Avatar

Louis Ceaser IV began his journey at Cisco ten years ago. As a Black leader in tech, Louis continuously evolves by challenging himself to try new roles, applying his signature passion for spotlighting the stories of customers and partners while building relationships.

Currently as a customer advocacy manager, Ceaser IV combines his sales experience and commitment to highlighting Black-owned partners to tell impactful customer stories. Louis has also leveraged Cisco’s offerings to contribute to the issues he cares most about as a son and as a father. If you also value growth, innovation and creativity, visit our open positions.

The transformational power of conversation and impactful storytelling

What first brought you to Cisco?

Louis Ceaser IV: When I was a junior at San Jose State University, I volunteered at one of our business clubs on campus. We hosted a tech summit for students who were looking at internship opportunities, and Cisco was one of the gold sponsors of the event.

“He talked about how the culture and environment cultivated him as a leader and how connected he was to the mission of Cisco being the backbone of all internet activity and connectivity.”
– Louis Ceaser IV

Guillermo Diaz, who was the vice president of IT at the time and is now the CEO of Conectado, spoke about his experience being a person of color working at Cisco. He talked about how the culture and environment cultivated him as a leader and how connected he was to the mission of Cisco being the backbone of all internet activity and connectivity. I really resonated with that. He had this phrase, “ROI equals ROE (Return on investment equals return on equity).” Return on investment is all about people. You receive equity by being intentional about investing in people.

So, I raised my hand and became super involved in asking him questions. I brought my resume and we connected and built up a friendship. That’s how I got my first internship opportunity at Cisco, working in the IT department as a business analyst.

By the time I graduated, I actually got two full-time offers from Cisco. One was as a business analyst and the other, which I chose, was entrance into our Cisco Sales Associate Program (CSAP), which is world renowned as sales training academies go.

Currently as a customer advocacy manager, what are your goals?

Louis Ceaser IV: Advocacy is like ice cream. There are many different flavors to what advocacy means. What gets me super excited is when a customer agrees to collaborate on a video or written case study. In these assets, we feature the customer as the hero of the story.

“At the end of the day, I ultimately want our customer to win just as much as we win.”
– Louis Ceaser IV

We tell business transformation and human transformation stories and share why the customers chose Cisco as their security partner in their journey. Not only does the customer get an asset that they can repurpose and tell their stories to their own customers, but the Cisco account managers get an asset to win deals.

What I really love about this role is you can truly focus on building relationships with our customers. My pipeline is defined by quality versus quantity. As we build these relationships, we get to know the customers’ hobbies and personal interests. At the end of the day, I ultimately want our customer to win just as much as we win.

What advice do you have for people who want to get into customer advocacy and tech, especially folks whose identities might be underrepresented in these fields?

Louis Ceaser IV: I was raised by my parents to be an intrapreneur.  So that means that no matter where you are within any organization, you always treat your role as you’re a manager. So, how can I use my platform for good? Cisco has an initiative where we’re empowering Black-owned partners with investment dollars to help them be able to sell more Cisco and be able to navigate being a small, medium-sized company against larger value-added resellers.

“Each and every one of us has that opportunity to give back, which is so very powerful. It speaks to the culture and why people are here as long as they’re here.”
– Louis Ceaser IV

So, I’m looking to feed two birds with one piece of bread where I’m Black, I’m American, I’m a Cisco Advocacy Manager. So how can I work with a Black-owned Cisco partner who may be doing some business in security? How can I highlight their customers? How can I highlight the amazing things that they’re doing and how they’re connecting with the Cisco account managers, and tell their story in a way they’ve never told it before because they’ve never had that spotlight and opportunity?

That volunteerism opportunity resonates throughout the entire Cisco culture. Each and every one of us has that opportunity to give back, which is so very powerful. It speaks to the culture and why people are here as long as they’re here.

“People in my position, being a person of color, we have a story of resiliency, of differentiation, of history, complex history.”
– Louis Ceaser IV

People in my position, being a person of color, we have a story of resiliency, of differentiation, of history, complex history. This goes back to my college interviewing days, being able to speak about your unique value and what you’re bringing to the table.

We all have different stories, we all have different adversities. But I think people want to understand, how did you navigate through that adversity? What’s the outcome from that? How do you plan to change and make a positive impact on the world? The more that you can concretely put that together and tell that story confidently, that’s how you build your personal brand in tech. Ultimately, that’s how you make a good brand internally within an organization.

A decade in and still inspired by Cisco’s mission and building what’s next

What do you like most about working at Cisco? What has kept you engaged for 10 years?

Louis Ceaser IV: The thing I love best about working at Cisco is that the mission hasn’t changed. Ever since the company was started, the mission was to connect one person to another. I feel so strongly for this whole mission of connectivity and providing the avenues for people to connect globally, especially during COVID.

“The thing I love best about working at Cisco is that the mission hasn’t changed. Ever since the company was started, the mission was to connect one person to another.”
– Louis Ceaser IV

We as human beings want to be social. We want to connect with one another and we need to have a sense of purpose. In order to do that, we need to be able to see one another and communicate with each other — so what we do is very, very important. That’s what drove me to be here at Cisco within security within advocacy work. There are so many great use cases of how our technology is truly impacting human beings and making a transformative impact in our community.

“There are so many great use cases of how our technology is truly impacting human beings and making a transformative impact in our community.”
– Louis Ceaser IV

Cultivating community through innovation and invitation

How did you create Black Dads of the Bay?

Louis Ceaser IV: In 2019, my daughter Stephanie was born. Stephanie was my mother’s first name, so we named her after my late mom, in honor of her. My son, Louis V was born in 2021. They are both lights in my world.

I always wanted to become a father and was the first father in my friendship circle to have kids. So, I looked to my left, looked to my right and didn’t see anybody of my age. So, I created Black Dads of the Bay as a meetup organization.

“If you truly believe in something, just go create it and people will be attracted to that.”
– Louis Ceaser IV

Our first meetup was the last day of Black History Month in February 2020. We ended up getting 120 dads and their kids to come out for that Saturday event. There was just a bunch of dads and their family members coming out and connecting and playing on the playground, really enjoying the day and building community.

That was a light bulb moment for me. You don’t need to have everything figured out soup to nuts. You just need to take that proactive step in faith. If you truly believe in something, just go create it and people will be attracted to that.

Obviously, we haven’t been able to get together during the pandemic, but I use things like WebEx to do virtual storytime readings for our kids on Saturdays. That’s something that a lot of dads look forward to, because most of the events out there are focused on the whole family or the moms out there. Dads need that avenue, too, to be able to break bread and talk about difficult things that they’re going through and really build community.

What other initiatives are you passionate about?

Louis Ceaser IV: Just personally, I lost my mom to ovarian cancer a few years ago. Of course, that’s very challenging. But at the end of the day, it’s like, how can I repurpose some of this pain by pouring into others?

That led me to an organization called Bay Area Cancer Connections, a healthcare organization that works locally in the Bay Area. They have different services to help people who have been diagnosed with cancer, including giving resources and education on the process.

“It makes me proud to say that one tragedy leads to hopefully impacting a lot more lives in a positive way.”
– Louis Ceaser IV

I sat on the board for about a year or two. I worked with Cisco’s Community Relations Team, and we sponsored a few of their fundraiser events. It makes me proud to say that one tragedy leads to impacting a lot more lives in a positive way.

If you’re also passionate about connection, storytelling and innovation, check out our open roles.


We’d love to hear what you think. Ask a Question, Comment Below, and Stay Connected with Cisco Secure on social!

Cisco Secure Social Channels

Instagram
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn