What’s the impact of inclusion? What does it mean to someone who’s been left out to be welcomed in?  For a 10-year old with cancer, to be able to continue attending the school she loves while getting lifesaving treatment hundreds of miles away – it means everything.

To 5th grader Peyton Walton and her mom Lynn. To her family. And to Cisco and the passionate team of experts who came together to find a way to use our technologies to connect Peyton with her classroom, her teachers, her friends and unlimited possibilities for being included.

Peyton’s story is a story of courage and commitment and the power of connection. It started with imagining the possibilities and then breaking down every barrier to manifest them. And for Peyton and those who know and love her, it’s a story with a happy ending. Giving Peyton the opportunity to be included in the classroom had a huge impact on her treatment. Today, she’s cancer-free.

For Cisco, Peyton’s story is just the beginning. The innovative video technology Peyton used to connect to her community opens up a world of possibilities for us. When we discover how to break down barriers for one – we discover how to begin to break them down for everyone. Another case in point: Project LifeChanger. A winning idea in Cisco’s Innovation Challenge, it’s creating new possibilities for how Cisco can change the way the world works, tap into the tremendous untapped potential of people with disabilities, and transform lives. Project LifeChanger leverages some of the same innovations that created new possibilities in Peyton’s life plus new accommodations within our Video and Collaboration technologies to help the disabled transcend location and mobility challenges to seamlessly join teams and to thrive. The result: we’ve hired 50 talented people to date.

Peyton’s story and Project LifeChanger are just two shining examples of how Cisco is using innovative technology to drive inclusion so that we can achieve more together.   Every organization—whether it’s an elementary school or a global enterprise—can create exponential value through the convergence of diversity, inclusion, collaboration, and technology.

And we’re just getting started.  As Rowan Trollope, SVP and GM, Cisco IoT & Applications puts it, Peyton’s story “… makes me want to work harder to get this technology—and the next, better generation of it—to more people, faster.”

Me too, Rowan. And all of us who are passionate about inclusion. Read more about Rowan’s perspective on Peyton and the heart of an engineer in his compelling blog.

So…who will we connect next? How will we include more people, faster?

Imagine the possibilities…



Shari Slate

Chief Inclusion & Collaboration Officer

SVP of Inclusive Future & Strategy