Our customers are the heart and soul of everything we do at Cisco and each one of them has an interesting story to tell! Our Q&A series allows us to shine a spotlight on some of our most passionate customer advocates as we learn more about their stories and backgrounds.
Cisco’s advocacy community, Cisco Insider Advocates, brings our customers together and provides a way for them to make powerful connections, expand their professional and personal networks, and learn from top experts in their field. One of our goals with our advocacy community is to deepen our relationships with our customers and today, we have one of the friendliest faces in the community joining us for a chat. I’m excited to welcome Girgis Hady from Wadi Degla Holding. I’d also like to take a moment to shout-out Michelle Zhu who helped with our interview! Michelle was an intern with Cisco’s Global Advocacy team in the summer of 2022, and she partnered with me in interviewing Girgis.
Welcome, Girgis! Let’s kick things off by talking about what you wanted to be when you were 16 years old?
When I was 16, I wanted to be an engineer. I was not sure about the specific major in engineering, but I remember that I liked building things, working with tools, technology, and a lot of troubleshooting.
That’s great! You had an interest in IT from a young age. Where did you start your career, and what professional decision or opportunity helped lead you to your current role?
I graduated with a degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering, and it was the start of my career in IT. After that I had the opportunity to join the Cisco Networking Academy which guided me to follow the path that secured my current role. During my time at the Academy, I gained a basic knowledge and foundation into networking by completing the CCNA course. The course was very intensive and the guidance I received in the course allowed me to pass my CCNA Exam and become certified. Following that, I completed Cisco’s CCNP courses to achieve the professional track on networking. All these courses and knowledge prepared me for the challenges I faced at work right up until my current role.
It’s great to hear about the invaluable experience you got from joining the Cisco Networking Academy! How has partnering with Cisco helped you in your role?
Depending on the type of Cisco product and technology, it enhances our network stability, security, and agility. For example, we depend on Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) for network access management and device control. It gives us control on what we connect to in our network and ensures that connected devices are compliant with our company policy.
Thank you for sharing, Girgis. What’s been your biggest challenge in your company recently, and how did you overcome it?
There have been many challenges over the past two years. One was during the pandemic lockdown where we switched to remote working for our employees. We immediately used the agent of the existing firewall and planned a project to apply Cisco products to enhance our remote workers’ security. As we were using Cisco ISE, we integrated our Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) device with ISE to have user authentication and authorization through ISE, as well. It provided a seamless experience for both work-from-home and on-premise users.
That’s impressive, thanks for sharing more insight into the work you led to help your company tackle the transition to remote work. Let’s move on to our customer advocacy community. How would you describe it to those aren’t familiar with it?
It’s a place where you can gain more information about Cisco’s new products and technologies, while also having fun networking with Cisco’s community members from around the world—all while earning cool rewards!
The cool rewards are always a fun added incentive! You’re one of our community “Rockstars.” What made you want to join, and how has being part of this community impacted you both professionally and personally?
I joined the community by luck at Cisco Live US in 2019 when I passed by “The Gateway” (now known as Cisco Insider Advocates) booth. I liked the idea of the community, so when I came back from Cisco Live, I started following the activities and I found it to be enjoyable. Being part of the community benefits me in many ways as it enhances my knowledge about many Cisco solutions—even those I don’t work with. I also have the freedom to communicate with fabulous people. Being part of this community also helped me attend Cisco Live again this year in Las Vegas through the “Road to Cisco Live” competition!
As you called out, you were one of our “Road To Cisco Live” winners! We would love to know more about your experience at Cisco Live Vegas. On a scale of 1-5 (5 being the highest), how would you describe your overall experience? How did it compare to previous Cisco Live conferences?
This year, I would give Cisco Live a 4 out of 5. It was a bit smaller and there were less activities than the last Cisco Live US I attended in 2019 in San Diego. It may be due to fact that it’s the first onsite Cisco Live since the pandemic. The sessions at the Cisco Insiders booths were very useful and I realized how much I missed seeing people with shared interests come together.
I can definitely say that we received a lot of similar feedback about how happy people were to reconnect with each other in person again. Cisco Live US offered a lot of fun booth activities. Among them, which was your favorite and why?
Many of the booths were great, though I REALLY enjoyed the Cisco Insider booth. It offered a variety of activities, a snack bar, and of course great conversations. Cisco Insider Champions also offered great special access to areas of the conference.
You also had a chance to meet for the first time/reconnect with some of your peers from the community and members of Cisco’s Global Advocacy team! How did you enjoy that reconnection?
Yes, we finally met again in person! It was a tough time during the pandemic when we were only communicating virtually. It was very nice to meet the team and other Rockstars from Cisco Insider Advocates. I felt that we were finally human again! Instead of all the online meetings, we could talk face-to-face, eat together, and have fun connecting with each other throughout the event.
I can imagine how surreal it must have felt after two years of global lockdowns. We’re almost at the end of the interview and we’d love to finish with three things you can’t live without?
It’s been a pleasure to chat with you Girgis, thank you again for joining us!
You are welcome, Rashik!
Read more advocate interviews
You might enjoy this interview with Simon Watkins.
For our customers who have already joined our Cisco Insider Advocates community, say hello to Girgis if you haven’t met each other yet. And for those Cisco customers who haven’t yet joined, 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 Cisco Insider Advocates Community and say hello!
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