I am humbled by the people who helped me get a job at this Mothership: Cisco headquarters.  Here, we nurture people. We educate, facilitate, and celebrate what people around the world build.  We package content to teach you how to code. More importantly, we never stop dreaming!


Latin America technology leaders, Elaine Lopes, Silvia Spiva, and Juan Ramon Acosta.

Since I moved to the United States, I haven’t visited my native Argentina as often as I would like.  I do get to make a very special homecoming trip every year, when I travel to Cancun for Cisco Live Latin America. It takes me a day to warm up to Spanish, but soon my Latin American brothers and sisters will delight me with smiles, some laughter, and comments such as “You haven’t lost your Argentine accent at all.  You’re so loud!“.  My best Brazilian friends will tease me about my rudimentary Portuguese, and I will jokingly remind them that “I’m from Argentina!“. It’s an ongoing joke, but there’s a lot of love there.

This year, you will find me side by side with our friends from dCloud, as we prepare a special showcase for our Partners.  In the spirit of building together, and understanding what is possible when we collaborate, I invite you to explore and contribute to the Cisco DevNet Ecosystem Exchange.

After Partner Day, I’ll move to the DevNet Zone, where we will display a renewed focus on Security.

Don’t let language be a barrier: bring your questions and ask them!  

DevNet Zone in Cancun

Team DevNet is happy to help you move your projects forward.  Explore Cisco DevNet Code Exchange before, during, and after each workshop.  We need you to be an active participant.  You bring your unique insights, ideas, and dreams to the DevNet Community.


Cisco Networking Academy instructor and DevNet community builder Cynthia Oshiro found DevNet on display at Cisco headquarters in Silicon Valley.

So many people rely on you to help them build the business solutions they need. You can rely on DevNet for technical training and Community support.

While you are busy coding, I will be doing what I do best: decoding.  

Get on the big map with me!

Cisco Live Latin America social media leaders DevNet

Use the hashtags #DevNet and #CiscoLiveLA on Twitter and Instagram.  Then, meet me at the Social Media Listening hub, the room with the big map, where we can visualize the data of everything we are building together.


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  1. If I went to Cisco Live LA, I'd hangout only in DevNet zone, like I do at any other Cisco Live.
    The best place to be and you get to spend some time with the best community manager in the world.

  2. Decoding the messages is still one of your strengths – boil them down, amplify them out! Honestly, isn't "translation" the main skill of all community managers???

  3. Love your story, Silvia!

  4. Great post Silvia! It's important to always remember our earliest dreams and how they turned us into who we are today. I'm also eagerly looking forward to Cisco Live next week in Cancun and chatting with all of our Latin American community members!


    • See you in Cancun, Hank!
      I sure hope people will not be too starstruck to see the real Hank Preston in person. I will remind them to walk up to you and ask questions.

  5. Silvia,

    Your story makes my heart smile! It is this type of journey that makes you, Cisco and DevNet so powerful! Everyone starts somewhere. The ability to shoot for the stars and land on the moon is what makes your success so inspiring! You have touched countless lives, helped people with their careers and most of all, did it all while wearing that fantastic smile!

    I am fortunate to have you my dear friend.

  6. Silvia, thank you for sharing your stories with us! Always love reading your blogs. Great job so far in building a thriving DevNet community and the partnership between dCloud and DevNet! Good luck next week at Cisco Live LATAM. I'm sure all social media next week will be taken over by @silviakspiva.

  7. Great story Silvia. I knew some of it..but not all. I like the photo of your graduation.

    I hope a bunch of people come talk with you – and you get some video so we can share their stories!

  8. DevNet is still one of the most underrated areas of Cisco (internally and externally), and it's fascinating to watch Customers and colleagues discover its true power and innovation capabilities. Much credit goes to you for evangelizing the message to the world every day!

    • That's very kind of you, Roddie. You know so well how much time, thought, and energy I put behind every photo, video, and story edit, before I even make it to an event to start tweeting. I appreciate you being part of this success story with us!

  9. "By the time I was 9 years-old, I had chosen my career path: data visualization. I didn’t call it that yet, of course."

    I love this comment. It seems to be a common theme in our industry that many of us knew what we wanted to be when we grew up but no one had created a name for it yet. I think it speaks to how much this industry has grown over the past 20+ years. It also speaks to the idea that education is the only way to keep up with the changing trends.

    My only issue with the post above is the fact you call yourself loud. You aren't loud. I'd call it taking steps to ensure your message is heard.

    Looking forward to next week!

    • Thank you, Bryan!

      Something I hear often when people are learning to code, is that they are suffering from impostor syndrome. When they share this with me, I immediately tell them (as sweetly as possible) to snap out of it. You can't be an impostor if you are being yourself. So, stick to what you love, and have spent a lifetime perfecting.

      Be YOU!

      Let's make that message loud and clear in the DevNet Zone.

  10. I always love women empower, latam, code and data vision. 🙂
    love your blog Silvia !! you are all of these!

  11. I really enjoyed reading this, your writing alway has such passion and dedication. You continue to inspire me everyday!

  12. Quite inspiring.

    "The real power of words for me was what you could do with a message after you decoded it. "

    "it is very important for beauty and brains to work together. That is real power."

    " You bring your unique insights, ideas, and dreams to the DevNet Community."

  13. Silvia, thanks for the sharing! You are always amazed at cheering people up. I can really feel the warmth of Cisco DevNet community. Go, #Cisco LiveLA!

  14. Silvia, you are an inspiration. Your story is the embodiment of DevNet. I encourage everyone at Cisco Live Cancun to come to the DevNet Zone and meet this incredible woman, take a selfie and learn how DevNet can help further your career and Business!

  15. Silvia, you sum up Community when you write "Team DevNet is happy to help…"

    The language of "Community" is varied, it could be helping others achieve their goals or getting them started on a new journey.

  16. Silvia, you show that you understand the power of words is for more than just communicating, but for connecting.
    Thank you for taking the time to learn alien languages and cultures, and to connect all of the members of this community!

  17. Thanks for sharing and for everything you do, Silvia! There's always something new to learn from other people's stories and journey. Enjoy yourself in Cancun and an important takeaway is to never stop dreaming!

  18. Thanks for sharing your stories and your passion with us! You have been an incredible leader, helping build a strong community backed by deep and real – not only online – relationships. See you soon! Hasta luego!

  19. Silvia, thanks to all your decoding, i get to spend more time "coding". Really appreciate all you do to nurture and develop this community.