My story with Cisco started in July 2019, just a month before my cancer journey began.
I was so excited about the opportunity to work for a big company like Cisco that when I felt a lump on my breast, I would run from my doctor’s appointments to make it in time for my next meeting.
Back then, I was what we call a red badge. I was working as a contractor for an outsourcing company hired by Cisco. Even so, my Cisco team was there for me when the diagnosis came in August 2019. They didn’t care that I wasn’t a “Cisco Employee.” I was always treated as one.
When I decided to return to my home country of Brazil for treatment, I had the full support of everyone around me at Cisco. They said if I had to take extended time off for my treatment, they would make sure to help me get my job back when I was done, but I knew I wanted to stay.
Working, learning, and occupying my mind were crucial on my journey. Actually, during chemotherapy and radiotherapy, working kept me sane. Having a reason to fight the side effects, leave the bed, and get ready for work was essential during the almost 12 months of treatment! During my eight rounds of chemo and 25 rounds of radiation, I kept myself motivated and maintained my position among the top goal achievers within the sales organization.
When I returned to the U.S. in July 2020, I knew I had enough knowledge to apply for a Cisco position and become a blue badge—a full-time Cisco employee. Furthermore, I had a feeling that I could contribute even more to the company that helped me, supported me, and gave me purpose during such an arduous journey.
So, I started dedicating time to learning more and more about collaboration and security. Again, with the full support of my “Cisco Family.”
When I was sure about which area I’d like to work in at Cisco, I started applying for positions. Back then, I thought I needed to begin in Small Business and climb the organizational ladder. But an opportunity in Enterprise caught my eye, and my friends said, “You should try, but don’t get disappointed if you don’t get it. It’s a big step moving from an outsourcing company to an Enterprise position.”
But I am the Brazilian immigrant daughter of farmers, have gone through cancer treatments, and have achieved a lot to be where I am already. So, when I applied for that position and Danny Warren, the hiring manager, contacted me, I felt like I had already won.
In our numerous interviews, he knew I didn’t have all the knowledge necessary, but he also knew I had the desire and ambition to make it work and believed in me.
When I got the final call saying that I got the position, I was days away from my “last surgery.” And Cisco, again, showed me why they are one of the best places to work in the world. They offered me the job and gave me the necessary time to recover.
And here I am, Cloud Pursuit Sales Specialist, blue badge employee of 19 months, working for a company that values me, supports me, and gives me purpose.
I try to be better every day and bring outstanding value to Cisco because I believe that our relationship is a two-way street. And I’m still just as excited about the opportunity to grow and learn with this awesome company as I was when this journey began.
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