What It Means to be a Woman of Influence

April 16, 2015 - 12 Comments

It was a wonderful honor to be named to Silicon Valley Business Journal 100 Women of Influence just over a week ago; one that will help greatly with accelerating my initiatives for cloud safety—not just for business, but also for us all.

And for the honor, I owe much thanks to many incredible mentors who have believed in me and for the immense opportunities they have provided me.

Somehow, in the wonderful write-up, the reference to Monique Morrow, my amazing manager, whose mentorship I have been extremely lucky to have for close to a year now, was omitted. While I am working to get that corrected, it is only fitting that I should also pay tribute to Monique here, too. Monique has impressive achievements that range from being an inventor to the recipient of many prestigious industry leadership awards to working tirelessly to advancing women in the workforce. You can read more at http://blogs.cisco.com/diversity/women-of-impacts-2015-fearless-female-monique-morrow.

However, what I admire most about Monique is her zest for life, her love of people and the tenacity to do what she loves most. It’s these endearing and important qualities that embody most what it means to be a Woman of Influence to me. The digital revolution and an increasingly busier workplace have led to more grandiose expectations of the way our lives should be and what success might look like. As I get the opportunity to meet with young women in schools and university over the coming year, my message will be:

  1. Do what you love and focus on making a positive impact to someone else’s life. You don’t have to have a massive following on Twitter or Facebook or be a speaker at conference events. In fact, I would argue that those who are not necessarily focused on building up a huge digital following probably have far more impactful lives.
  2. Be kind and generous with your own self-rating. In a recent, passing conversation with a recruiter, who was determined to find a female candidate for a CTO role, she asked me how I would rate my skillset based on the position description. I told her I had 3 out of the 5 skills— that was the response she received from most of the women she spoke to but most of the men claimed they had all 5 skills. She said most men give themselves greater credit for their skills than women do their own.
  3. Don’t kill yourself trying to do everything. Leading a balanced life in which family and recreational interests are a priority is so important.

I believe that there has never been a better time for women to succeed in industry than now. There are so many programs and initiatives dedicated to fostering women in technology. I so look forward to seeing what the next generation of women has in store for our industry.

In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.


  1. Congratulations Evelyn on both your recognition and for a great article, thanks for sharing

  2. thankyou so much

  3. Thank you Evelyn for such an inspiring message with 3 very actionable gold nuggets!

  4. Thank you for such an inspiring message with 3 very actionable gold nuggets!

  5. Well written Evelyn. Congratulations on your honor. I had the privilege of meeting Monica this week and in a few short minutes, I already felt empowered to take my career to the next level. I hope to learn to be as inspiring and helpful to others as I progress in my career. I think that your points about doing what you love, contributing and not trying to do it all are key to being able to do this. Thank you.

  6. Congratulations, Evelyn! Great insights. I am sure that your enthusiasm and passion mirrors what Monique values and promotes. What an amazing environment to work in, to have this freedom to dream big and make it happen! This is the kind of positive momentum we need to spread across our company!

  7. Congrats again Evelyn! Having had the pleasure of knowing you personally and professionally for many years, it’s really great to see this well-deserved recognition.

    Your tips for young women are spot on. Valuable takeaways for us all!

    All the best,

    • Hi Veronica,
      Thank you so much for your kind comments. And, I feel so very lucky to have had the opportunity to work and also learn from you. I so hope our paths cross professionally sometime soon again.


  8. Well written! I am one of the people who was fortunate enough to be managed by Monique and mentored by her and a couple of her hand-picked other mentors during the early days of my career in networking. I have been grateful forever.

    Thank you and best regards