This year’s Cisco Live was like no other.  There was so much excitement as we flew into Las Vegas.  The momentum prior to Cisco Live (US) is always present with the anticipation of partners, customers and Cisco teams coming together for one large event.  However, this year was different with The Network. Intuitive. launch.  Since June, when we launched the New Era of Networking to our Partners, we have been moving at an incredibly fast pace.  It takes a team, like the Architecture, Engineering and SSI team to bring their super powers together to create such a momentous launch and successful event like Cisco Live.

The event started with Inspirational speakers on Sunday at the Connected Women’s Event.  Each year this event gets bigger and better.  We heard how to LEAD and not let FEAR stop us from reaching our goals. We heard from Tania Katan, CEO of Creative Trespassing, and Carey Lohrenz, First female Tomcat Fighter in the US Navy as well as other dynamic Cisco leaders.  Together, we all committed to big milestones in FY18.

The first ever Partner Days at Cisco Live was kicked off with Wendy Bahr’s keynote about market disruption and new opportunities for Cisco, partners and customers.  Her message? We should all be having these 4 customer conversations: 1) Engagement 2) How to optimize the workforce 3) Infrastructure and 4) Managing risk and operations.  Mike Koons, our global systems engineering leader, delivered a key message on tech transitions during this time when we are constantly being asked to do more with less.

I was even able to hear about the value of partnership with Cisco and the new Partner Days program when I conducted my first FaceBook Live interview with a couple of our great partners. It was a lot of fun – check it out!

The World of Solutions is the center of Cisco Live. This is where innovation, partnership and inspiration come together amongst partners, customers and Cisco engineers.  My team had some great one on one meetings, made new partnerships, and experienced demos. These discussions have set the stage for what should be a great Cisco FY18.

As always, the Keynotes did not disappoint.  Surprise guest Tim Cook, Apple CEO, joined the stage with Chuck Robbins to share the tighter Apple Partnership.


As I said, it truly takes a team of Super Heroes to pull off a Cisco Live event in Las Vegas.  It is the synergy of our customers, partners and Cisco teams coming together that makes it innovative and unique.

I’m looking forward to the start of FY18 and the success we will drive by riding the momentum of Cisco Live.


Shelly Blackburn

Sr. Director, Engineering & Architectures, Americas Partner Organization