At Cisco, our purpose is to power an inclusive future for all. I truly believe those words – ‘inclusive’ and ‘for all’ – must underpin everything we do at Cisco.
Over 30,000 of Cisco employees participate in Cisco’s inclusive communities—a group of 29 employee resource organizations (EROs) and employee networks that help our people connect within community and among allies. Our inclusive communities drive their own unique strategies to support full-spectrum diversity and work together across our global enterprise to drive engagement and create a more conscious culture.
I am proud to be the Global Executive Co-Sponsor for Cisco’s Connected Disability Action Network (CDAN), recently rebranded from Connected Disability Awareness Network, and I am consistently so grateful for the work that this group does, both globally and in different regions. It keeps me full of hope to see all our CDAN leaders and members devoting their time, experiences and creativity to help us become a disability confident employer and to break down the barriers people with disabilities face in the workplace.
I was honored to participate and co-host the CDAN week-long series of events in the beginning of December leading up to the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
During that week, we celebrated our Cisconians with disabilities and the contribution they make to our company, culture and community. Throughout these events we:
- Celebrated the impact our Cisconians with disabilities have made.
- Provided the opportunity for Cisconians who don’t identify as having a disability to become proximate to those with disabilities and learn from their lived experience.
- Demonstrated how small changes can make us more inclusive colleagues.
Though we try to raise awareness about disability all year round, in celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3rd) our offices in multiple cities around the world were lit purple. With this initiative, we joined #PurpleLightUp. This global movement was started by PurpleSpace.org to celebrate and draw attention to the economic contribution of the 386 million disabled employees around the world.
All these internal events happening in this special week were a chance for us all to ask ourselves what we are doing to reduce barriers faced by people living with disabilities. I’m grateful that so many of our employees and partners shared their lived experiences so we can listen, learn, and progress to ensure an inclusive future for all.
Now let’s all make sure we learn from each other and build a more inclusive, barrier-free world. In our daily lives, let’s stay connected, keep sharing knowledge and work together to create a disability-inclusive culture by empowering Cisconians and our partners to challenge employment and education inequalities for people with disabilities. It’s time to turn awareness into action!
Phil Wolfenden leads a strong team of 2,000 experts who deploy Cisco technologies that drive digital transformation for customers and partners to deliver value from their investments. With almost 30 years of IT and networking industry experience, Phil’s career spans executive and management positions starting at the Technical Assistance Centre (TAC) in Brussels, Belgium in 1997. He is a graduate of Newcastle University in the UK and is a Chartered Engineer and a Cisco Certified Internet Expert (CCIE). He is a principal advocate for Inclusion and Diversity as Global Executive Co-Sponsor for Cisco’s Disability Action Network, and the EMEAR sponsor for the Hidden Disabilities and Cancer Support Networks. Phil also sits on numerous industry bodies and advisory boards. Phil has lived in a number of countries across the globe but currently resides in the UK with his wife and two children.