When someone uses the word “pageant” – your brain probably goes first to images of big hair and ball gowns. The last thing that you think of is “techie.”
But let me change your perceptions!
I work for Cisco as a Business Analyst, and I’m a proud techie, as well as the current Miss Silicon Valley. On July 1st, I compete for the title of Miss California, in the Miss America Organization. The Miss America Organization is the number one provider of scholarships for girls around the world. What makes this competition so unique is the talent portion of the competition. At Miss California, I am playing “The Greatest” by Sia as a reminder to everyone that is listening, to never give up on your dreams and passions.
I am a proud woman in tech, and participate in the Women in Science and Engineering employee resource organization (ERO). However, being crowned Miss Silicon Valley opened new opportunities for me to empower more women to raise their voice, whether it’s in technology or in life.
I even started using the word “Crownmunity!” It’s a community that I have built to champion equality, collaboration, and disrupting the perception that these competitions are not just about outter beauty, but inner beauty and self-confidence! Every woman wears an invisible crown as they follow their passions.
Here’s the great thing about being a Cisconian. My management supports me to wear my crown and make my mark, while still doing great work for my company. There are two slogans at Cisco that inspire me in pursuing my platform.
The first, is “There’s never been a better time to …” The slogan in Cisco terms encourages everyone at the company to waste no time in innovating, making a change in the world and do it NOW! When would it ever be convenient or easy? I want to lead by example, and be a role model to young girls. I am even the Director of the Miss CEO Ambassador program, to work with girls 12-18 to develop their leadership skills and look early towards their futures – perhaps to even be the next Cisconians! I want to show them that anything is possible by working hard and staying dedicated to rise up to the challenge.
The other is “Be you, with us. #WeAreCisco” I’ve been able to be an employee ambassador to the world about working at Cisco, and even our new Careers site has this front and center. Growing up, I was never able to categorize myself into one of the pre-defined boxes society tries to put us in. When I went to college, (University of California, Davis) I didn’t stick to one box, either. I majored in Management Economics, but I minored in Education, with an emphasis in Computer Science. I can work now for the Business Strategy-Global Infrastructure IT team and STILL pursue my passions. Cisco allows us to truly bring our uniqueness to work. And when you work with other unique skillsets, you can direct big change.
It’s not a “Cisco” life at Cisco and a “Sabina” life outside of work. I can also combine them! I am also part of the Early Career Leadership Team in San Jose, CA, where we provide resources and networking events for new hires to help them navigate the corporate structure. I am part of various Connected Women programs to help with mentorship and professional development. My day to day work at Cisco consists of fiscal year planning for our organization and making sure priorities align with our organization and the broader of IT. Through understanding the strategic process and mindset within Cisco, I have been able to apply these skills to everyday situations.
Every day when I walk out of the Cisco doors, I serve as a role model of millions of girls around the world who aspire to disrupt social perceptions and create change. I invite each and every one of you reading this article to start raising your voice and leading by example. You can achieve this by doing something you’re proud of, finding a mentor, and lending a helping hand.
Help me be your next Miss California by voting at https://www.misscalifornia.org/vote/ by June 30th!
To watch the state finals via live stream or TV, visit https://www.misscalifornia.org/live/
Interested in learning more? Visit www.sabinachaudhuri.com or follow me on social media!
Want to work for a company that encourages you to be yourself? We’re hiring!