Sten giving thumbs up with mask on At 27-years-old, I joined Cisco as a Commercial Sales Associate in Montreal and loving my experience as an employee of this technology juggernaut. Imagine my surprise then, when I was offered another role at another manufacturer – and my peers and management at Cisco encouraged me to go for it! 

They all said things like, That’s a great company! “and “This is a great move for you and I’m confident you’re going to do great!” It perhaps shouldn’t have been a surprise – Cisco has always encouraged me to be the best version of myself and routinely pushed me out of my comfort zone. 

With that in mind, I accepted the role and left Cisco. And my peers were right, it was a great move for me until 2020 took me down an unexpected path, where I would up furloughed without a plan. 

Rather than panic, I started to think about what I love to do and who I might want to do that work for in the future. Knowing I wanted to be involved with people, I started thinking about how I might find something that allows me to do that. Before that idea was fully baked, I gave a call to one of my old Commercial Sales Associate pals at Cisco – Jess Murphy who had moved into a role on Cisco’s Customer Experience team 

After sharing with her where I was currently in my career journey, she mentioned that her team was looking for someone to cover Western Canada. Intrigued, I asked who happened to cover Eastern Canada at the time. Jess responded, “I do. But it’s a little challenging at times as I don’t speak French.” I threw out an idea –I’m bilingual! Would you ever consider covering the West and maybe I could interview for the East?” 

This one conversation and idea would be the catalyst to the next chapter in my career.  

A couple of days later I had three interviews set up all in the same day – and was filled with anxiety. Interviews are always a bit nerve wracking – this time, my recent furlough was still a fresh wound. I was delighted to find out, however, that the furlough didn’t matter to Cisco. What mattered was me Sten working at desk

My interviewers all wanted to know why I wanted the job, why I thought I would be a good fit, what would I bring to the table as an individual and as a teammate? The conversations went much deeper than typical interview questions because at Cisco, you’re not just a number. You matter, and you’re cared for – right from the start. 

After I accepted the offer – Cisco’s warmth continued. My boss sent me a text message, “Hey, I needed to act fast for your laptop so I’m having it shipped to my house. Once it’s delivered, I’ll drive it to you.” What an awesome gesture! In an environment where we likely won’t be going back to the office anytime soon, this also gave me the opportunity to meet my boss face to face and exchange a couple of words. 

I am so excited to return to the Cisco ranks and have this opportunity to shine in a role and company that encourages positivity and to be someone that makes everybody feel like somebody. 


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Sten-Erik Gruman

Success Programs Manager

Customer Experience