Cisco Blogs

Collaborating thanks to my dog

May 22, 2012 - 8 Comments

The friend who inspired me to embrace social media does not follow me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.  She follows me around the house.

When I was 25 years-old, I had an amazing job as a marketing project manager.  I traveled to new cities and countries to meet with global team mates, partners, and clients.  True, most of my time in those exotic locales was spent in conference rooms, but we eventually got the chance to go out for lunch or dinner, to marvel at the natural beauty of Rio de Janeiro or Boulder. The best part of each business trip was coming home to my husband.  Sometimes I would meet him in a city far from home, where he had traveled for business.  These were the early days of our marriage, when we spent many days apart, staying in touch via email and trying to manage our hotel and mobile phone bills wisely.

It has been said many times that the inside of a conference room looks pretty much the same anywhere in the world.  I got tired of business travel.  I also became increasingly broody.  Although I wasn’t ready for the responsibility that comes with a human baby, I was ready for the next logical step: getting a dog.  This would mean changing my work routine to remove business travel.  It also made me realize that my hour-long commute would keep me away from my puppy, to whom I had made a life-long commitment.  As much as I loved my job, I had to find something closer to home.

Working Mom

It’s thanks to my dog that I quit a perfectly good job, and found another just 5 miles away from my house.  That’s when I became a Marketing consultant at Cisco.  Since then I have participated in many exciting projects in localization, collaboration, and sales enablement.  My first day on the job, I was happily surprised to discover that all Cisco buildings had Wi-Fi.  Eight years later, I’m also grateful for Cisco technology that has allowed me to work from home, so that I could keep close watch over my puppy and the human baby that eventually followed.

In 2004, I made a decision to find a new way to work so I could have greater work-life balance.  Also in 2004, a Harvard undergrad launched a website with the goal to connect everyone in the world.  These are two good examples of choosing to use technology to achieve a better human experience.  Social Media isn’t a new concept, it’s a collection of new tools to help us stay in touch with our best friends.  Cisco collaboration tools have made it possible for me to work from home.  I have a family, a career, and friends all over the world.  I thank my dog for that.

What tools do you use to stay social?  Who is your inspiration for collaboration?

Follow Silvia Spiva @silviakspiva

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. I look forward to reading your blog, Melissa! Please come back and share the link with us.

  2. You have inspired me to utilize social media more in my life. I have all the obligatory sites (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) but I don’t utilize them to “achieve a better human experience”. I’m even going to look in to how to start a blog! I’ve been lazy with my social media sites and you’ve helped me realize that I can get so much more out of them, in both my professional and personal life! Thank you for writing this and enjoy your canine and human babies!

  3. I am actually feeling this way now. I have a nine month old son, and I find it harder and harder to leave him with such a demanding job. Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. Thanks for sharing this blog! It’s what I feel very passionate about… virtual working. My favorite tool of course to use is WebEx. It’s easy to schedule with the Outlook integration, easy to use with the various options and you can see who’s talking.
    This blog truly shows the #humansideoftech and what it can really do for our families, health and overall productivity. Companies can save so much money by not having knowledge workers commute into an office building. The savings come from not only the real estate cost elimination but also from workers not getting sick from the commutting and office air. Also, workers are more productive, give more hours when working from home, and are less stressed so the quality of their work is improved. Even the time that it takes to assemble into a meeting room is saved because everyone is meeting at their desks. No more let me run back to my desk and then send thousands of copies to the printer for everyone to see. Which brings me to my next point working virtually is healthy not only for humans but for our planet. No more carbon emission from commuting. And… I don’t print anymore. I’m also eating in my own kitchen with no need for plastic zip lock bags or paper bags to carry my lunch in. I could go on and on about how virtual working helps everyone but I think you get the picture.
    Kindest Regards,

    • Faith, I agree with all your points, especially regarding the health of workers and the environment. I use WebEx every day. My favorite feature is being able to share my desktop with other meeting participants, to make edits to files or webpages in real time.

  5. I worked for Occidental Chemical Company for many years before going into private practice as a consulting agronomist (Plant and Soil Science).
    During that time, I did short projects for several companies that took me to Australia, Canada, England, Honduras, Mexico and Morocco as well as many in the U.S. Those were the days before social media, and email was just getting started! Where were they when I really could have used ’em?

    • Thank you for sharing your story with us, Uncle Carl, and for being a fun octogenarian Facebook friend.