Since childhood, birthdays are somethings I have always looked forward to. As far back as I can remember, my mother would fill the day with so much fun and I would always eagerly anticipate the next one, just as the one I was enjoying ended. (Even Cisco agrees – birthdays are a big deal and deserve celebrating – we get our birthday off each year to do just that!)Mitali cutting the cake at her first birthday with the help of a family member.

Cakes were, of course, a very important part of the day too – and I think this is where my love of baking came from. It was something my parents and I both enjoyed doing, and back home in India, they had a big oven that looked like a spaceship! Delicious cakes came from that oven, and just a few ounces of the batter were spared for me to taste.

It is what sparked me to renew my passion of baking while living in California. At first, it was simply a way for me to make eggless cakes for my husband who doesn’t eat eggs – but the more I baked, the more I got involved with decorating and exploring new ways to enjoy my hobby. This is when I learned of an organization called Cake4Kids.

Cake4Kids makes the birthday cake dreams of disadvantaged youth come true. Some of these children are in foster care, group homes, homeless shelters, or transitional and low-income housing – but they all, of course, deserve a birthday cake to celebrate!

As I read and learned more about Cake4Kids, I saw a quote from one of the children, “I can’t believe someone took the time out of their day to make something just for me…I feel so incredibly special, and I don’t often feel that way!”

That, for me, was it. I knew this was a way for me to combine my passion of baking, while also volunteering and giving back! I became associated with Cake4Kids as a baker and started making cakes or cupcakes to help the children celebrate. I was also always very careful to pay special attention to their flavor or design requests – these were, after all, dreams coming true!

What made this experience ever sweeter was when I saw that Cake4Kids was on Cisco’s Bright Funds and that they would donate $10 for every hour I volunteered to the organization! I typically bake my treats at night after work and deliver them the next morning to the children – having Cisco’s support means the world to me. It is truly one of the best parts of working with Cisco because they support so many wonderful organizations that the employees are passionate about. And it shows that we can make a difference by contributing in small ways.

A red superhero cake with yellow writing that says 'Happy Birthday Amaree" and a lightning bolt in the center.

They seem small, but for some – these are the moments that matter most.

Just before blowing out the candles on his birthday cake, a mom asked her son what his wish was. His answer was so beautiful, “I wish that the person who made this cake for me gets everything that they want in life.”

Giving back is such a beautiful thing to be able to do to make our world a better place. Knowing that the company you work for supports and encourages you to do so by way of matching donations, donating $10 for every hour volunteered, and even providing 5 days every year for employees to give back to the organizations we love most (separate from our regular PTO) – it shows you what a giving, caring company Cisco really is.

There are many reasons I love working at Cisco, but knowing it is a company with heart makes it one of the best places to work at in the world.

Want to join a company that cares? We’re hiring. Apply now.


Mitali Bhadra

Data Center Customer Delivery, CX