Living My One True Life at Cisco
My husband David and I are six months into our lives as U.S. expats living in London, and while it wasn’t easy – it’s been a road paved with moments that have highlighted what an incredible company Cisco is to work for.
There were 14 months of career conversations with multiple Cisco leaders and many roller coaster twists and turns. But even when the rollercoaster seemed like a runaway ride, I stuck with it, made sure my seatbelt was fastened…and now, here we are.
Two major events in my life set this dream in motion.
In March 2002, I sat at my father’s bedside, and in February 2017 I did the same with my mother, as they each took their last breath. Each time I asked myself, “What will you do next?”.
At age 37, it took my father’s death for me to realize that we only get this one life, and I had better get to living it. It was during this time that I made some very big career and personal decisions that started me on a wonderful ten-year adventure – and that eventually led me to my life at Cisco. I started as a Contractor in 2012.
After my mother’s passing, the 20 year dream David and I had to live overseas kicked into high gear. I was born in Omaha, Nebraska and raised in Pleasant Valley, Iowa. It never crossed my mind that I would live in San Francisco for 27 years, and then move to London.
Trust The Process.
What I’ve found over the years of gradually giving myself the freedom to have “Why not?” conversations – is that amazing opporutnities are often found in the answers.
All of this has not been easy, so don’t let that fool you. Everyone has different thresholds for risk, adventure, and inspiration. In my case, as the number of birthday candles increased each year and the hair got grayer, the more comfortable I became with the uncertainty of each “Why not?” decision.
Over the 14 months that led to our move, David and I often repeated the mantra “trust the process”. We knew we couldn’t let every speed bump or fork in the road derail our goal. We nearly had our bags packed for Singapore.
And even during the finalization of paperwork and visa details – just three words made it all easier, “trust the process”.
You often hear how wonderful our Cisco Leadership is, and what you hear is true. We would not be in London today if it weren’t for three leaders in particular. My manager and mentor, Jennifer Hewlette walked me through each step as she had studied abroad and worked her first 10 years in Europe. She fully understood and supported my desire to work abroad.
Michelle Chiantera, my Senior Leader at the time, encouraged me to have as many conversations with as many Cisco leaders as possible. Not only that, but Michelle is someone who supports moving Cisco talent to other organizations for the good of the person and the good of Cisco. You’ll often find this theme throughout Cisco in that we see the “big picture” – teams don’t selfishly hold onto talent here.
And, finally, Sven Jirgal, my new leader, has lived in many countries with many jobs throughout his career. Sven immediately embraced my desire to move outside the U.S. and chose London as our port of call.
With that, David and I packed our bags. “Why not?”
We’ve only been in London for six months and already people want to know “What’s next?” I say with extreme confidence and enormous joy, “I don’t know…” 😊
I have only visited 24 of 194 countries. I have only met thousands of the 7.6 billion people on this planet. I don’t know what country I will visit next. I don’t know who I will meet tomorrow. I don’t know what opportunity will present itself next week, next month, or next year.
Cisco is amazing and I am proud every day to work here. When CEO Chuck Robbins takes a public stand to fight homelessness, empowers our Corporate Social Responsibility to positively impact 1 Billion people around the globe, and stands up for the rights of his employees, regardless of politics, I know I am working at a very special place.
And I am so proud that Cisco has encouraged me to chase my dreams – wherever they take me next. I will leave you with some advice, though, and – I think it’s advice you can take with you wherever you travel:
1.Saying “Hi” to someone new each day unlocks unknown possibilities. “Hello” is such a powerful word – use it!
2.Material possessions really don’t matter (except maybe a good kitchen knife) – It’s amazing when we pack up and move how trivial most of the items we have in our day to day life become. David and I have found so much more joy in the experiences that life brings us, rather than the stuff – packing just 3 bags each for our move across the pond. But, like I said, a good kitchen knife is still required. 😊
3.I am the only one with the power to “make it a good day” – You have a choice to choose every morning. You can make it a good day, or…not. I hope you choose to make it a great one!
4.And to whatever your adventure awaits, “trust the process”. Trust yourself, your supporters, and your sponsors. People want to help you – they absolutely want you to succeed!
Sometimes all you have to do is ask for a little bit of help along the way.
Want to join a company that encourages you to life your dreams? We’re hiring. Apply now.