Co-authored by Andrico Spates
Sr. Manager, Global Partner Routes to Market and Sales


We know that when we diversify our thoughts, ideas, and innovations the result will be better. When we apply this concept to the workplace regarding who we hire and where we hire from, we will experience greater success. This is a core belief at Cisco; diversification means greater success. It drives us at Cisco and is inherent in our core values.

Reducing the Gap between Talent and Work

Cisco is taking definable action to connect our ecosystem of partners with our purpose to power an inclusive future for all. Recently, we did that by participating in the Black is Tech Conference 2022 (BIT Conference) to engage and connect black professionals with open job within Cisco and throughout our partner community.

One key goal for sponsoring the BIT Conference in Atlanta, GA was to highlight brilliant black professionals who are seeking opportunities to our partner community. Our African American Cisco Partner Community (AACPC) is also interested in building up their workforce, and this provided us an opportunity to feature them. Through the partnership of multiple teams, we showcased Cisco and our partners at the five-day conference. Attending both the virtual and in-person booths, as well as participating in a career advice session, and hosting an after-hours event, allowed us to demonstrate why Cisco and our partners are top-rated employers .

We connected our different audiences together through Cisco’s Talent Bridge Matching Engine . This free platform brings together our Cisco partners and diverse candidates around employment opportunities. Event attendees were tagged as part of the conference, a new feature on the platform, making it even more convenient for recruiters to conduct outreach to event attendees.

As we look to bridge the diversity divide in technology, it’s only natural that we steer our channel partners to the Matching Engine.  We know from surveys that partners are interested in diversifying their employee base. The engine houses individuals from various backgrounds and designations. Whether they are from HBCU’s, refugee communities, Cisco Networking Academies, or other engaged communities, they are all together on the platform – accessing jobs from our partners.

Leading in Channel Diversity

Cisco has multiple dedicated resources and teams working on our Social Actions. One facet is the Social Justice Action 10 – African American Cisco Partner Community (AACPC) team. This team is focused on growing this community of partners and having an impact on diversifying the talent pool across the entire Cisco channel. Our partners have indicated their struggle in finding diverse, skilled talent that is local and willing to work. We were able to successfully connect our partners during this BIT conference with qualified individuals through the Talent Bridge program.

We are integrating multiple Cisco actions from our Social Justice initiatives by bringing candidates and employers together on the Matching Engine platform. This helps showcase Cisco’s inclusion and diversity policies and aligns these policies with our partners to demonstrate the positive impact on our collective organizations. One of our key focuses in Action 10 is influencing the industry as a leader in channel diversity. And, as a leader, getting our competitors and our peers to take note, take action, and effect change in bringing the diversity divide.

Meeting the Candidates Where They Are

We were able to positively influence and guide young professionals by engaging them at the conference in-person. The key message we shared during the career advice session was how it is important to be intentional versus opportunistic in building relationships regarding career growth. Throughout the five-day conference, the 30 Cisco representatives had countless one-on-one conversations both virtually and in-person with attendees to convey advice, offer encouragement, and answer questions.

One common trend was that candidates didn’t know where to look for jobs in the tech sector. They had varied backgrounds and experiences across an array of studies and jobs.  We felt incredibly prepared to meet them where their needs were. We knew our Matching Engine could help simplify their search. We could take their skills, education, and location and match them with the job requirements set forth by Cisco and our partners using the platform.

Coming Together, For One Purpose

Picture courtesy of EPN Media

Our Cisco teams have diverse goals, but we have underlying common ground united under our purpose, to power an inclusive future for all. Multiple teams came together to plan and execute our vision at the Black is Tech Conference 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. Each team highlighted different facets of Cisco’s purpose and ensured we had a well-rounded presence that resonated with our audiences, both the candidates and our partners. These are the four teams:

  • Cisco Talent Bridge
  • Social Justice Action 10 – African American Cisco Partner Community (AACPC)
  • 3P Employer Brand and Events
  • Global Partner Marketing

When helping partners grow, we recognize they need access to talent that can grow with them. The value exchange between this talent and our partners drives value for Cisco as well. Bringing talent closer together in one place for Cisco and our entire Channel ecosystem executes on our purpose to power an inclusive future for all.


Learn more about Cisco Talent Bridge

Learn more about AACPC


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Trent Dorroh

Head of Talent Bridge Program

People & Communities