An open letter to my Cisco U.S. Public Sector team: These past six months have been like nothing we’ve ever seen before — both personally and professionally. The COVID-19 pandemic was yet another reminder that we must be ready to cope with large-scale disruption. We are all adapting to different ways of living, working, and driving the business in the Public Sector as we adjust to our new normal.

While leading through this uncertainty, we had to change our priorities in response to the crisis. Effective and strong leadership is more important than ever as organizations navigate the recovery and cope with economic changes. With the rapidly changing and uncertain times we’re facing, Public Sector leadership must be committed to making sure teams are supported, guided, and connected to the right resources. It all starts with five key things we should remind ourselves (and our teams) of every day.

Public Sector Connecting with our communities - DC Sleep Out- Covenent House.
Nick and colleagues connecting with our communities at the DC Sleep Out.

Find your balance

How we lead during this time is unique and I think we are all learning as we go. I personally have had to take a deep look at what is most important as we strike a balance between maintaining employee wellbeing and meeting customer needs.  This all starts with strong leadership and setting the example. I urge our Public Sector leadership team to take time for themselves because I firmly believe if you cannot take care of yourself, you cannot take care of your teams, your customers, your families, and your communities.

Manage mental health

Please remember — you’re not alone. Do what you need to do to stay healthy both physically and mentally.

  • Mental health is health. With schools shutting down and many of our friends and family dealing with virtual environments, remote work and other stresses, we all need a break. We’re all coping with different challenges.

Stay connected

How we are connecting can be a challenge. Cisco has been fortunate to be following CEO Chuck Robbin’s lead and example with helpful and informative check-ins, guest speakers, doctors, social activist leaders, members of our executive leadership team, and mental health experts. We are taking new approaches on how to celebrate without being together. Our Public Sector teams have been getting creative with movie packages, virtual happy hours, and personal note cards, to name a few.

Focus on our customers

While we are coping with a wide range of challenges, there are also positives to the crisis response. Cisco Public Sector is at our best when our customers and partners need us the most. We have proven that we have the right technology and the best people to help government agencies and educational institutions continue to perform their missions in new ways.

“No matter what happens, we continue to put our customers first in everything we do.

We’re focused on supporting them.

We view the challenges they’re facing as new opportunities to innovate.”

Cisco’s Public Sector developed brand new solutions to enable distance learning and remote work from anywhere. To keep government business moving forward, Cisco offered free trials of our software. Since access to funding was a challenge for many, we also provided assistance with grants to the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Fund.

We’re doing everything in our power to drive success, and remain dedicated to our Public Sector customers, partners, and our communities.

Maintain perspective

As we continue forward into Cisco’s FY21, more than ever, I’m grateful to work at a place like Cisco. I am proud to have the honor of leading our exceptional Public Sector team. They’re the ones who make it all happen. And they are the ones our customers rely on for their success. Because of this, they’re the ones who will turn challenges into new opportunities. I’d like to express my gratitude for everything they do and for their leadership as we face this health crisis together.


Nick Michaelides

Senior Vice President

US Public Sector