Can you be a dancer and be a Cisco technologist? Yes! We don’t leave our passions at the door when we come into the office.
I’ve always loved dance. I remember the arguments with my parents when I told them I wanted to open my own dance school. They wanted me to get an education and a secure job, I just wanted to follow my dreams.
I thought you’d have to drag me into a “day job,” but I realized that, when I landed my job at Cisco, that I was meant to be here. I realized this was a place that wasn’t as bad as I’d always thought “corporate life” would be. Why? Because some of the most creative people I’ve ever met are here. There are singers, photographers and even athletes. Working at Cisco allows us to contribute to technology that makes the world a better place, but also gives us the freedom – and sometimes a platform – to pursue other things, too.
I even found someone who was as crazy for dance as me, Surya Raju! We are co-workers but also friends. Together, we started choreographing for team events, in addition to our regular work. It wasn’t easy to fit it all in, but it was fun. Here I was, teaching dance, and bonding with so many other employees across many teams. Plus, people liked learning from us. IT was a win-win.
Because so many people told us they enjoyed dancing, we started our very own Cisco dance club! People started enrolling, and pretty soon we’d gone from 10 dancers to 100! Together, we do flash mobs for fun, dance workshops and events for different business units. Then, we took our dance to YouTube! We have our own channel – Dance Basanti (go check it out! 😀 ) More and more people reach out to us to work with their teams on dance.
It’s not always easy, but it is always fun. My career is super important to me, and I want to make sure I’m living up to Cisco’s expectations. My managers are the best – they are understanding about how important dance is to me, and they always encourage and support me. (In fact, we’ve even taught THEM some of our dance moves 😉 )
I’ve realized that at Cisco, the company realizes that you’re a person first, and supports each of us. It helps us, but it helps Cisco. The company gets the best of us because they let us be our best selves.
Plus, Cisco holds events to help us be the best and inspire us. For me the best day in Cisco was when I met Lauren Gottlieb (She’s a very famous dance artist, and I’ve idolized her dancing skills.) When we launched the Network Intuitive in the Enterprise Networking Group, she was there. I just didn’t get the opportunity to meet her and talk to her, but also got to dance with her (even if only for a few seconds, but it counts!) That would’ve never happened had I not been a part of this terrific new technology launch – of a network that learns, adapts and anticipates the next steps. The technology itself is a bit like a dance.
There’s a song called “I Hope You Dance.” That is my hope for you. I hope you dance when the music comes on, like no one is watching (maybe even using some dance moves I’ve taught!) I hope you dance through your career working on big things like the Network Intuitive.
Follow your passions at Cisco. I did!
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