As an Executive Administrator, I get to see life at Cisco in a special way. On most days, it’s like I am looking into a bubble as I get to observe how everyone interacts with each other, what makes each person special, and I get to see each person’s many talents. One of my favorite things about my job is getting to plan events for our teams that incorporate everyone while helping us to grow!

Cisco’s collective culture is rooted in the belief that you work hard, you play hard – and here at Cisco Austin that is no different. So when one of my leaders recently asked if I could “find something different” for our teams to do while on an outing – I jumped at the challenge!

My leaders trust me, and are always up for trying something new – so I took an even greater risk and signed us all up for Curling. Yes, I said CURLING!

Most weren’t even quite sure what it was – let alone how this could help us to strengthen our team skills. My motivation for this particular choice was to get our teams out of their comfort zones! In doing so, I also wanted to get them to have fun while working as a cohesive team.

We all work well together on a daily basis, but it is the strong interpersonal relationships that really drives a team.

Curling is a sport in which you need a granite rock, a sheet of ice, and a target 42 yards away to participate. If your team of four finishes with your rocks closer to the target than your opponents’ — your team wins the game! Curling is a game of strategy, of finesse, and yes of fitness! Did you know that at the highest levels of the sport, sweepers expend the same energy as a sprinter in a 200 meter dash? That’s crazy right?!

Many thought this choice was crazy too, but I’m here to tell you that I think curling is for everyone! It’s low impact, yet, a good cardiovascular workout. They even had a number of modifications for a co-worker who has a walking impairment to use so he could join in the fun. I loved that our day was inclusive, and by the end, everyone saw the beauty of what curling had taught us.

At first, as with any new exper ience, there was chaos! Everyone was trying to take control of the game, the ice, their equipment – but, then something awesome happened. Our team started to communicate – we began to support one another, and synergy happened! I could definitely see the change in them by the end of the lesson as we all started to learn how to get that large stone down the center of the ice using newfound techniques, brooms, and teamwork.  It was amazing!

“So I thought curling really couldn’t be justified as being a “sport” and the engineer in me was quite skeptical that the “sweeping” could have any significant impact on the velocity of the stone.  Executive summary: I *was wrong* about both of these.

After participating in this outing I gained a newfound respect for the sport all while enjoying the company of my coworkers.  This is definitely one of my more enjoyable work outings and certainly not something I expected to do in hot sunny Austin and not something I would have ever tried on my own.”

– Bill Thomson, Technical Lead – Engineering

Wondering what Curling and the Cisco Life have in common? Here’s what I think:

  • You need your team to work in unison to collaborate effectively. Watch curling just once…you will see the teamwork!
  • When things get in your way, push them aside! Push away the negative, the toxic, the obnoxious; all of the things that prevent you from reaching your target goal. Whether it be here at Cisco, or in your daily life — sometimes, you need to do this!
  • Cisco is all about diversity, accepting each other, and teamwork! We learned that the source of the Curling stone comes from one of two places — the island of Ailsa Craig off the coast of Scotland or the Trefor Granite Quarry in Wales. It is to remind us that while we may be different, we all came into this world with the same need to be loved and valued. Fortunately, this stone is surrounded by an efficient support system, and it is the team’s job to be sure each stone reaches its destination — just like our teams at Cisco!
  • Whether on the curling rink or in the corporate world, the key is to have a functional team. It’s important to have a team where decisions are made responsibly, with the best interest of the organization and its people in mind. Cisco is an industry leader in thinking this way and setting our teams up for success.

Do you have a team that’s been together forever and needs a little rejuvenation? Or maybe a new team that wants to be more cohesive? Then grab your team & get curling!

Want to join a company that’s all about our teams? We’re hiring!



Stephanie Mosher

Executive Assistant

EAS – Enterprise Access Switching