One of the many things that energizes and motivates me to make the daily 80-mile roundtrip drive to Cisco’s Raleigh, North Carolina campus is the fact that my job as a Cisco Sales Associate Program (CSAP) Manager allows me the ability to live out my passion for serving others.
Now, having a job that allows you to practice your true passion inside the workplace is truly an amazing thing in and of itself. But, working for a company that supports and enables you to put your passion into practice outside of the workplace is generally unheard of.
Enter: Cisco, a company that I am proud to work for and allows me to do exactly that through their Time2Give program.
Time2Give is an initiative that provides an additional 40 hours (outside of our regular Paid Time Off) so that employees can give back to a cause or organization that matters to each individual. It sounds so good to be true, that when I share the program with people – they’re surprised and sometimes don’t even believe what I’m saying. But, it’s true! On top of our regular PTO, we’re encouraged to take time away from the office every year to help others.
For me, I use this time to travel to Nicaragua as I serve as a board member for SuNica, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing clean water, education, and mentorship to the people of various villages throughout Nicaragua.
Most recently, my wife Lisa and our two oldest daughters, Regan and Brynna, traveled to Nicaragua to celebrate the grand opening of a community center SuNica built in El Limonal, a community literally built in a trash dump.
During this visit we also went to check on the progress of our most recent clean water project in the San Carlos Village, a project that is providing clean water to 150 rural families.
Cisco has allowed me and my family to travel to Nicaragua much more frequently (we’ve visited twice within the last 12 months) than we were able to previously. This has enabled Lisa and I to play a more integral role in bettering people’s lives here, and has offered us the opportunity to continue living as examples for our children. In exposing our children to these social injustices, we have shown them our bigger calling in serving those that don’t have the same opportunities that we might have.
SuNica’s projects are continuing – we are building modern bathrooms in the El Porvenir Village, working on another water project in the Salinas Grandes Village, and are working to build out a youth camp in The Sacred Forest which is a large, beautiful jungle in the mountains of Matagalpa that has been gifted to SuNica and entrusted in our care.
I can’t wait to go back this year and see how things have progressed in these villages!
Cisco provides many benefits to its employees, but there is no doubt in my mind that our culture of giving back is my greatest benefit. I am helping the people of Nicaragua, and teaching my family at the same time. That said, my family learns from and grows infinitely more as individuals through our relationships and interactions with my Nicaraguan friends than any example I could give you on how we serve them.
In my role at Cisco, I have the opportunity to interview sales candidates on a frequent basis. One of the questions I get asked a lot is, “What do you like most about working at Cisco?”
It’s a valid question from any potential candidate who’s curious about what life might be like at this tech giant, and – more importantly – what our culture encourages.
Truthfully, it’s easier for me to answer what I dislike about Cisco because it is a MUCH smaller list and there is a vast array of benefits and great qualities about this company that I could spend days talking about. Two of my favorite things, however, are the people I get to work with, and the fact that I work for a company that has a powerful philanthropic approach.
Cisco is committed to social justice both inside and outside the workplace. This aligns so closely with my personal values to the extent that this benefit alone is at the top of my list of why I love where I work.
Want to join a company that encourages giving back? We’re hiring. Apply now.
Great article, Kendal! This IS an amazing benefit, and also something that's supported by our culture; not just one of those benefits that exist but is never used. Your work in Nicaragua sounds amazing and is something I would love to hear more about. Thanks for sharing.
Joshua, Thank you so much for your kind words. I'd love to connect with you and discuss SuNica in more detail- tell me when and I look forward to meeting you!
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