Looking back on the past two decades, I can clearly divide my professional experience into two phases: 10 years pre-Cisco and, the decade I’m currently in, all things Cisco.
Before Cisco, I worked at five different companies, with my longest stretch being three years spent at Oracle. My experiences at these companies made me conclude that three years would be about the longest I could be at a company before getting restless and moving on to a new one. I had both my kids in those days and it was challenging to balance work and home; yet whenever I felt I was getting too comfortable in a role and there was nothing new to learn – I felt strongly that it was time to head out on new adventures.
I’ve been at Cisco for 11 years now. YES! I know what I just said about three years, but Cisco still has me feeling like a new student that’s eagerly anticipating what I will learn tomorrow, and whom I will get to learn with!
I have spent most of the last 11 years in IT, taking on various roles, learning different domains, and working with some of the finest minds at Cisco. There has never been a dull moment – new dots to connect and new puzzles to complete at every turn! Both the work and the people that I get to work alongside fuel my desire for continued growth and knowledge every day.
The multiple teams that I’ve been part of within IT have disrupted our industry in ways I had never dreamed of or experienced previously. IT had a reputation in the past of being slow and expensive. We turned that around by moving the conversations away from budgets and cumbersome engagement models to problem-solving and delivering value. We let the engineers and analysts focus on understanding the business, finding creative solutions to problems, and coding, while a handful of program/project managers acted as a buffer against the organizational noise, ironed out the budgets, and devised simple engagement models for scale – constantly testing them for value and revising them as needed.
It has not only been a satisfying ride, but a fun-filled one too.
Now I am stepping out of IT to take on a strategic role in the business model evolution that Cisco is currently undergoing. The role is a bit ambiguous and my personal success is uncertain, but there is one thing that I am certain of – I will continue to work with and learn from the best and have fun while doing so. I am very grateful to so many people at Cisco for being strong role models for me, giving me numerous opportunities, and keeping the student in me alive and kicking.
It has been their mentorship and support that has encouraged me to take this new leap, and embrace new adventures that I know I am ready for!
For those of you wondering if you can truly stay in one company for a long time and continue to learn and grow – I whole-heartedly say YES! And I hope you’ll be joining us at Cisco soon 🙂
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