One of my favorite days of the year is coming up this week. Cisco’s 5th annual Women of Impact Conference is happening on Wednesday, March 8. This powerful event, which coincides with International Women’s Day, is devoted to the professional development of women. This year, some 10,000 Cisco employees, partners, and customers are expected to attend from over 30 countries, and I hope you will register to attend the virtual broadcast from wherever you are in the world!

This day is so personal to me. As the first generation in my family to go to college and have a career in corporate America, I feel I have the opportunity to pave the way for my own daughter and to support other women and girls who share the hopes and aspirations I had growing up. It also gives me time to reflect upon the mentors who have given me their guidance and trust, and in some cases, taken a “chance on me.” I am forever grateful to them. Women of Impact engages people in that same spirit of connection and mentorship, and I am so proud of Cisco for providing this forum where women and men can come together in solidarity with others who are passionate about advancing women’s careers.

Over the past 5 years, our Women of Impact conference has explored themes like “Be Extraordinary,” “Be Fearless”, “Be Unstoppable,” and this year is my favorite so far: “It’s Time. Collaborate. Lead. Inspire.” At the end of this powerful day, women will emerge with an expanded network of allies to support them in the future, ideas for collaboration, and a new empowerment to lead and chase the career of their dreams.

At Cisco, we have a commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Collaboration – that’s how we unleash the full potential of our people to create exponential value for Cisco, our employees, partners and customers. Women of Impact is a premier example of this commitment, and I hope you will join me March 8, 2017.


Maria Medrano

Program Manager

OIC Transformational Practices