Pride Month is a huge celebration and meaningful event for the PRIDE community globally. Our flags are waving, clack fans are clapping, and our community is putting on spectacular events to welcome and embrace our resilient and diverse LGBTQ+ community. It’s a time of year when we may feel safer expressing ourselves. Safety is something all humans need.

Group shot of pride members and allies wearing blue Cisco pride tshirts jumping in the air.June is also a time of year to reflect on how far we, the PRIDE community, have come and what we still must overcome — even in 2024.

Having been at Cisco for the past ten years, I have witnessed the communications and protections provided by this company in support of our LGBTQ+ community. I value working for a company that puts my well-being at the forefront of their words and actions. It plays a crucial role for me to feel safe and bring my 100% authentic self to work. I think back to proactive stances Cisco took on legislation and the advocates within our company, like Oscar Canon, who went to bat for our healthcare options to be more inclusive for LGBTQ+ families. Most recently, it was heart-warming to see Cisco’s leadership, once again, wear Pride pins at Cisco Live!

All that I have witnessed at Cisco since 2014 empowered me to finally “officially” come out at work last June through a WeAreCisco blog post titled “The Journey of Bringing my Authentic Self to Work.” However, the results were two-fold. Most of the response was positive and enriching, grew my network, and made me understand that I did take the right step in putting myself out there for myself and our community. On the other hand, there were internet trolls, hiding behind the safety of their anonymity, who said hateful things to me they would never say to my face. Well, guess what? Cisco and my allies blocked that content and continued to share my story.

That WeAreCisco blog post grew my connections both personally and professionally. Personally, I gained a new golf partner, Kim Bailey, from the CX organization! She and her wife are improving my golf game, and getting to play at a beautifully designed university golf course on their membership doesn’t hurt either. Professionally, I have been blessed to feel the support of my wonderful friends at Cisco, who saw my work ethic and encouraged me to apply for the RTP PRIDE Inclusive Community Development Pillar Lead role at the start of Fiscal Year 2024. That role surged ten-fold when I had the opportunity to take over as RTP PRIDE Chapter Lead. This was a hefty task to take on, but with the support of my brilliant fellow Chapter Lead, Enrique Perez, we have established opportunities to grow and engage our RTP PRIDE audience even more. This could not have been possible without the efforts and organizational skills of our past Chapter Lead, who we sincerely miss at Cisco.

Two men and a woman smiling at camera with arms around each other standing in front of step and repeat wearing lanyards with name tags.Ultimately, change, acceptance, and support are possible at Cisco. We have made a lot of progress, especially in the ten years I have been here, but we still have a long road ahead of us. I am honored to be part of a company whose employees and leaders stand up for me, mentor me, and know that my LGBTQ+ identity is part of who I am and what helps me perform to the best of my abilities. If you’re a Cisconian and want to become an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, we welcome you to join our local Inclusive Community PRIDE Chapters via Workday. Please know that a small pride flag or inclusive pride logo in the back of your video on Webex goes a long way, too! It shows you are a safe space for us. Also, know that Cisco’s PRIDE community doesn’t just activate around June. We hold events for Transgender Day of Remembrance, National Coming Out Day, World Suicide Prevention Day, Harvey Milk Day, and partner with other Inclusive Communities such as the Adult Caregiver’s Network, Connected Asian Affinity Network (CAAN), Conexión, Indians Connecting Network (ICON), VETs, and many others to produce meaningful events in our Cisco community. This intersectionality brings unique perspectives to Cisco and our daily lives.

In the end, inclusivity is more important now than ever. We can start by using our pronouns in our profiles, when starting an event, or meeting new individuals. Also, we can incorporate a visual description of ourselves when presenting at larger meetings to help blind and visually impaired people understand visual information. Let me give you an example, “Hi, my name is Brielle Mayle, my pronouns are she/her. I am a Caucasian woman, wearing glasses, a white collared shirt, with a bookshelf behind me.” It takes only seconds and can start to become a norm in our workplace and world, making others feel safe and included.

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Brielle Mayle

Global Financial Operations Leader

Cisco Capital