Shoveling sand at a construction site in rural Mexico during a giving back activity with Habitat for Humanity in 2009 is my first fond memory of the creative freedom I have while working at Cisco. Yes, technology and connecting the unconnected are what we Cisconians are known for, but giving back is an equally important part of who we are – and our culture. Each year, Cisco gives employees 40 hours to give back in ways they are most passionate about. Because of this dedication to giving back, there have been even more activities that have made me realize how fortunate I am to be a Project Manager in our Customer Experience (CX) organization.
There is something to be said about working for a company that not only supports our talents, skills, and career growth – but also enables us to develop our creativity and follow our hearts to make a difference in our communities. All these years I have been able to prove time and time again that where there is a will, there is a way. And while 2020 was difficult in many ways, our group was still able to come together, organize virtually, and give back.
Of course, we had to work through: How can we help from our homes? How do we transform the way we reach out to our community, and allow others in Cisco to live the gratifying experience of giving back? What does giving back look like in a world with safety restrictions?
Our team got to work, and over the course of the past year and half, we have hosted virtual give back opportunities like our annual Thanksgiving and Family Day events. Instead of feeling hindered by our virtual lives – we used this as an opportunity to expand our reach with a variety of organizations and different ways to help create the change we wish to see in the world.
We have helped everyone from pets in animal shelters to the elderly and children with autism. One experience I was most captivated by was the opportunity to help a fellow Cisconian’s organization. Laura Rangel, a Business Development Manager in CX, generously invites children who have been rescued from human trafficking to visit her ranch for equine therapy. This is often the very first time in their lives seeing, petting, and riding a horse!
Through the powers of Webex, over 100 Cisco employees were able to witness just how powerful this experience is for these children, and how it helps them begin to heal. We were also able to help support Laura’s organization by raising funds that will help them continue this incredible therapy.
Science shows that when you give back, you not only feel better about yourself – but about the impact you’re having on the world, your work, and your contributions to society. It not only helps to build a team but empowers that team to lead and grow together. And I have seen, time and time again, how our dedication to giving back is such a large piece of the Cisco heartbeat.
Cisco makes it easy for us to live our values out loud, and it has made me realize how lucky I am to work for a company powered by generosity. Through giving back, and helping to organize these events, we not only collaborate and lead for good, but inspire others to do the same, and then they do the same for others in their network – it’s a chain reaction!
This past year has been incredibly challenging for everyone in one way or another. But my hope is that we have all learned a lot and have become more compassionate and aware of just how fragile we are if we do not work together. We need each other! We need to connect, give what we can, and receive help from one another.
We need to give it away to get it back. And Cisco empowers us to do just that.
“There is a wonderful, almost mystical, law of nature that says three of the things we want most—happiness, freedom, and peace of mind—are always attained when we give them to others. Give it away to get it back.” – John Wooden, basketball coach
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