When you are passionate about something you are not enticed by recognition or awards – you simply put everything you have into an activity or cause because it means something to you and because you want to see it grow and succeed. You know this fire inside of you could very well change the world, and so you give it everything you have. We all have that one thing – and for me, it’s the work I’m doing at Cisco in my local community, and around the world, in promoting girls and women in tech, STEM education, and my focus on diversity & inclusion initiatives.
I’m fortunate that Cisco is so committed to inspiring and cultivating students to pursue STEM education and careers, and building the workforce of tomorrow. Through my work with NGO Greenlight for Girls (g4g), I’ve been leading Cisco’s partnership and collaboration with them and launching their signature “g4gday” events in new countries around the world. From Amman, Jordan, to Krakow, Poland, to Brussels, Belgium, Goa, India and soon Barcelona, Spain – it has been so encouraging to see these events come alive, and for so many young girls to be left inspired by technology.
Greenlight for Girls’ goal is to breakdown the different stereotypes girls have about STEM (such as it being just for boys, or that it’s boring or geeky). We run full day events full of fun, interactive, hands-on workshops delivered by role models in STEM, and show them how fun and exciting it can be! Cisco recently took part in the g4gDay Brussels event where we hosted 240 girls, and our team of amazing volunteers delivered 3 different workshops:
- The “Martian” workshop showcases our Cisco Telepresence units and the technology behind it.
- The “Cisco: I’m a Router” workshop teaches the girls the concepts of routing & switching in a very fun, interactive manner.
- And the LED Arduino kits programming workshop introduces this platform to the girls as well.
What make these events special is the collaboration and partnership with other companies and organizations that helps to inspire the future female talent pipeline. To be able to teach these young girls more about technology, spark their interests in STEM, and hear them say with great excitement, “I want to work for Cisco one day” is totally priceless!
Our Cisco-led g4g Barcelona day is coming up on May 7th – we’re already anticipating this great event as it is promising to be a huge success. To know that in our time with g4g, Cisco has touched the lives of approximately 2,000 girls across the globe, and that those numbers keep growing, leaves me so inspired to continue my work on these efforts.
Having a 4-year old daughter myself, I feel like I am not only doing this for the working women of today, the ladies currently studying Engineering in universities around the world, and the young girls still trying to figure out what they would like to be when they’re older. It is also for my own little girl at home, too. I want to be able to tell her “Anything is Possible” as I want her to know that she can break down any barriers she may face in the future – and aspire to be a woman in tech, hopefully here at Cisco!
It all came full circle for me recently as I was recognized by our SVP for Cisco Services, Joe Cozzolino, as the “Bringing the People Deal to Life” Q3FY2016 Services Excellence Award winner! I wasn’t expecting such an honor – but the very first thing that came to my mind was, “Wow, not only do I get to work for an organization that encourages me to follow my passion, but I get rewarded for it as well – Cisco Rocks!”
It made me know that Cisco not only supported these efforts completely, but what I truly value in life as well in being an advocate for gender diversity.
I pinch myself each time I realize I get to be part of this great project with Cisco, and that I truly “Do what I love, love what I do.”
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