What does the word “techie”, “engineer” or “coder” mean to you? Likely, you have a general definition of the people in those roles. But I’m here to assure you that Cisco employees aren’t only engineers, coders, marketers, innovators, or financiers — we are also amazingly creative people!

And, if you haven’t noticed, we’re passionate about sharing why Cisco is a place where #LoveWhereYouWork! For me, this translated to entering the #WeAreCisco Graphic Design Contest. I was intrigued by this initiative as the winning graphic would be featured on stickers, t-shirts and more for our 72,000+ employees in the Cisco Store!

The design would represent what Cisco’s culture is all about and have worldwide exposure. Can you imagine a global brand giving their employees – and even a 22 year old, relatively new employee at that – the opportunity to participate in the company in such a way? I can, because I work at Cisco!

I have always been someone who wore many hats. For example, in high-school, whilst maintaining straight A grades, I was involved in 5 bands simultaneously! And while at university, amongst many other activities and volunteering opportunities, I provided freelance graphic and web design services.

Now, at Cisco, I drive channel partner compliance through monitoring, discipline, remediation, and operational improvements to prevent and eliminate degraded brand integrity, revenue and margin erosion, affected financial reporting, and lower customer and partner satisfaction. You may think that this is a very “one sided” role, but with the great culture that Cisco has, I am also able to experience many other teams, projects, and programs.

Along with what I do in my daily role, I am also the Program Lead for the Cisco MentorMe Program where every year we open Cisco’s doors to female university students and introduce them to the IT Industry and Cisco. And I am a part of the Cisco Connected Disability Awareness Network where I recently promoted the benefits of hiring people with disabilities to senior executives and people managers as they journeyed into the unfamiliar world of those who are visually impaired, temporarily restricting their sense of sight and dining in the dark.

I have always loved the art of multi-tasking and exploring as many opportunities as possible. The Graphic Design Contest was no different.

With roughly 205 unique entries from around the world, I know the judges had a difficult task in selecting a winner. I submitted more than 20 designs of my own, and had my fingers crossed hoping one of these was the perfect representation of Cisco’s culture and the #WeAreCisco tribe.


Yet, I knew that I was up against some tough competition! Cisconians are outrageously talented and creative, with skills surpassing what they do every day at the office.

I knew each design had to be distinctively different and stand out in its own right. I wanted to incorporate some keywords that came to mind when I thought of why I love working at Cisco: diversity, people, love, innovation, technology, and ‘global’ were recurring themes. I also played on the idea of the Cisco logo and the Golden Gate Bridge in a few designs, having people of different sizes linking arms to represent a bridge. Some designs also merged the Cisco logo with DNA structure. I tried to think outside the box and play around with many elements.

I knew, however, that I would be happy and proud to wear some of the great designs my co-workers had created as well. Imagine my surprise when I was announced the overall winner and commemorated for being a community champion within the contest WebEx Teams submission space! By simply wanting to help other entrants with the rules I became a cheering squad for all of the participants – because it’s who I am.

Holly’s winning design at the #WeAreCisco Graphic Design Contest

Not only is it great to have your work recognized, especially when it is up against so many great ideas, but it is equally amazing to also be commended for living Cisco’s People Deal.

And that’s what makes Cisco DIFFERENT. Sure, I could tell you to do your homework and research the company you’re applying for or to do it just as I have and expand your horizons – wear as many hats as you possibly can – but this approach is similar to other advice you’ve already received.

What do I recommend? Research the company’s CULTURE. That is how you know whether you’ll be a good fit for that organization or not – it’s not a job that keeps you at a company, it’s the people and their way of life.

If you share the Cisco vision and think you’ll fit the culture, I look forward to running into you in the hallway or kitchen in the future! Apply now!



Holly O'Toole

APJC Compliance Program Manager