The Empowering Partner Success blog series highlights the African American Cisco Partner Community (AACPC), supporting channel partners, and individuals positively impacting partner diversity and the communities they serve.


Celebrating Women’s History Month recently inspired us to kick off the first installment in this series by featuring three African American Cisco Partner Community (AACPC) members that are women-led. Cisco committed $50 million to the AACPC to diversify our partner ecosystem as part of its commitment to social justice.

Technology Group Solutions, KeepWOL, and Turia Technology are Cisco partners that provide a wide range of technology solutions and services—and each has a female founder/CEO at the helm.


Technology Group Solutions: Full Service Consulting and Giving Back to Communities

Technology Group Solutions—better known as TGS—is a Cisco Integrator Partner. A full-service IT consulting firm, TGS manages all aspects of a client’s IT environment, including data centers, software, security platforms, and end-user devices.

When CEO Lenora Payne founded the company in 2005, she committed to a customer-centric, holistic approach that centers on integrity, honesty, and dependability. It’s a way of doing business that aligns to Cisco’s purpose, to power an inclusive future for all.

TGS’s growth has been fueled in part by their work with Cisco. TGS was an early member of the African American Cisco Partner Community.

As a result of TGS’s relationship with Cisco, TGS has been able to expand their business into reselling, logistics, shipping, and customer experience. They have also strengthened their role in their customers’ supplier diversity programs with major companies ranging from financial services to consumer-packaged goods to retail.

While growing their business, TGS also always seeks to give back to their communities. One of the ways they have done that is through their philanthropic SHIPs program. SHIPs empowers students through six programs focused on partnership, mentorship, scholarship, internship, apprenticeship, and leadership.

Since TGS first became a Cisco partner, the company has grown tremendously. In the early years, Payne could only dream of reaching $1 million in annual revenues. Since then, they’ve seen that number of $100 million and the company boasts an impressive roster of customers, including being the Official Information Technology provider for the National Football League’s Kansas City Chiefs franchise.

KeepWOL: Fostering Connections and Improving Team Performance

As a Cisco Developer Partner, KeepWOL took its team effectiveness platform and turned it into a Webex integration designed to enhance communication and collaboration for virtual teams.

KeepWOL—short for Keep Wondering Out Loud—is an AI-powered platform that addresses the pervasive challenges of collaboration and communication in today’s business landscape.

While working as an engineering and technology development people leader, Lauren Fitzpatrick Shanks wanted to efficiently get to know the people on the teams she led. So, she built a tool to help people connect, listen, and learn. She gamified the approach, making it simple and entertaining. It was a way to break down walls and jumpstart meaningful relationships—and that led directly to her teams shipping products faster than others.

She turned her solution into something all teams can use and founded KeepWOL, where she serves as CEO.

Now, customers can use KeepWOL directly from Webex. By integrating KeepWOL into video conferences, teams enjoy more collaborative virtual meetings that increase human connectivity among globally dispersed teams.

“In a world where 86% of workplace failures stem from ineffective communication and collaboration, KeepWOL ensures that every employee’s voice is heard and understood. At the same time, it tracks key performance indicators across six critical areas, enabling a continuous data stream for decision-makers.” – Lauren Fitzpatrick Shanks, CEO of KeepWOL

That’s a powerful tool for companies to integrate into the video meeting platform their employees use every day.

Partnering with Cisco made sense for KeepWOL. First, because KeepWOL’s approach to communication and collaboration is designed to become a natural part of an employee’s regular workflow. With Webex becoming an increasingly integral part of employees’ workdays, an integration maximizes the effectiveness of both Webex and KeepWOL. Second, because KeepWOL’s mission is to create a world built on a foundation of always seeking to understand instead of a world built on assumptions and judgments. That strongly aligns to Cisco’s Conscious Culture where our purpose is to power an inclusive future for all.

The proof of their approach is in not only the growth of their customer base, but also the results KeepWOL delivers. At one multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company, for example, team engagement improved by 49% and job satisfaction went up 20%. That resulted in a 20% increase in retention likelihood, which is saving the company nearly $200,000 in hiring costs per team. It’s no surprise, that 94% of users recommend KeepWOL.

Turia Technology: Innovating at the Intersection of Technology and Sustainability

As a Cisco Integrator Partner with an Environmental Sustainability Specialization, Turia Technology helps public and private sector customers navigate the intricacies of cloud migration while significantly reducing their carbon footprints through eco-friendly practices.

“We deliver scalable, secure, user-friendly cloud solutions that boost operational performance and optimize digital infrastructure while leveraging Cisco’s technologies and expertise. Partnering with Cisco positions us to provide cutting-edge solutions aligned with social impact goals.” – Binta Kindle, Co-Founder and CEO of Turia Technology

There are plenty of companies offering to help customers with cloud migrations, but Turia takes their services to the next level with eco-friendly practices, including energy-efficient hardware, virtualization, and cloud computing.

Like Cisco, Turia believes that running a business doesn’t have to be at odds with caring for and contributing to our communities and our planet. Their solutions both contribute to environmental conservation and result in cost savings for their clients. Turia’s commitment to leaving a positive environmental legacy for future generations aligns strongly with Cisco’s purpose to power an inclusive future for all.

Partnerships Powering an Inclusive Future for All

Payne, Shanks, and Kindle each saw a need and an opportunity and founded a technology company based on that vision. By partnering with Cisco, they have been able to accelerate their companies’ growth while also making the world a better place for companies, employees, their communities, and the world.

Learn more and connect with our Cisco partners here


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Andrico Spates

Senior Manager

Global Partner Sales