Guest blog post by Matt Gansemer,
Operations Director, Cisco Central Partner Organization

Have you ever woken up in the morning and said: “boy it would be great to drive 75 hours”? If you answered “yes,” you likely drive a semi for a living or have an affinity for riding a motorcycle. Those who know John Gazette, Raj Chacko and I know the latter is true. As AVVID (see what I did there) motorcycle riders, each of us has taken long trips with other groups or solo rides. Together we rode on a relatively long trip last year in Canada after GSX (Cisco’s Global Sales Conference), but nowhere close to the nearly 5,000 miles we’re setting out to concur today.

John Gazette and Matt Gansemer.
John Gazette and Matt Gansemer.

The decision to ride out to Cisco FY20 IMPACT (the new name for Cisco’s annual global sales conference) came on a whim. Our yearly riding group tossed around the idea of riding out together, but soon it was scratched for various reasons. John and I, however, seemed to linger on the idea of making the trek. Neither of us knows why, but something was calling us to ride. Soon we decided to commit to the journey. A journey we felt would be enjoyable for the sport of riding through various weather conditions, yet long enough to require endurance to complete the trip.

3 for the ride to support veterans

After reading the posts John and I shared via LinkedIn and Twitter, our friend Raj was all in. His father is a veteran, so he understands the strain placed upon military families. And, anyone who knows Raj knows once he is committed, nothing will change his mind. So now there are 3 for the ride to support veterans.

Let’s make this ride a fund raiser

As we began to discuss the logistics of the trip, we started to realize the challenge this could become with timing, weather, accommodations, etc. Knowing this will be fun, yet challenging, we felt it would be worthy of a fundraiser. After many conversations on what charity, we felt the duration and endurance of the ride married up closely to the commitment our servicemen and women make every day. It was shortly after that we decided to raise awareness and money for Folds of Honor.

Folds of Honor is a charity providing military families the opportunity for educational support when a military member has died or suffered from the scars of war. Our servicemen and women have given a great deal for our freedom, and we thought it would be a great idea to return the favor.

Our ask of you is to donate $.01 per mile we travel, or any amount you feel most comfortable contributing. Any gracious gift you provide brings one more military family closer to meeting their educational aspirations.

The donation process is easy and secure! Visit Folds of Honor to make a donation credited directly to our fundraising efforts. If you are a Cisco employee, please submit your donation receipt in Bright Funds for matching.

Ready to ride. Ready to give.

So 4 full days of riding each way (5 for me each way as I live in Michigan). With the route we’re taking we’ll get close to 5,000 miles in. We’ll go through 11 states, at least 6 National Parks, several 10,000ft mountain passes and experience temperature ranges of 50+ degrees some days.

Our ride, to and from, Cisco FY20 IMPACT is a simple challenge compared to those faced by the families with injured or deceased servicemen and women. We ride for our enjoyment, but more importantly, to raise awareness and funds for Folds of Honor. We do it in honor of our family members who’ve served, along with those who we don’t know, but yet provide us the freedom we enjoy today.


#FOHImpactRide | FoldsOfHonor.org

Our route to Cisco FY20 IMPACT, Cisco’s annual sales conference.

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Julio Fernandez

Senior Manager for Digital Strategy

Cisco Learning and Certifications