Carmen and MomMy mom says that being a mom is the hardest job you’ll ever have. But it’s also rewarding when you see your “baby” all grown up and making their way in the world.

Now that I look back (and forward) at my career, I can see the impact my mom had on my professional life. She was a fourth-grade teacher, and was able to impart her wisdom on many a young mind. However, for me, the advice that she never really said out loud, but showed time and time again, is that

  1. Hard work will get you a long way, but it won’t be worth anything if you don’t make time for family.

It’s the advice I give when I mentor today. You won’t look back at your life when you’re 90 and wish you would have worked those extra hours, or had your cell phone on more. It’ll be that you wish you would’ve had more time with the ones you love.

For Mother’s Day, I wondered if my colleagues had any career advice from their moms. Turns out, our “Cisco moms” are super smart.

  1. The world is not black and white and everyone has their own experiences in life that shape who they are and how they view the world. Embrace your unique experiences to approach life obstacles from a different perspective.

“Here at Cisco, our team faces many ambiguous situations where there’s never a simple black or white type of response. When that happens, we come together as a team to flex our creative brains, our experiences, and different perspectives to come up with out of the box solutions.” – Ray Leung, HR Representative.

  1. Always be true to yourself and never shy away from a challenge — Life is full of them and without them we would not have any fun in our lives.”

My grandmother had a huge hand in my upbringing,”says Rehana Rehman, Business Operations Manager. “She was a feisty and fearless woman who worked tirelessly to support and love her 6 kids, 15 grandkids and 13 great-grandkids . She wrote this in my high school graduation card and I have used it as my daily affirmation ever since.”

  1. “I would have to say that my mom’s best work advice to me was to always be a person of integrity no matter what,” says McKinsey Shepherd, Talent Acquisition Coordinator.

McKinsey & Mom
“Mom always taught me that the most important quality in a person was their word – and in those words, truth, and commitment not just to themselves, but to those around them, as well as to the success and vitality of the business – because that level of dedication speaks volumes. Not only the quantity, but most importantly the quality of the work you perform should speak for you.”

  1. “Be you.”

“My mom is a homemaker and the best things she did for me and my sister was never to make us feel that we should be the ones learning to cook, clean, do laundry ….. along with our studies and sports,” says Satya Sharma, Software Engineering Development Manager. “She let me be me. She never complained once about ALL THE WORK she does at home and for the home – be it making food for 10+ people without any notice when they just show up or being up the whole night when I was sick and going nonstop without sleep making sure we all have what we need. Not sure how she did it but her patience, dedication, unconditional love for us is something I aspire to have be at home or work!”

  1. When you have a passion for happiness, and your family’s happiness, it’s not hard to love life.

Justin and Mom
“My mom always worked 50-60 hour weeks, and still spent nights and weekends taking care of my sister and I and volunteering for our school or church,” says Justin Riray, Marketing Specialist. “I don’t even know how to not be motivated, because she led such a great example for me, all my life. My mom is THE BEST!”

  1. “To take a deep breath while thinking about how to respond to a tough question, instead of trying to fill the silence.”

“The best career advice I ever got from my mom was received when I was preparing to interview with Cisco,” says Kali Pike, HR Representative. “She shared a funny example of how it’s important to watch out for nervous habits while you’re interviewing.

She learned this the hard way when she was interviewing for her first job out of college. For each interview question she started her answer with ‘Well to be honest…’ Eventually the interviewer cut her off and said ‘I want you to always be honest!’’

She didn’t get the job. It was a lesson that will stick with me. It also taught me that you should always be honest!

  1. “Be flexible.”

Silvia and her mom
“If you have a family, there are days when you will have to drop everything to be by their side, whether it’s a sick pet, an injured kid, or a teenager that needs to talk to you right now,” says Silvia Spiva, Technical Writer. “Don’t think about your job, instead design a career in an industry that values you, and sees you as a whole person. And be there! Those childhood days go by in a flash.”

  1. There are two things that are true in this life, tomorrow will be another day and you will always keep moving forward so long as you try your best.”

Javier's mom
“When I was a senior in college getting ready for the real world, I was completely stressed out if I was going to succeed,” says Marketing Project Specialist Javier Tirado-Montero. “Would I be able to handle living on my own? Will I be able to work well with my team? Can I learn how to cook for myself?

“The week before I was set to walk across that stage, I called my mom to ask her for advice on how to cope with this stress. Ironically, this was a piece of advice my mom always told me since I was a little kid (I should have probably listened to her more), but this time, the timing was perfect. This is something I took with me after I graduated and well into my career. No mistake is ever too great so long as you keep trying your best. Thanks Mom!”

10. “Be authentic, treat everyone with respect, and to help others in every way we could”

When we think of our mom’s career journey the first thing that comes to mind is how she led by example.” say the Daniel sisters. Jina is a Program Manager for Services Operations and Janine is a Program Manager for Business Operations.

Jina and Janine with Mom

“As a leader herself in the government law enforcement sector she showed us what authentic leadership is all about by helping others every chance she had. She instilled in us that with hard work and passion, we could achieve even our wildest dreams. Never putting limits on us, she always made us feel like we could achieve anything we put our mind to. With her own career starting at the young age of 13, she showed us that working hard will enable you to achieve your dreams. She is now a person we wish to be lik e- someone who is respected by multiple government elected officials along with everyone she worked with.” 


Does your mom want you to have a great job? Apply at Cisco!


Carmen Shirkey Collins

Social Media Manager

Talent Brand and Enablement Team, HR