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Changing the Diversity Equation – The Multiplier Effect Pledge Launches at Mobile World Congress

March 6, 2017 - 7 Comments

Last week at Mobile World Congress, we started a movement. With one bold idea—leverage the power of sponsorship to accelerate the pipeline of extraordinary diverse talent in tech—we took a powerful first step in changing the equation for diversity. We’re not doing it alone. We’re bringing together leaders across industries who are committed to solving this challenge. Leaders who are passionate about building the best teams by embracing the full spectrum of diverse talent. Leaders who are ready to take action and multiply diversity at every level. Leaders like you.

On February 28th, I joined our CEO Chuck Robbins, SVP/GM Service Provider Yvette Kanouff, SVP Global Service Provider Woody Sessoms, and more than 40 service provider and tech leaders at Cisco’s annual Connected Women Executive Roundtable to launch The Multiplier Effect Pledge.

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins signing Multiplier Effect Pledge at Mobile World Congress

The bold idea behind the pledge was ignited at last year’s Mobile World Congress when Yvette Kanouff posed a question to a group of tech leaders: What if every leader in tech sponsored one diverse person to the next level in their career? What impact could we have?

The Power of Sponsorship

The key to accelerating the pipeline of diverse talent is sponsorship—a structured, proactive, and sustained relationship between a leader and protégé. According to the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI), people with sponsors are 23% more likely to move up in their career than those without sponsors.

Sponsorship is different than mentorship. Sylvia Ann Hewlett, CTI CEO, describes the difference as follows, ”While mentors listen, sponsors act—by telling you what you need to know, clearing obstacles from your path, and making your success their business.”

Sponsors possess three key attributes according to Hewlett. “They believe in your potential and are prepared to take a bet on you; they have a voice at the table and are willing to be your champion; and they provide you the cover you need to take the risks necessary to succeed.”

Join the Movement

At Cisco, we’re all in. Our goal is one million pledges. Hundreds of leaders have already signed the pledge and challenged their peers to do the same.

Whose success will you make your business? Join the movement and take The Multiplier Effect Pledge today! Together, let’s multiply the pipeline of extraordinary diverse talent across our companies and industries through the power of sponsorship.

Share Your Story

Has a sponsor been a champion in your career? Or have you sponsored extraordinary talent to the next level in their career? We’d love to hear your stories and best practices on sponsorship.

Follow the conversation on Twitter at #MultiplyTechDiversity.
Read more on the power of sponsorship.


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  1. Thanks Chuck .. much needed and very valuable.

  2. This is a wonderful initiative, thank you Cisco!!!!!

  3. Very cool initiative!

  4. Proud to have taken the pledge, thanks for your leadership Shari!

  5. Shari, thanks for posting this note and telling us about an important “movement”(what a powerful word!). I loved learning about its origins. How a comment by Yvette at last year’s Mobile World Conference sparked an idea that turned into action at this year’s conference. I think the “Multiplier”pledge is a testament to the tremendous follow thru that Cisco leaders have. It’s never a one and done. It’s continuous engagement. It’s listening, acting, tweaking. It shows the power of intention. I was reminded of what Simon Sinek said: “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”More often than not, Cisco gets the “why”right.

  6. This is a great initiative. I know a few Cisco execs who have already taken the pledge and are very enthusiastic about this. What a great way that individuals can actually contribute to impact diversity in our industry!

  7. Sounds a great idea. I like the distinction between sponsor & mentor.