It’s been a little more than a year since we created Cisco’s first Office of Inclusion and Collaboration (OIC).   And it’s been a milestone year.  Today, we’re releasing our annual Corporate Social Responsibility report (CSR), which details Cisco’s high-level priorities for being socially and environmentally responsible, and I’m honored to share the highlights of our progress within Our People section of this amazing document.  As a critical part of Our People Deal, Inclusion and Collaboration are featured prominently in the report.  I invite you to dive in and understand what we’ve accomplished in FY15 and how we’re changing the equation for creating value moving forward.CSR Photo1

What does it mean to change the equation?  For Cisco and the OIC, it means we continue to expand our view on the factors driving inclusion, diversity and collaboration.  It means we leverage fresh perspectives, thought leadership, and data and analytics to gain new insights. It means we use those insights to inform bold new strategies.  We change the way we talk about inclusion, diversity and collaboration, the way we measure our progress, and the way we connect our business strategies and our inclusive practices. And we align with a higher vision of value creation in the work we do to drive transformation through our people.

A Foundational Year with Milestones. Changing the equation was a top priority in this first, foundational year for the OIC. We began by looking at the legacy work of the Global Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) function we were transforming, including over 400 well-intentioned programs designed to support diversity and inclusion across our company.  And while we recognized the progress made through those programs over the years, we knew that more programs would not result in more impact or move us forward in our higher vision of value creation.

Our Highly Diverse Executive Leadership Team. Of the many milestones and accomplishments we’re highlighting in the CSR from this past year, I’m most excited about those that I consider to be leading indicators of that transformation.  Like our passionately inclusive new CEO and the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) he created – one of the most diverse in our industry. Our ELT reflects the full spectrum of Cisco’s diversity – gender, generation, ethnicity, culture, experience, expertise, nationality and tenure at Cisco. They give us new perspective and sets a powerful precedent that demonstrates how diverse representation is fundamental to our journey. And they set a new standard for the inclusive leadership capabilities that will fuel our transformation.

CSR 2To drive transformation through our people and create value through inclusion, diversity and collaboration, we needed to step back and build a strong foundation for bold new strategies.  We needed to sharpen our focus and streamline our strategic programs, initiatives, and events to what we call the “critical few”. We needed to channel our investments and energy into initiatives with proven high returns and create a catalyst for exponential growth.

I’m even more excited about what’s to come. Inclusion and Collaboration are being shaped from all levels within our company.  We’ve started a movement and we still have challenges to overcome.  We’ve started to change the fundamental equation for inclusion, diversity and collaboration and we still have work to do.

Who’s changing the equation? We all are.

Interested in learning more? Read Cisco’s 2015 Corporate Social Responsibility Report. Also, please read CEO Chuck Robbins’ blog to gain a deeper understanding about Cisco’s Unique Focus on Making the World a Better Place.


Shari Slate

Chief Inclusion & Collaboration Officer

SVP of Inclusive Future & Strategy