Roxanne EdwardsGuest Blog and Interview by Roxanne Edwards

At the Women of Impact Conference this year on March 19th, our focus is to empower attendees to Be Fearless – by taking risks, overcoming obstacles and blazing new trails in their personal and professional lives. The Conference focus is to connect, develop and inspire the women in technology at Cisco.

Learn why Annella Heytens, Vice President of Human Resources, APJC is our next featured Fearless Female.

We are impressionable at a very young age. The examples set by others can be inspiring and guide us in many directions.

Annella grew up in the Philippines and was inspired by her mother and grandmother who were both well educated women.   Annella’s mother was a nutritionist, and Annella followed in her footsteps. She holds Master’s degrees in nutrition and dietetics, but Annella is now Vice President of Human Resources and is responsible for 21,000 employees in over 18 countries. How did she get there?

Years ago, Annella’s then husband took a job in China and they relocated from Washington, DC. Annella, being a fearless female, interviewed for a human resources position without having any experience at all in the field. Annella assumed caring for people as a nutritionist or working for a retirement community developer wouldn’t be too far from a human resources function. The hiring manager took a risk on Annella, as she sensed Annella had the required skills and capabilities to master the job. Annella eventually became a managing consultant for one of the largest human resources consulting firms in the world in Beijing. Within three years under Annella’s leadership, her division became profitable for the first time.

Annella Heytens Photo

Annella is constantly paying it forward. She believes in taking a risk with others. Annella has influenced the hiring of many local leaders in AJPC. If they are motivated and have leadership capabilities, she’s willing to take a chance.

Annella loves to travel. She selects a new location every year for the family vacation. She enjoys champagne, chocolate and cheese (yes at the same time).

Have you registered for the Women of Impact Conference yet? It’s only 4 days away. For more conference details or registration information, click here:

Read about our other #FearlessFemales here and check out our #BeFearless #CiscoChat on Twitter.

Share with us with your stories and pictures how you can Be Fearless, tweet us @Cisco_WOI or find and Like us on Facebook on the Cisco Empowered Women’s Network Facebook page! Don’t forget to use the #WOI2015 hashtag!


Rehana Rehman

No Longer with Cisco