This is typically the time of year when we take time to reflect, and looking back, 2023 has been a wonderful year of fulfillment and purpose for me, specifically in my role leading Partnering for Purpose. A global Cisco initiative, Partnering for Purpose works to align our commitment to an inclusive future across our business relationships. It is designed to make it easier for our partners, customers, and suppliers around the world to collaborate with Cisco to accelerate and amplify our collective positive impact in our communities.

While the Partnering for Purpose initiative was formalized in 2022, the truth is that we’ve been doing this sort of work for years, and this initiative serves to define a simplified framework. Much like our Cisco Validate Designs (CVDs), it provides a blueprint with tested and documented approaches to help jumpstart purpose-driven social and environmental actions.

Progress and Successes

In our first year, Partnering for Purpose has grown into a movement that is expanding to our channel partners globally. In fact, they are keenly engaging, sharing their stories, their innovations, and best practices to amplify and grow our purpose work together.

I have had the privilege to see first-hand our Cisco teams and our partners innovate and create, in order to drive positive change.

Here are just a few examples and highlights from the past year:

  • Reimagining the Next Generation of Cyber Warriors: Best practice sharing at Cisco Live US with our partner ePlus to highlight how our shared purpose is helping to chart a path for young girls to stick with STEM subjects. Read more: GRIT – Girls Re-Imagining Tomorrow, creating the next generation of Cyber Warriors
  • Connecting Certifications to Purpose: In 2023, Cisco Black Belt Academy launched “Black Belt Certification for a Reason,” a one-of-a-kind campaign that addresses business goals and aligns to the essence of giving back to society. In Vietnam, an innovative crowd funding model helped the remote Aur Lang village. Read more: Cisco “Black Belt for a Reason” shows how small contributions make a big impact
  • Environmental Sustainability Certification for a Sustained Future: Cisco and distributor Ingram Micro united to launch the first Cisco Partnering for Purpose Initiative in Australia where participants could earn Black Belt Sustainability Certifications and give back to the community. Read more: Embracing Sustainability: Embark on the Journey to a More Sustainable Future!
  • A Week of Community Impact/Giveback: In June we embarked on a week of giveback activities with our partner community across the US, Canada and LATAM. Engaging over 100 partner employees and over 300 Cisco employees we recorded more than 1300 volunteer hours for a variety of worthy causes, organizations, and endeavors.
  • Cisco and Orange Business Team’s Green Day: Account teams from Cisco, ThousandEyes, and Orange Business collaborated to put on a day of learning and knowledge exchange on addressing climate change and environmental stewardship and exploring how technology and their combined expertise could help their customers achieve their social and environmental sustainability goals. Read more: Building a greener tomorrow: the power of partnerships
  • Global Partner Innovation Challenge: Honoring the investments partners are already making, and to drive a bigger impact and address what matters to them and our collective customers, we incorporated a Partnering for Purpose category into the 2023 Partner Innovation Challenge. The results were amazing. Read more: 6th Annual Partner Innovation Challenge: Remarkable Growth, Outstanding Winners

Aspirations and next steps

2023 has, by all accounts, been a successful first year for Partnering for Purpose, and we will continue to be both strategic and aspirational in the coming year. Taking best practices and integrating them into the work our partners and customers are already doing, we will continue to drive engagement and find new ways to grow. We will capture and share more of your stories, continue to grow the Partnering for Purpose aspect of the Partner Innovation Challenge, and show up in other new and exciting ways.

Learn more about Partnering for Purpose and how you can get involved:

Visit the Partnering for Purpose SalesConnect

Read our stories and Partnering for Purpose blogs



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Joy Aboim

Senior Community Impact Leader

People Policy and Purpose Org