Guest Blog collaboratively written by Leena Maasarani, Barbara Koch, Gina Cascio and Rehana Rehman.

What comes to mind when you think of Being Fearless? Perhaps you envision a person with strength, with courage maybe a risk taker or someone with strong convictions? The list is endless and that image is strikingly clear, however do we really know how to invest in ourselves to Be Fearless?

There have been many people like Emma Watson, Sheryl Sandberg and our very own Padmasree Warrior who have charged forward to champion the rights of women personally and in the workplace, cultivating young girls’ interest in STEM or simply encouraging the pursuit of a career in technology.  Not only do they embody the idea of being fearless, but also they have trail blazed for other women so that we can all collectively stand out. Padmasree has previously shared in a Huff Post article,

“NMSI reports that men over age 25 held 87 percent of bachelor’s degrees in engineering fields. Only 23 percent of workers in STEM-related jobs are women, yet women make up 48 percent of workers in all occupations. The higher you go on the corporate ladder, the lower these numbers become. According to a report by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), women held just 9 percent of IT management positions and accounted for only 14 percent of senior management positions at Silicon Valley startups.”

With this astounding statistic, we need to come together and invest in that change by Being Fearless. At Cisco, there are countless programs, groups and collaboration across different teams to help bring forth this kind of change and we want to introduce you to an event that plans to do exactly that.

We are incredibly fortunate to be part of a team of dedicated and driven women collaborating towards leading a full day conference devoted to the development and advancement of professional women. The Women of Impact Conference is the consolidation of two of Cisco’s premier women’s events: International Women’s Day and the Women in Tech Forum.  The conference attendees will come away with useful knowledge for their career development and advancement and an expanded network of professional allies.  This is a Cisco event with invited participation from partners and customers. Attendees will be women at Cisco, their male supporters and allies as well as partners and customers.

WOI 2015

The pace of change and innovation is accelerating faster than ever before; creating a new approach to the way we work, live, play and learn. Our focus this year is to empower attendees to Be Fearless – by taking risks, overcoming obstacles and blazing new trails in their personal and professional lives. The Conference focus is to connect, develop and inspire the women in technology at Cisco.

  • Connect: Expand your network of professional allies and mentors across functions and ecosystems
  • Develop: Come away with useful knowledge for career development and personal growth
  • Inspire: Interact and hear from role models who personify what it takes to Be Fearless

With that focus in mind, we will provide diverse panel discussions with thought leaders, practical workshops led by industry experts, structured networking sessions with peers and management and insightful key notes from Cisco executive leaders.

Epitomizing the “Be Fearless” theme is this year’s WoI Passion Project, Dress A Girl Around the World, an extraordinary organization dedicated to helping girls living in poverty and at risk for human trafficking to discover their self-worth, beauty and dignity.  Cisco employees, partners and family members are coming together to connect, and show how much they care by creating one of a kind dresses that are as unique as each little girl.

Women of Impact is brought to you by:

  • Platinum Sponsors: Office of Inclusion & Collaboration (I&C)
  • Gold Sponsors: Cisco Empowered Women’s Network (CEWN), Services Platforms Group (SPG)
  • Silver Sponsors:  Global Strategic Partner Organization (GSPO) and Chief Technology and Strategy Office (CTSO)
  • Partners: Connected Women, Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) and Men for Inclusion (MFI), Community Relations

Our busy lives will always be there, however it’s important to keep in mind that we need to connect, develop and inspire and to continue to invest in our futures and ourselves by being part of the change in the ratio of women in the workplace.

We would love for you to join us this year, on March 19th, where our theme is Be Fearless. Stay tuned for our featured Fearless Females blog stories in the upcoming weeks leading up to our conference.

Share with us with your stories and pictures how you can Be Fearless on Twitter @Cisco_WOI and the Cisco Empowered Women’s Network Facebook page! Don’t forget to use the #WOI2015!


Rehana Rehman

No Longer with Cisco