Growing Up Cisco: From Cisco Baby to Cisco Collaboration

April 2, 2019 - 41 Comments

I grew up at Cisco. Not many of us can call ourselves “Cisco Babies” – but I think I qualify.

My mom, Nicole James, has worked for the company since 1998. I was just six years old when she started working here and I have fond memories of spending my summers hanging out in her cubicle and begging her to let me help create her PowerPoint presentations.

21 years later and not only am I still living with my mom, but we are both working at Cisco! And, in case you’re wondering, I’m creating my own PowerPoint presentations now. 😊 While I always fostered a love for technology, the majority of my life was primarily focused on sports, specifically basketball – and that’s where I thought my career was headed too!

I played basketball competitively for 17 years and was a collegiate player at both Oregon State University and San Jose State University, with the ultimate dream of becoming a professional basketball player. Unfortunately, that dream ended due to a career-ending injury that resulted in a bone and cartilage transplant in my left knee.

Suddenly, all my plans for my future were changed forever.

The injury forced me to retire from basketball at the age of 22 and ended a major chapter in my life. I was at a crossroads. Equipped with a degree in Business Finance from San Jose State University, I leveraged my network and found my way home to Cisco.

Sometimes you can’t see what your future has in store for you when you’re working on one dream – I never would’ve thought I’d be working at the company where I spent my summers! I feel lucky to work for a company like Cisco where I was allowed to seamlessly transition from being an athlete with limited work experience to an industry professional at one of the most historic tech companies in the world.

I started out my career in Supply Chain and now work in Collaboration. Working in Collab, specifically with Webex Meetings, has been such a fulfilling experience. Not only do I get to work on the engineering team that builds the best collaboration technology on the planet, but I also get to work with our marketing partners to help showcase its capabilities. I have not only gotten the opportunity to lead collaboration video production projects, but you can also see me featured in some of them too!

Speaking of videos, I have been lucky enough to travel all the way to Sydney, Australia to shoot an exclusive video showcasing our Cisco Sydney Data Center. It’s such an amazing feeling to have the ability to travel across the world, collaborate with Cisco partners on set, and take part in projects where I know I am adding value to the company.

I love our dedication to work/life balance and am even continuing my education now too. I’m currently enrolled at Santa Clara University working towards my MBA. With Cisco’s flexibility and our technology – the ability to further my education while working has been a game changer.

Loving where you work doesn’t necessarily happen for everyone, but Cisco has given me an incredible opportunity for a bright new future in technology.

Want to join us? We’re hiring. Apply now.



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  1. Hi Classye, thank you for sharing your amazing story. I wish you a lot of success in your future endeavors.

  2. Super proud of you Classye!!! Knowing you since the Supply Chain day and seeing you grow so beautifully in your career, feels amazing! Keep up the awesome work!

  3. WOW nice!

  4. I loved reading your story! And you have a pretty awesome mom as I'm sure you already know :). Best wishes for a bright future!

  5. Congratulations and good luck

  6. Go Classye!!

  7. Conrats, Classye! You took an unfortunate event and turned it into a growth opportunity. I am so proud to hear your story as a fellow Spartan undergraduate and Bronco graduate (both in Mechanical Engineering). Keep on rocking!

  8. Great story Classye. I have only been with Cisco 7 years but my daughter also followed me to Cisco and is loving it! She works as an account manager and is loving it just like me. Thanks for sharing- it looks like we have a lot of multi-generational stories out there.

  9. This is so inspiring! My daughters are with me today for Bring Your Kids to Work Day and I spent my childhood going to GlaxoSmithKline with my mother. Your story is heart-warming and I'm sure you've made your mother beyond proud. Kudos!

  10. I love your Cisco Story Classye. Thank you for sharing, I knew there was something special about you. This very cool. I bring my kids from time to time to help me volunteer or move swag or move offices or just to learn about our tech and I call them my Cisco babies and I call our HQ Cisco Land to make it exciting for them. Your story shows us that our kids are watching, futures can change and you can still have a dream job. Wishing you much success on your career journey.

