We all have birthdays – but not all birthdays are celebrated the Cisco way.

One of the perks of being a Cisco employee is that the company recognizes that your birthday is an important day for you.

So to help you celebrate, Cisco employees get to take a day off for their birthday to have a party, spend time with family or take a vacation. It’s an annual holiday to celebrate you!

Additionally, some Cisco teams take birthdays very seriously. It’s a moment for some birthday fun with colleagues. This is the story of my friend Emma’s birthday.

I first met Emma through the IT Buddy program within Cisco IT. This program exists to help new college graduates transition from college life to corporate life while building a sense of community.

Early in career employees, or those within five years of their career journey, are paired with the new hires to help them during the transition and serve as a resource as they begin their path. The guidelines are minimal so the level of engagement is up to the buddy to decide. As time progressed, we jokingly referred to each other as ‘big’ and ‘little’ to mirror the Greek systems found at universities. In doing so, this led to a stronger mentorship bond. I found myself acknowledging both professional and personal milestones. After getting to know Emma better, I realized one of her annual traditions was a big celebration with friends for her birthday.

Emma's birthday decorations
Emma Liu’s birthday in 2015 (left) and 2016 (right).

At our office at the Cisco Systems Headquarters in San Jose, we have started a small tradition of our own. Whenever one of our colleagues has an upcoming birthday we will arrive after normal working hours to decorate their desks.

Emma was one of the first to experience this surprise. In fact, her first year she had 3 separate groups decorate her desk throughout the course of the eve of her birthday! Fortunately, we all chose to go with pink as the color to be used.

Clearly, we like to have a little fun around here, but we also do some serious work. But the good thing is, that’s fun too!

I am just celebrating my third #Ciscoversary and Emma just passed her second #Ciscoversary! (We commemorate those, too!) Currently, I am as Business Systems Analyst and part of the Cisco Commerce Acquisition Integration team where I am the lead Project Manager for Meraki driving product integration onto our commerce platform enabling global orders and distribution. This is a great role because it is an important driver for Cisco’s revenue growth and has added an exciting line of products to our existing product portfolio.

Emma is a Business Systems Analyst on the Business Operations and Strategy team in Cisco Commerce. She is a project manager and has worked with teams on creating a tool to streamline and automate the Balanced Scorecard collection process in Commerce. One of her other projects is a tool used to track and report key financial information for quarterly financial reports.

As you can see, early in our careers we have been able to make a big impact across the company.

Emma with her IT Buddies

Over time, our buddy ‘family’ has grown with Emma becoming a mentor to other new hires and interns. The birthday tradition continues and celebrating accomplishments is one of the many ways we engage one another. Transitioning from college life to a professional career can be a challenge but with the help of the IT Buddy program there’s never been a more exciting time to launch your career at Cisco!

Want to join our IT group, or find a role that’s a match for your? Check out our openings. 




Richard Bartmess

Acquisition Integration Project Manager

Cisco Commerce