This article was written in collaboration with Paula Silveira Temple, Cisco Communications & Engagement Manager.
¡Feliz 20 Cumpleaños Conexión!
Translation: Happy 20th birthday to Conexión, our Employee Resources Organization (ERO) for Latinx employees.
Spanish for “connection,” Conexión has become one of our most recognized EROs.
What began in 2001 as a simple mailer from a few Hispanic engineers to connect Latino employees around the world has turned into an organization of more than 1,500 members. And it’s growing by the day.
“I’m new to Conexión, but I felt from day one that I found my place,” says Paula Silveira Temple, Communications & Engagement Manager.
“I have worked for a decade within Latin American countries and most recently moved to a global team. Latin energy is what I was missing, so finding Conexión was like finding a ‘yellow brick road’ back home. This community gives me the opportunity to make incredible connections with people that share my culture.”
Led by Channel Operations Senior Global Manager, Angela Mesa, Conexión is all about elevating the Latinx community through four pillars:
- Professional development
- Community outreach
- Talent acquisition
- Advocacy and awareness
That last pillar is a recent addition. To support it, the group launched ConexTALK, a flagship event for harnessing community experiences that benefit all members.
“Conexión has amplified the energy and passion of its members through a new committed generation of leaders who have grown through the organization — and now are taking the ERO to its next chapter,” Angela says. “The work we’re doing continues to touch more people every day.”
In fact, HITEC — the Hispanic IT Executive Council — recently nominated Conexión as the top ERO in the U.S.
A major bonus for members of Conexión — or any ERO — is the opportunity for connection and visibility with colleagues you wouldn’t meet in your typical job interactions. As a result, many members develop soft skills as mentors, leaders, and role models.
“This community provides an opportunity for us to share and celebrate our personal experiences, conquer self-imposed barriers to help us lead and grow, and to give back our communities,” says Carlos Pignataro, CX CTO, 2021 HITEC 100 winner, and RTP Conexión sponsor.
Creating Opportunities to Learn
In addition to connecting our Latinx employees from around the world, Conexión is making a major impact in the communities where its members live — particularly in education. Examples include:
Jóvenes en Acción (Youth in Action)
Conexión members hosted high school students from Mexico at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. A joint initiative between the U.S. Department of State, the Mexican government and the private sector, the monthlong program offers an opportunity to build leadership and communication skills at one of the world’s great universities.
Designed for low-income elementary and middle school kids, the program promotes education and the importance of technology. Programa Escuela invites young children to visit Cisco offices and engage with students from around the world through Telepresence, exposing them to different languages and a corporate environment. Thanks to its initial success in the U.S., it’s been expanded to other countries, including China, Spain, and Mexico.
Stretch Assignment Marketplace
Originally named El Mercado, this program matches stretch assignment opportunities with talent across Cisco. It currently has 42 volunteers and received investments from Inclusion and Diversity sponsorship from our human resources team.
Being part of the Cisco family
Over the years, Conexión members also have volunteered thousands of hours and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in both cash and equipment to mentor Latinx college students. This includes helping with everything from job searches and résumé writing to conducting interview workshops.
“It’s like we’re all grains of sand in this big beach working together,” says technical project manager Gustavo Salas. “In Conexión, we found our Cisco family to be with us and also do good for the world.”
Join us in wishing Conexión a Happy Birthday!