I’d be willing to bet the first thing that popped into many of your heads is to go somewhere new or exotic. You’d be able to experience something life-changing and reflect on the past 25 years – all while continuing to grow and learn about one another. For Cisco and Dimension Data’s anniversary, that’s exactly what we did.

Cisco and Dimension Data have reached 25 years of partnership, and we wanted to celebrate this milestone by doing something even bigger than either of our companies. We, too, wanted to go somewhere new and experience something life-changing, so we decided to do just that – 25 times. I’m not talking about an extended vacation. Our partnership evolved from business partners to partners in service and we set out to complete 25 service projects together, one for each year of our partnership. We served local communities across five continents and made an immediate and lasting impact. You can see all 25 of them in this new eBook.

The projects and communities were diverse and focused on education, healthcare, fighting hunger, homelessness, and much more. One of the projects I’m most passionate about took place in East Africa, where we were able to help educate girls in a remote village. Building Minds In South Sudan (BMISS) is headquartered in New York and has worked to support gender equality at a school they founded in the South Sudan. We jointly funded one of the BMISS founder’s travels to the region and provided them with essential school supplies and backpacks for girls in the same school that local community members spent two years making bricks to build.

One of the reasons Cisco and Dimension Data have such a strong, trusted partnership is because of the character of our people. These selfless projects reflect the passions and shared priorities of the individuals that make up our organizations. I feel honored to have been a part of this effort and I’m extremely proud to say that we positively impacted lives all over the world, and were left positively impacted by the powerful stories we heard and wonderful people we encountered.

This is one of my favorite times of year at Cisco because September is our Global Service Month, a timeframe to empower employees to pursue their passions for giving back. For Cisco employees, visit our Jive page to learn how you can create or lead a volunteer event, or become a virtual volunteer. For everyone else, I hope the 25th Anniversary eBook featuring our service projects with Dimension Data inspires you.  If you have a story of what you or a colleague has done recently to make a difference, I’d love to hear about it in the comments or on Twitter (@MichChiantera).

Dimension Data, we really are “Better Together.” Thank you for 25 great years of partnership and cheers to 25 more!