Between divided and united, there’s a bridge. Between being left out and welcomed in, there’s a bridge. Between a narrow definition of diversity and full spectrum diversity, there’s a bridge. Between benefiting some and benefiting everyone, there’s a bridge. Between people and communities in need and those that are thriving, there’s a bridge.

Inclusion and collaboration are that bridge. A way to connect diverse perspectives. Spark new ideas. Imagine new possibilities. Challenge the status quo. Inspire innovation. And unlock the full potential of our people.

At Cisco, we believe the true promise of inclusion and collaboration is to create a culture where all people are welcomed, valued, respected and heard. A culture where the full spectrum of diversity—inclusive of gender, age, race, ethnicity, orientation, ability, nationality, religion, veteran status, background, culture, experience, strengths and perspectives—can fully participate in the business. A culture that empowers its people to accelerate social change and create thriving communities by supporting the causes they care about.

Taking a Stand for Social Justice

Fostering a diverse and inclusive culture that welcomes all people into life and work is fundamental to who we are as a company. We’re committed to a culture built on dignity, respect, fairness and equity. We listen when our people share concerns about social justice issues and we act to influence change to support them. As people continue to be unfairly targeted for their race, orientation, beliefs and other factors, we take a stand and speak out to support our people inside and outside the workplace.

Moving the Needle on Diversity and Inclusion

We believe it’s important to be transparent about our diversity, which is why we publicly release our data annually in our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report. Our 2018 CSR Report – The Bridge to Possible was just released this week. While we still have more work to do to achieve our diversity goals, I’m extremely proud of our progress to date. I’ll share a few key highlights here, but I encourage you to read the full story on how Cisco is building the bridge to possible for people, society and the planet.

Today we’re the most diverse Cisco since 1998. This is due in large part to diversity and inclusion starting at the top. Twenty-seven percent of our Board is female, 42% of our Executive Leadership Team (ELT) is female, and 58% of our ELT is diverse in terms of gender or ethnicity–making Cisco an industry leader in the diversity of its leadership team.

We’ve continued to make significant improvements in overall representation across our workforce in both technical and non-technical roles. In FY18, we achieved record female representation across Cisco at 25%. We also achieved record representation for African American/Black at 3.6% and Hispanic/Latino at 5.4%. The representation for these ethnicities has increased consistently every year since 2014. While we’re seeing momentum, we can and will do better than this. Digitization is providing us with faster and better access to our diversity data, which is enabling us to see and act on our diversity opportunities in a way never possible before. (See our full diversity snapshot here.)

Making a Difference in Our Communities

From a community impact perspective, we continue to move closer to our goal to achieve 80% employee engagement—measured by donations or volunteer time—by 2020. In FY18, we reached 58% of our employee engagement goal. Cisco made $21.4M in donations directly to charities or through matching gifts and our employees logged an impressive 424,000 volunteer hours.

The Bridge to Possible

Cisco recently ranked #7 on Fortune’s 100 Best Workplaces for Diversity list for 2018. While we still have more work to do to achieve full spectrum diversity at every level of the company, I’m extremely proud of the progress we’ve made between where we began and where we stand today. And I’m inspired by where we will go from here as Cisco, our people and our technology continue to architect the bridge to possible.

To learn more about Cisco’s corporate social responsibility journey, read Tae Yoo’s blog post.

To learn more about Cisco’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, read our CEO’s Business Roundtable Letter.




Shari Slate

Chief Inclusion & Collaboration Officer

SVP of Inclusive Future & Strategy