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Carpe Diem – Seize the day! Inspiration from May’s Everyday Heroes of CEWN

Rima

Guest Blog and Interview by Anuja Singh 

Anuja Singh

Welcome to our monthly CEWN segment about role models. We all make resolutions and set goals to improve ourselves– but somewhere along the way, life interrupts our plans, we find ourselves juggling different priorities and invariably things get dropped. What you will find in this segment is inspiration from ordinary people who have achieved extraordinary results. Everyone featured in this series has faced challenges and opportunities that the rest of us can identify with; let’s draw inspiration from the choices they made and aspire to the outcomes they created.

Amy Arnold

Amy Arnold – Amy’s twitter Avatar describes her as a Read More »

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#RedefineCommunity with Cisco Empowered Women’s Network Social Media Contest

Carissa LadaGuest Blog written by Carissa Lada, Customer Support Engineer

Here at Cisco, it’s easy to understand the importance of technology. We can connect with people around the world, do our jobs more efficiently, and create innovative solutions that have never been seen before. Technology also gives us the ability to change the world in unprecedented ways.   The best part is that we know there are incredible people out in our community making a difference and embodying Cisco’s mission to change the way people learn, work, live, and play.

At Cisco Live in San Diego this June, we want to highlight the impact people are having in their communities. Our theme for the Cisco Empowered Women’s Network (CEWN) event is to ReDEFINE Tomorrow, Today. One facet of this campaign is to showcase the ways Read More »

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Carpe diem – Seize the day! Inspiration from everyday heroes of CEWN


CEWN Header

Anuja SinghGuest Blog and Interview by Anuja Singh

Welcome to our monthly Cisco Empowered Women’s Network (CEWN) segment about role models. We all make resolutions and set goals to improve ourselves– but somewhere along the way, life interrupts our plans, we find ourselves juggling different priorities and invariably things get dropped. In this segment, you’ll find inspiration from ordinary people who have achieved extraordinary results. Everyone featured in this series has faced challenges and opportunities that the rest of us can identify with; let’s draw inspiration from the choices they made and aspire to the outcomes they created.

Rima Alameddine

Rima leads the New York Enterprise Sales business for Cisco, which consists of large Fortune 500 companies in the NY Metro area. Rima brings a wealth of diverse experiences to the business having worked in Read More »

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Everyday Heroes of Cisco Empowered Women’s Network: Sharon Sputz

This article was written by Anuja Singh.

cewn

Carpe diem – Seize the day! Inspiration from everyday heroes of Cisco Empowered Women’s Network

Welcome to our second edition of  Cisco Empowered Women’s Network (CiscoEWN) Everyday Heroes. We all make resolutions and set goals to improve ourselves– but somewhere along the way, life interrupts our plans, we find ourselves juggling different priorities and invariably things get dropped. What you will find in this segment is inspiration from ordinary people who have achieved extraordinary results. Everyone featured in this series has faced challenges and opportunities that the rest of us can identify with; let’s draw inspiration from the choices they made and aspire to the outcomes they created.

We are honored to feature this month Sharon Sputz!

sharon

Sharon has combined experience in business strategy and technical research and after reinventing herself many times through her career; she now is doing some fascinating work in Data Sciences at Columbia University. Find out more about Sharon here.

CiscoEWN: You have held various positions in your career, but technology has been a common theme; how old were you when you discovered your passion for the field?

Sharon: I was always fond of Math and Science. When I was in middle school, I wanted to ensure that I went into 8th grade in the highest honors math track. Unfortunately, I did not do well in the placement test and was told that I couldn’t join that track. My parents knew how much it meant to me and spoke to the school to let me take the test again – but I still didn’t do well. I could have given up but I was so driven that my parents and I got the school to agree (at my own risk) to let me sit in the class. My math teacher was a formidable lady who ended up believing in my persistence – her faith in me made me strive harder and I ended up going to college for medicine.

