Have you heard the expression, “People don’t remember what you say, they remember how you made them feel?”  Last week, I had the opportunity to participate with more than 8,000 women (80 from Cisco) — in a one-day conference sponsored by Cisco Systems, Inc. and other companies.  There were many amazing speakers who shared their stories of perseverance, optimism and goodness.  I don’t recall everything these presenters had to say, but I certainly remember how they made me feel.  Here are just a few of the great pearls of wisdom from the event.Carli Lloyd_soccer star

Preparation – It’s what defines champions. @CarliLloyd

Carli Lloyd is a star on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and Most Value Player (MVP) of the 2015 Women’s World Cup champion.  She was always the best player on each of her youth soccer teams, but when she reached the collegiate level, she knew she had to step-up her performance if she was to be a leader.  It was her personal coach who told her she needed to not only improve her soccer skills and game technique, but also her character.  Ouch!  This was tough feedback to accept.  Her coach was wise enough to give Carli this needed correction, but also hope and a goal:  If she was willing to prepare like Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and other great athletes – which meant total dedication to the sport and working on her skills 365 days a year – she could also be a great athlete. Carli took this pearl of wisdom – preparation – and made it her focus.  Her results are now in the World Soccer record books.

Optimism – It’s how to grow the good in your life: @lifeisgood

John Jacobs_The Good LifeJohn Jacobs is the COO – Chief Creative Optimist – and co-founder of the “Life is Good” Company.  John and his brother, Bert, started the company with $78 in their pockets, designing and then selling t-shirts in the streets of Boston.  Today, the “Life is Good” brand is a $100M company sold by more than 4,000 retailers across the U.S. and Canada.  Most importantly, “Life is Good” donates 10% of net profit to children in need.  John credits his mother, Joan, as the first powerful optimist in his life.  Joan would ask her children each evening at dinner, “Tell me something good that happened today?”  Joan’s pearl of wisdom – optimism – was the inspiration for “Life is Good,” and for the brother’s resilience and perseverance.

Goodness – It’s how each of us can make a difference: @leymahrgboweeLeymah Gbowee_Nobel Peace Laureate

Leymah Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist, social worker, women’s rights advocate and 2011 Nobel  Peace Laureate.  Leymah advocates internationally for human rights, especially for the education and safety of young girls, and for peace.

Leymah’s experience of peace and war has shown her that there are far more people who do good, than evil, in the world. However, it is not enough for people to avoid evil; they must do good, too.  If each person focuses on even one act of kindness each day, these acts combined create a groundswell of goodness that has the power to overcome evil.  Leymah’s pearl of wisdom – goodness – is a wonderful reminder of the power goodness, and how goodness is the responsibility of each one of us.

I have one more pearl of wisdom to share, and it’s my own “pearl” – Gratitude.  I’m thankful for Cisco’s commitment to employees, women in particular, for last week’s opportunity for my personal and professional development. Cisco’s commitment to employees’ growth is demonstrated through events such as the Conference for Women sponsorship, and through Cisco internal organizations like our Office of Inclusion and Collaboration.  Just one more way Cisco is enriching my life.

How did these pearls of wisdom make you feel? What pearls of wisdom do you have to share?


Carol Shottes

Marketing Manager