  11. You are such an inspiration, Classye! I'm so thankful our paths crossed at Cisco and I can't wait to see what amazing things you accomplish next. Thank you for sharing your story!

  12. Classye,
    Appreciate you sharing your journey to Cisco!

  13. Inspiring! Thanks for sharing your story, Classye, it illustrates the importance of faith and to always keep trying even when your path detours from where you thought you were headed.
    Wishing you all the best in your amazing journey!

  14. Great story Classye- thanks for sharing this with us!

  15. Sad, but inspiring story, Classye! You just succeed in whatever you do. Take your passion for life into everything you do. Also, Sydney is a gorgeous city – definitely would like to hear more … share the video link?!

  16. Way to go Classye!! Keep up the great work and enthusiasm about Cisco.

  17. Great story – Thanks for sharing!

  18. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story Classye. You just never know life's path. Wishing you all the very best in your future endeavors.

  19. Kudos to you, Classye, and to your mom!

  20. Inspiring story Classye and it's great to hear how you overcame what could have been a downward road, and spiraled UP!! By the way, I am the mother of Commenter, Shawnita!! I too love working for and being a Cisco family member! Working here a total of 10 years now myself, I began as a Contractor and after 2 years, left as I was hired full-time by EDS. After 2 years there, I was more than happy to return to Cisco as a Contractor and within 6 months was converted to a full-time employee! Kudos to you and your mom for making our Cisco Family shine!!

  21. This is a FANTASTIC story!! Having joined Cisco a few months after getting married, I call my kids Cisco-Babies!! My husband joined Cisco a few months after I did, and my Mom joined a few years later. Almost 15yrs here at Cisco, and we are a true Cisco Family. Wouldn't have it any other way!!
    The commercials are AMAZING! This is very inspiring…keep up the great work.

  22. Very inspiring, Classye! I was telling my son a couple days ago that I needed to hire an engineer. He said "I can work for you mom. How hard could it be?" He's 9 yrs old. So, I just laughed. Who knows, though, maybe he will work at Cisco one day.

  23. Wow great story!

  24. What a wonderful story… and a blessing! I'm happy to know that Cisco is starting to show case familiarity within our culture and we can now see people and experiences look like we do!

    I applaud You and your Mom for sharing this hopeful and amazing story.

    Let's keep growing Cisco!

  25. Fantastic story. So amazing to hear how you grew into a Cisconian. Many years ago, I was also working with my mother in a company for some years. I treasure that experience deeply.

  26. Love your story. Keep growing @ Cisco.

  27. Great story and way to follow your dream and have a great backup Plan.

  28. Love this story, thank you for sharing!

  29. Great story – thanks!

  30. What a great share! Great job, keep shooting for the stars.

  31. If you have the desire to play competitive basketball again, come to RCDN around August time-frame. The city of Richardson has their annual Corporate Challenge, which we participate. We compete against companies such as TI, Raytheon, Southwest for year-long bragging rights and hopefully a nice shiny medal.

    Great story and thanks for sharing.

  32. This is a wonderful account of what it means to triumph in the face of adversity. I am glad you found your niche within the Cisco community. Way to go!!

  33. Thanks for sharing Classye, great story!

  34. Great story Classye, I am going to share this with my 15 year old girl, she plays Varsity basketball and is very passionate about it. Unfortunate to hear about the injury but you bounced back and that is one great lesson to learn. Keep Inspiring !!

  35. Inspiring!

  36. I am so proud of you Classye! Keep shining!!!

  37. Thank you for sharing your story. Your journey is inspiring and just beginning! Go Spartans!

  38. What an inspiration you are Classye. I am thankful that I get to work along side you and witness your talents.

  39. Thank you, Nicole, for bringing Classye to work all those years back, as I'm sure it helped with her decision to join Cisco! She's an integral part of our Business Planning team here at Webex 🙂

  40. Such a great story and feature! All so very true. I couldn't be more proud of you Classye! It is truly amazing to love the place you work at. Which is exactly why I'm still here and happy to share that you're my daughter.

  41. Way to pick yourself back up and find a new passion!