With travel limited, our team interactions digitized, and our homes transformed to offices, the 6th annual #WeAreCisco #LoveWhereYouWork employee photo contest was even more challenging in 2021. I think we can all say things have been a little weird. And, yet, under our new normal, I wanted to make sure my photo this year was meaningful, compelling, but most of all me.

If the year 2020 gave us anything, it likely gave us all new hobbies. There was sourdough bread, hand-crafted masks, building out home gyms and puzzles galore – we all picked up something.

For me that something was plants.

My small jungle of plants held my attention during our extended stay at home. From potting new plants in fun containers (repurposed candle jars, mugs) to finding the right grouping and location for my plants, I found relaxation and peace in exercising my green thumb. While the world outside was uncertain with what the future held, my plants inside flourished with my attentiveness and bright morning light.

So how does my love for plants tie back into Cisco? Webex!

Maybe us Cisconians went a little stir crazy or maybe we just do what we do best (connect things) but there is a whole plethora of spaces on Webex that our employees have put together. We have spaces for all sorts of things: parents working from home while helping their kids learn virtually, an Animal Crossing space to connect Cisconians online, even a Peloton space for our extra competitive coworkers.

These spaces serve as a place to connect beyond our work responsibilities, and when I was recently added to the Plants @ Cisco space – I felt like I had found my people.

The Plants @ Cisco space not only is a place for plant lovers to share their jaw dropping arrangements at home, but it also serves as a place to ask questions, learn and – most importantly – where they’re finding awesome plant deals. We even have some sharp-eyed members who are really good at identifying that random plant you got on sale from the grocery store. With the collective knowledge even those with the brownest thumbs can keep a plant alive and get it to thrive.

Plant growing out of Cisco mugNot only am I able to grow my gardening skills with my colleagues in the Plants @ Cisco Webex space, I’m also able to grow my career at Cisco.

Since accepting a role four years ago, I’ve been able to work as a full time in office employee out of our Raleigh office, I was partly remote out of our San Jose office, and now fully remote out of my home in Georgia. Each of those phases allowed me to grow in my time management skills and independence, but also in my roles.

I’ve gone from a Marketing Specialist in the Security & Trust Organization to a Brand Manager on our Global Employee/r Brand team. I’ve explored areas outside of my day-to-day function by working on a stretch assignment for our Circular Economy team, and I’ve expanded my story telling skills in developing and launching the WeAreCisco podcast.

This past year alone, I challenged myself in new subject matter areas, adapted to the digitized world we live in (and helped our business groups to do the same), and found a way to cross boarders with our technology to connect with Cisconians around the globe.

In a year that could have felt very stale and stagnant – just like my plants, I’ve found ways to grow and continue to flourish. Because at Cisco, anything is possible when you have a bridge, or maybe a little sunlight and water, to get you there. ?


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Madison Burns

Brand Marketing Specialist

Employee/r Brand