In 2017, our CEO Chuck Robbins joined with over 500 other corporate leaders in signing the global CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ Pledge – a commitment to take action on creating more diverse and inclusive companies. Today, Cisco is again joining with these companies to recognize December 7 as a Day of Understanding. An opportunity to highlight the importance of fostering courageous conversations in the workplace, specifically around unconscious bias.

At Cisco, this is something we take to heart. We are working to amplify leaders, independent of title, who have the courage to engage in meaningful conversations to create a more inclusive culture. As VP of Global Learning & Development, helping to shape mindsets and skillsets is something that is top of mind for me every day. My team and I are passionate about how we develop and shape our leaders to foster full-spectrum diversity. We encourage courageous conversations at all levels of the organization and call on our people leaders to be present — to not shy away from difficult interactions, but instead to embrace diversity and to lead with authenticity.

We have made unconscious bias training available to every employee as part of our core curriculum. And this fall, we hosted our second annual Leader Day, a global event bringing together 9,000 Cisco people leaders from around the world. We shifted our approach from Unconscious Bias to Conscious Inclusion by delivering thought-provoking, always-on scenarios that encourage leaders to interrupt and constructively address bias within their teams. Our approach was designed to address the information, attitudes, and stereotypes that affect the way we process information subconsciously, in order to change behaviors and outcomes with teams at Cisco. And we are continuing to provide learning for our leaders through immersive Leader Labs.

We know we have more work to do — that this is not a “one and done” process, but part of an ongoing evolution. We are focused on embedding inclusive practices within all of our employee learning, and we continue to work to support highly innovative, inclusive, and collaborative teams. We applaud the CEO Action Pledge for calling on companies to take their best intentions and make them actionable. The Day of Understanding is another step in bringing the commitments of the pledge to life to make a meaningful difference in our workplaces and communities.

In the spirit of the Day of Understanding, we’re working to ensure Cisco is a place where every employee feels welcomed, valued, respected and heard. We’re committed to expanding the conversation inside and outside our company – aligned to who we are and what we stand for – to create greater understanding and to build community.

Between diversity and inclusion there is a bridge. At Cisco, we believe courageous conversations can be that bridge.


Jennifer Dudeck

Vice President

Global Learning & Development