I began my Cisco journey as a contract employee, working as a Global Field Escalation Specialist. In just 9 months, however, I was able to use Cisco’s incredible resources to catapult my career and land a full-time role in Data Analytics.
How did I “level up”? These three resources put me on the path for success:
1. Network, Network, Network, and Connect!
With the help of Cisco collaboration tools such as WebEx, Team Space, and the Cisco employee communities page, I was able to strategically introduce myself, and promote my skills and abilities to others in the company. My first introduction was to Pam River who is our Director of Business Operations for Global TAC-Planning & Ops. Pam and I met over breakfast to discuss career paths and my background. Her transparency inspired me to continue to reach out and build bridges without limitations as she encouraged me to be open about all possible career opportunities rather than sticking to one niche. The great thing about the people at Cisco is that everyone truly wants you to succeed and loves helping you to achieve your goals.
2. Utilize Cisco’s Employee Resource Organization (ERO)
My previous work with smaller companies limited my exposure to our ERO’s. I must admit, I was a little overwhelmed (yet equally excited) by the vastness of opportunities these resources provided. I learned of various events such as, The Connected Black Professionals (CBP) Gala which raises money annually to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities. I also thoroughly enjoyed being apart of The Women of Impact Event this year as the theme taught attendees how to recognize bias in the workplace. I truly believe that ERO’s set a stable foundation for visibility and presence in one’s workplace community and enhance Cisco’s greatest asset – diversity!
Community is the genesis of Cisco’s work culture and seeing other employees’ avid participation in giving back encouraged my passion for doing the same through organizations like Black Girls Code, Dress for Success, and New Hires/ Interns Laptop Setup. With these initiatives, I became empowered to show representation and inspire a new generation. This was just another step along the bridge to a bigger picture as I expanded my network.
So, how did all these resources connect to land me my full-time position?
Being a member of the CBP ERO allowed me access to job opportunities via TeamSpace. This collaboration tool made it possible for me to apply for a job listing posted by a fellow colleague, Akeem Shirley. It was like manifest destiny as this job aligned perfectly with my skillset and goals. Akeem and I built a rapport over the span of a few days, and he really took the time to get to know my strengths and abilities whilst I learned more about the position. I was highly encouraged by the desire of the hiring manager to promote diversity amongst her team.
Through my gained expertise with the help of volunteering, networking, and utilizing the Cisco’s ERO networks and being inspired by Pam to promote myself and focus on my personal branding – the stars aligned, and I was offered a position on my new team!
One of the things I believe was truly a game changer for me was Pam’s advice to create an infographic to serve as a visual representation of my accomplishments and experience. This really helped to seal the deal as it was a quick, easily digestible piece of content for recruiters and hiring managers to view and get to know me and my talents.
I am now Crystal Wright – full-time Cisco Project Specialist within the Data Analytics team and I love where I work! It is thrilling to come to work every day at Cisco where I can truly be my authentic self, and be an active representation of how we’re building a bridge to possible at Cisco.
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