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Anna and Paul walking across a bridge/ This post was co-authored by Anna and Paul Burke.

One of Cisco employee’s favorite hashtags might be #LoveWhereYouWork, but in our story, #LoveWhoYouWorkWith, is a close second!

Being a part of the Cisco Sales Associates Program (CSAP), we had high expectations: we, of course, expected to learn a lot, to make life-long friends, and to jumpstart our careers. What we didn’t necessarily expect to find was the person that we wanted to share the rest of our lives with.

Spoiler alert: that’s exactly what we found.

We met a week before CSAP started when a few of us got together at Boxcar, one of our favorite spots in Raleigh, to try and get to know each other before work began. There was an immediate connection, but we tried to play it cool. Afterall, we would be seeing each other at work every day for the next two years. But, as you can probably now guess, spending all that time together only ended up solidifying the connection – and we were married in March of 2021 surrounded by family and friends, many of whom we met at Cisco!

I remember being so nervous about the potential of dating a co-worker so early on in my career, but looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. Going through such an exciting, and at times, demanding program, it was incredible to always have somebody who understood what the other was going through. Plus, one of us being on the sales (ASR) side of the program and one on the technical (ASE) side, we got a front row seat to how the other half of our team operated and learned to appreciate the amount of work that goes into each role. I genuinely think we are both better at our jobs because of it.

The sentiment remains the same now that we are both field sellers. When work gets busy, or we run into a challenging situation, it is nice to know that the other can understand and empathize what we are going through. When Paul has to jump on a Technical Assistance Center (TAC) case until 2am or I have to take a call from a customer on the weekend – we respect it, because we would want our teammates to put customers first in that exact same way. Not to mention, it doesn’t hurt to have an Account Manager or Systems Engineer around the house to ask the questions to when those situations do arise!

We constantly learn from each other and push each other to grow in new ways that help us better support our customers, partners and teammates. It’s fun to cheer each other on as we work on big projects, and it is really special to be able to look back and see how much we have grown in just four short years.

Anna and Paul at their wedding, holding up a Cisco sign. We attribute so much of that development to our leaders over the years that have supported us in taking on new and exciting opportunities, trusting that we are up for the challenge. While many other companies might overlook the value of someone that is early in their career, we are grateful that both of our leadership teams at Cisco see emerging talent as an asset.

As I’m an Account Manager on the NC Public Sector Team with a sole focus on education accounts, and Paul being a Systems Engineer on the Carolinas Enterprise Team supporting large healthcare customers in the area – we see the impact we have together. Whether it be enabling hybrid learning for students or helping hospitals ensure that patients are getting the best care possible – every day, we get to go to work and help tackle real problems with Cisco technology that provides value to our local community.

Of course, there are times that we have to put up a “no work-talk at the dinner table” boundary, but it is a small price to pay for the overlap our careers and lives now share. Early on in our relationship, we were told by a close co-worker that he could tell we “connected on a human level” and we try to bring that same energy into what we do at Cisco. Besides, keeping the world connected is kind of what we do here.

Overall, it is truly amazing to live life with someone who shares your pride and love of where you work. Although, for us, loving who you work with has us constantly grateful that Cisco brought us together, too.

 

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