Pujita wearing a graduation cap and gown.

I have grown and changed quite a bit through my life and career, but Cisco? It is the one thing that has remained a constant for me, especially over the past ten years.

My path to Cisco began with my father, who relentlessly motivated me every single day of my teenage years to become an engineer, which I am immensely grateful for. He would come home from work, and together, we read about the inspirational career journeys of successful and hard-working people who made names for themselves. This pushed me to pursue an Engineering Degree in Information Technology. I wanted to fulfill the dreams he saw for me.

For my younger, college-going self, Cisco was a bright shining star, and I wanted to be a part of it. Imagine how lucky I felt when I landed an internship, followed by a job within Cisco in Bangalore.

My first job was within Cisco CX. It allowed me to learn the best-of-breed security products like firewalls, network access control, intrusion prevention, VPN, and more. Working there, I learnt about customer sentiments, priorities, complex network designs, and deployments aligned to business needs and outcomes. Moreover, Cisco supported my move to RTP in the zeal to learn something new after the Sourcefire acquisition. After several years in CX, the skills I built helped me move to the Sales organization selling the security portfolio across different segments and verticals.

Even while changing roles throughout the company, I could still dedicate the time and energy I needed to achieve various learning milestones thanks to Cisco’s commitment to continued learning and professional growth. I earned my master’s degree in Cybersecurity from Carnegie Mellon University, my CCIE in Security, and various other Cisco and industry certifications. Over the years, several training and leadership development programs helped me identify and develop skills, confidence, and beliefs to become an authentic and empathetic leader. I even took my passion for security to the Cisco Women in Cybersecurity Inclusive Community (Employee Resource Group/Organization), leading the Retain pillar and greatly expanding my network.

My network grew more as Co-President for the Women of Cisco Carolinas, a 1200+ member Inclusive Community. Working alongside inspiring and motivated women helps me see so many different perspectives and is very fulfilling as it made me understand the true meaning of inclusion and collaboration. Through this platform, we organize executive shadowing, the Women of Impact program, inspirational speaker sessions showing Cisco employees how to take charge of their lives and careers, professional development, education outreach with high school students, community involvement through various donation drives, food and diaper banks, and so much more. The company’s strong culture of giving back has given me many leadership opportunities where I can selflessly attach myself to causes that make a difference in the community inside and outside of Cisco. It has taught me to be humble.

Pujita with her husband and two children. And in my personal life, coffee was not the only thing that brewed at the Cisco coffee house … love did, too! I found my soulmate at Cisco, we got married soon after, and we are cherishing our years of togetherness.

As I embarked on my motherhood journey, it was easy to transition in and out of maternity leave with hybrid work and Cisco’s workplace flexibility. The company gave me time away from work to focus on my family and make beautiful memories with them. Becoming a parent can be one of the most exciting times in a person’s life, and I am fortunate to have been through this ride twice with my two daughters, Mia and Aria. They are a blessing.

My path to Cisco began with my father but continued with my mentors, advocates, and sponsors, who pushed me to be a better version of myself at every step and encouraged me to aim higher. They helped me grow my network with stretch assignments and shadowing opportunities, which led to my personal and professional growth. I’m thankful not only for the support, but all the friendships made along the way.

Cisco has been the one big constant as I have grown in the last ten years of my life. It’s helped shape who I am and touched every part of my life, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds.

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Pujita Patni

Leader, Systems Engineering

Security SE