The Impossible is Possible at Cisco: Realizing My Mom’s Dreams for Me

June 18, 2018 - 18 Comments

After working as an editor at an online business magazine, I was immediately drawn to the powerful, heartfelt stories on Life at Cisco. I’ve always wanted to know what it was like to be an employee sharing their amazing work, volunteering efforts, and smiley team photos on this blog. Today I’m thrilled to have my chance.

When I was a little girl, my mom had me read the Los Angeles Times to her on the drive to school. Global news, local headlines, and emotional articles about our beloved Lakers and Dodgers. She always told me I’d be a writer someday.

She also taught me why sustainability and civic duty mattered. She taught me to be fearless. She taught me to never take my vote for granted. She taught me to be a model citizen of the world.

Earlier in my career, I wrote articles about companies like Cisco. Not just business news, but what it was like to work for global leaders who tried to be model corporate citizens, too.

At that time, if you told me I’d be a marketing copywriter for Cisco, I would have politely laughed and wrote it off as impossible — even though this wasn’t a word my mother believed in as she came to the U.S. when she was a toddler from Europe. Along with her big brother and my grandparents, the notion of anything being impossible was always vetoed.

But then, the impossible-to-imagine happened. Seven years ago, I received the worst phone call of my life. Just after Mother’s Day, my mom was killed by a wrong-way drunk driver. At that time we spoke nearly every day, and I still vividly remember the joy in her voice during our last phone call.

I was never the same person after that, but what emerged in my heart was a truth: I am here to fulfill both her dreams and my destiny.

Now, here I am. Fulfilling my mom’s dreams for me and the destiny she’d have chosen for me at Cisco. The road getting here may not have been the easiest, but along the way — these moments stood out to me and let me know it’s the right path to be on.

1.Why Cisco? To realize my dreams in the beginning, I made a list of the top companies to work for and the most sustainable companies in the world. Cisco climbed the ranks of my handwritten list of contenders, but it was another inspiring statistic that drove me to sign up for job notifications and apply: 38 percent of Cisco’s senior executives are women, compared with 21 percent for ACWI (All Country World Index) companies.

2.Collaborative Culture. It’s been less than a year since I joined the customer messaging team behind Cisco Webex Teams and Cisco Webex Meetings. We’ve made an incredible impact on the future of teamwork and creating engaging content for all sorts of customers. Sharing the vast capabilities of Webex Teams and Webex Meetings with our customers and partners helps remote workers, like me, to thrive in the digital age. And I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive, familial work team to join.

3. Giving Back.
As a Cisconian, I’ve had the chance to volunteer at Second Harvest Food Bank,assist the Food Bank of Santa Barbara over my holiday break, and was encouraged to donate to incredible organizations to support global communities effected by wildfires, earthquakes, and hurricanes. I knew my money (and time) could make a real difference—every donation was matched by Cisco which only goes to reinforce their dedication to giving back.

I’m also working towards getting FEMA-certified so I can eventually assist the Cisco TacOps Disaster Incident Response Team. Their work to establish secure communications during the most destructive disasters across the world is one of the top reasons why I fell in love with the idea of working for Cisco.

4.The Colleague Connection. I’ve met incredible colleagues through helping to organize Women of Impact 2018 and leading Foundation of the World’s 2018 PACT program’s marketing and communication efforts. Believe me, I nearly leapt out of my skin with joy when I learned that I was selected to join the mighty PACT team of volunteers in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in May.

We facilitated a four-day workshop for nearly 150 students and young entrepreneurs to learn cutting-edge technical skills and connect with local tech industry experts. I met brilliant students I never would have otherwise known and our tenacious, kind-hearted volunteer team became an extended family to me as well.

Few other moments in my life have defined the level of my ambitions. As a Cisco employee, I’ve never been more passionate about diversity and inclusion in the workforce, nor more grateful for the opportunities, resources, and support at my fingertips.

5.Remote Life. It may seem small, but my ability to work remotely has allowed me to significantly cut my carbon footprint.

My closest friends and family know, it’s a real big deal when I get behind the wheel to see them.  I live simply. My time is spent doing things I love and self-care. I can now focus on bigger and better goals. (Mainly, becoming a more effective marketer, taking more time to get outdoors…and eventually fostering a dog.)

As cheesy as this may seem, I know my time at Cisco is making an impact on my community and the world. From giving back to helping our environment – I’ve never felt closer to realizing my mom’s dreams for me. Here, the possibilities are endless.


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  1. Inspiring post!

    Added a link to LinkedIn.


  2. Tyler, So wonderful to see this article. I so enjoyed us being partners in the Cisco Mindset training. I know we both felt that training reflected personal beliefs around authenticity, slowing down rather than speeding up, focusing on what is "really" important, etc. Let's connect again soon! Beth

    • Thanks so much for the kind words, Beth. I carry that course with me everywhere (often advocating for my colleagues to take it) and am so thankful we were partners!

  3. Thanks for sharing your story, Tyler!

  4. Tyler, your mother would be so proud to see the talented, caring, passionate person you have become. Good luck with your career and reaching your goals. Keep looking up because she is smiling down.

  5. What a beautiful story Tyler…well done for your resilience and the motto to live simply. May life shine and bless you and your work…

  6. An amazing story, and an amazing family. Many of the reasons WeAreCisco! Thank you for sharing Tyler!

  7. Amazing story – and no cheese at all, but rather the new 'real deal'. Thank you for sharing!

    • I'm so thrilled that you took the time to read this, Patricia. Thank you for the kind words. I am so proud of the work we did together and grateful to collaborate on such a fantastic TEDxAmerica'sFinestCity!

  8. It's beautiful how much you care about realizing your mom's dreams for you, as well as your own dreams. As a mom, I teared up reading it.

    How do you get FEMA certified? I'd also love to help with disaster response. One of the main reasons I love working at Cisco is because of our CSR efforts.

    Thanks for writing this, it was inspirational.

    • Hey Anne, I'm going through the certifications with the TacOps DIRT team. They have a handy guide on Jive, I'll send you the link on Cisco Teams right now!

  9. Wonderful article. It's incredible how the passing of a loved one changes our perspective on life. I can see how your's changed as well. Thank you for your personal stories! I've shared with others 🙂