 

Cisco EWN: Medicine? Did I miss that in your bio?
Sharon: We all choose a path but sometimes things change – how we accept those changes and make what we can out of them determines our tenacity and character. I lost my way a little in freshman year of a pre-med program – there were some health issues, some peer pressure issues and I ended up thinking that I wasn’t good enough to continue down the medical path. But thankfully, I had a very strong foundation from high school and I was doing very well in the physics courses I was taking. I am grateful again to have professors who cared enough to call if one didn’t show up for class and I thrived in the rigor of Quantum physics. That’s when I knew that I loved physics and research and would rather pursue that field. That decision gave me the foundation for how life turned out.

 

 

CiscoEWN: What would you write in a letter to your younger self?

Sharon: Life is a journey, it’s not about getting from point A to point B. Have patience and don’t rush. You can make each day more fulfilling by increasing the balance in your life. When we are young we tend to think that we are entitled to success – but only hard work and persistence enable us to remove each rock from our way. Success doesn’t come instantly so don’t give up.

 

CiscoEWN: You spent 13 years in Bell labs as a research scientist with world-renowned physicists; produced revolutionary patents; went to school at night to get your Masters; and had two children. How did you do it?

Sharon: (Laughing) I don’t really know. I just did what needed to be done and looking back I don’t really know where the energy came from. Those were also challenging years because there were hardly any women or minorities working in research but I never felt conscious and never let that impact me. Instead I saw tremendous opportunity and worked hard and didn’t let the difficult environment stand in my way. Juggling everything was hard and I am fortunate I had my family, husband, community of working women and friends who supported each other and me.

 

CiscoEWN: And then, when you were at the top of your game, you quit and joined Lucent in a marketing job. Did you have any marketing skills?

Sharon: No, and I didn’t think about it either. It was a huge change but I was joining a field (Telecom) that was booming and would make me grow in ways that I couldn’t have grown had I kept doing only research. I also got a confidence boost when I saw that if you were willing to work hard and learn and problem solve then people are willing to take their chances on you and train you. I rolled up my sleeves, read a lot, learned from mentors on the job and because it was a technical marketing job, I was able to leverage my scientific training and differentiate myself.

“Life is a journey. Celebrate each moment. Don’t be in a rush to get from Point A to Point B.”

-Sharon Sputz

 

CiscoEWN: Since then, you have taken the risk of reinventing yourself twice more – first as a defense contractor working on DOD projects, and now at Columbia University as an educator. Do you have any self-doubt as you set about proving yourself anew each time?

Sharon: Everyday – I think about how I can do my job better, how can I push myself harder? I wouldn’t call it self-doubt, but I always question if I am doing all I can. And when I am given the opportunity to reinvent myself, I am so grateful that someone took a chance on me, gave me the chance to learn and grow, that I work harder to live up to their faith in me.

I was 51 when Columbia University approached me; my first reaction was to decline the opportunity. But education and my teachers have had such a huge impact on my life, I felt this was my opportunity to impact other people and give back. While I have never felt that being a woman has held me back, I enjoy the opportunity to enable other women coming into an academic environment and encourage them to pursue any opportunity without impediments.

 

CiscoEWN: Leave us with your favorite Carpe diem statement.

Sharon: Life doesn’t always go the way you think it’s going to go. While it’s important to persist and believe in yourself and go after your dreams, it’s also ok for those dreams to change. Celebrate each dream and make the most out of it.

 

Thank you Sharon!

 

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Women of Impact’s 2015 Fearless Female: Sabrina Lin

Roxanne EdwardsGuest blog and interview written by Roxanne Edwards

At the Women of Impact Conference this year on March 19th, our focus is to empower attendees to Be Fearless – by taking risks, overcoming obstacles and blazing new trails in their personal and professional lives. The Conference focus is to connect, develop and inspire the women in technology at Cisco.

Meet Sabrina Lin, Vice President Commercial Sales, from the Greater China region who is another one of our featured Fearless Females for the Women of Impact conference.

Sabrina Lin was born in Hong Kong and was raised in a very traditional family. At a young age, her female cousin, an MIT graduate, who took over the family textile business when her father became ill, inspired Sabrina. Without a male heir, she stepped in, implemented many changes to save the company money, and the business has prospered. It’s key to note that in a traditional Asian family, females are often not considered eligible to hold high positions with the business.

Many cultures are bound by tradition. Read More »

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