In November 2021, Cisco’s Global Advocacy team hosted the first ever Cisco Global Advocate Awards event. We celebrated the top-performing customer and partner marketing advocates in Cisco’s advocacy communities across ten categories—putting the spotlight on the amazing work they continue to do for Cisco. We’re excited to bring you a special Gateway Triangle podcast series, where we get to know our Global Advocate Award winners and hear their stories!

For this episode of the Triangle Advocate Award Winners series, we sit down with Andrea West. Andrea is a Business Value Consultant with Taleka, and the 2021 winner of our Excellence in Storytelling award. Andrea won the award for her outstanding story about her work with Wollongong Hospital in Australia. Taleka teamed up with Citrus Solutions and Cisco to create HowRU, a solution that allowed families open and flexible virtual visiting with ICU patients during the height of COVID-19 when in-person visitation wasn’t an option. The challenges were that many of the patients were too ill to operate software and devices themselves, and off-the-shelf video apps did not provide the level of privacy and security required in a sensitive medical environment, which made the development of this solution a unique challenge.

As Andrea explained, “We’re different because we apply a people-first approach to human problems. We don’t go in with the technology first. We work with humans, we find what their problems are, and then we work out what the right collaboration solution or tool might be.”


Innovating with Webex and Cisco

HowRU uses Webex on an iPad with some clever automation that allowed families to visit with their loved ones whenever they felt the need, even if a patient wasn’t able to operate the device, saving the hospital staff time in setting up these interactions for patients. The HowRU solution provided comfort not only to patients and their families, but to medical staff working in hospitals who were able to provide better emotional care to their patients because of this solution. It was heartwarming to hear the difference that this innovation made for these families, and it was no surprise to me that Andrea won her award once I heard about her story. She noted in our podcast:

“For me it was all about the recognition of the work that went into the solution. Not just the work that Taleka and Citrus did, but mainly for the staff in the Wollongong ICU. They were integral in making this a success. It was about them working with us and putting valuable time into making sure it was right. We were really proud that the work has been recognized not just for us, but for the hospital as well.”

Andrea said she appreciates the recognition the story got because the more it is shared, the more other hospitals may be able to adopt this solution. Several hospitals are currently trialing the solution, and Taleka is looking into additional use cases for the platform. Tune in next time for more from our Cisco Global Advocate Awards 2021 winners!


Watch more advocate interviews

You might enjoy this interview with our customer advocate, Peter McKenzie.


Join us!

For those Cisco customers who haven’t yet joined our advocacy community, consider doing so. You’ll be able to:

  • Connect with peers in a gamified, online community
  • Have an opportunity to meet with Cisco’s executives
  • Share your feedback, questions, and best practices
  • Get access to ‘insider’ content and resources
  • Grow your professional and personal brand
  • Amplify your company’s success story with Cisco technology

Ready to get started? Head over to the community and say hello!


Nicholas D'Amato

Marketing Coordinator, Global Community Host

Global Advocacy Team