My favorite time of year in Mexico is during the months of October and November when the Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead celebrations take place. I love this part of our culture because of how much joy it brings – and, most of all, I love sharing this part of our culture with others.  

Back when I was in school studying to get my B.S. in Telematics Engineering, my classmates and I would decorate the lab based on the season we were in. Mounting an Ofrenda is perhaps the most recognizable symbol of the Day of the Dead celebrations – it is a temporary alter in which families honor their loved ones, and creating one right in the middle of the lab really helped us to bond as we brought personal passions into a professional space. And it all came together naturally. 

I was certain this would not exist in a ‘real-world’ profession.  

When I joined Cisco’s Customer Experience Professional Services Collaboration team four years ago, I was unsure about what to expect from office life. Would someone think celebrating the Day of the Dead at the office to be ridiculous? What if there was no time or interest for anything outside of work and deliverables? What if this was just a boring, average job? 

Fortunately, I was surprised and proven wrong at every turn. Cisco wanted us to bring our unique personalities and interests into the office! I even met the Inclusion and Collaboration team, who are responsible for organizing all sorts of activities – from soccer to yoga – outside of the technical specs of our work. At Cisco, we take the saying, “Work hard, play hard” pretty seriously – and this team helps us achieve that! 

Then, I discovered that the office already had an initiative related to the Day of the Dead!  Not only did teams put together their own Ofrendas, but they competed against each other every year to see who had the best Ofrenda. But why stop there? Why not bring this activity to our offices throughout Mexico and campuses worldwide? Along with three amazing friends, we volunteered to make this happen – and we had our managers full support, too! 

That is how the Annual Day of the Dead Ofrendas Contest at Cisco Mexico was born, and the Ofrendas that we saw from our teams were amazing! Some were even featured on the @WeAreCisco social accounts for the entire world to see. 

While keeping the solemn, essential core of the Ofrendas intact many have done incredible mashups with pop culture and even Cisco gear! Year after year it just keeps getting better, and we are constantly improving the contest by taking the feedback received.  

In this same spirit, I was very fortunate to be able to bring another personal passion into play: photography.  

I love being able to share who I am through photography, and it’s not rare to see a Cisco logo in my photos throughout my social media either. Many of my colleagues in Mexico share this same passion, too.  

Knowing this, it didn’t come as a surprise when our location was chosen to be a mini contest of the annual #WeAreCisco #LoveWhereYouWork Photo Contest our Talent Brand team puts on at the start of each year. What did surprise me was being offered the role as a Local Ambassador to help Mexico truly shine throughout the contest! 

Year after year, it is always a delight to look at my colleague’s submissions from around the world. Hundreds of photos, not only good in concept, but also technique! And during the #WeAreCisco #LoveWhereYouWork Contest for 2020 – I am proud to say, Mexico shined brightly. 

Take a look at this year’s global winners – we’re are proud that many are from our Mexico region!  

I am so proud of our Cisconians in Mexico. We always bring our true selves to work and are motivated and willing to push creativity and dedication to the limit. I’m certain that Cisco Mexico not only excels because of its technical skills and consulting expertise, but also because of the passion of its people.  

And for me, I take all the experiences and soft-skills that the organization and coordination of these big-scale events provide. The time invested is worth it. Although the old days at the lab in university are way gone, I still feel the chills when I see how powerful we Cisconians are when we work together – both here in Mexico, and across the globe. 


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Poncho Sandoval

Software Consulting Engineer

SWAT (Software and Automation) CX Lisbon