Sometimes the plans you have for yourself — are not always the plans meant for you.

Christopher presents on stage at a Supply Chain Development Day.

Throughout my college years, my plan was to build a career in higher education. After completing my master’s degree in public administration, I began to explore opportunities within the corporate sector. And, while I thought I knew exactly what “Corporate America” was all about – Cisco proved how wrong I was.

Fresh out of graduate school, I had two important criteria in selecting my workplace. The ideal environment for me would embrace diversity and all walks of life as well as encourage growth and professional development. Upon joining Cisco, I was elated by the unique culture, abundant supply of career development resources, and the attempt to disrupt the traditional workforce environment.

As a Global Inclusion Talent Project Manager for Cisco’s Supply Chain team, not only do I get to perform my day-to-day tasks with an incredible team, but because of Cisco’s dedication to professional and personal development – I get to tackle real social issues too!


The HackIT / Limitless Experience (What is it?) 

One of the most memorable and challenging experiences of my Cisco career thus far has been participating in HackIT, the largest global hackathon within Cisco. Imagine bringing together cross-functional teams from geographically diverse backgrounds and dropping them all in one space to ideate and solve business problems over a 24-hour period. The amount of intellect, innovation, and excellence just blew my mind. At this moment, I instantly felt I was in a startup documentary because of the creative magic that was flowing.

Christopher stands with his colleagues and peers at a IT Hackathon


Project Limitless | Using Artificial Intelligence to address youth homelessness

You might have seen Cisco’s recent dedication to eradicating homelessness through our $50 million commitment over five years to end homelessness in Santa Clara County (where our headquarters is located) or employees volunteering with organizations like the Covenant House Sleep Out to raise funds and awareness for homeless youth.

Our team took these statistics and Cisco’s commitment to solving homelessness to heart and proposed Project Limitless as a digital cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) assessment.

At least 4.2 million young people in the US experience a form of homelessness in a given year and approximately 42% experience two or more episodes of homelessness. Statistics indicate that the longer youth are exposed to homelessness, the more difficult it is to improve their living situation. Consequences of youth homelessness bring despair to youth in the form of; mental health problems, barriers to education and employment, increased criminal activity and substance abuse. These problems burden society and if not addressed, these youth are likely to become an addition to the chronic homeless adult population.

Project Limitless is a data driven simulation with the ambition of using game design theory and techniques. The assessment offers important benefits to each user like understanding identity, forming positive choice patterns, building character development, and improving resource accessibility and quality of life. The data collected from Project Limitless aims to connect the user with licensed professionals that provide the necessary materials and resources to prevent and break the cycle of homelessness.

The room at The HackIt/Limitless Experience with plenty of people, computers, and thinking!


Building my Bridge at Cisco 

Cisco encourages everyone to find avenues to grow and develop professionally as well as personally. Don’t be afraid to take a leap and try something different.

Looking back, the HackIt experience was an avenue that enhanced my skills and expertise to be an agent of social change. Thanks to Cisco’s dedication to their employee’s career development, encouragement to innovate, and empowerment to give back to our communities – it’s proven to me that there truly is a huge heart within corporate America.

Ready to join a company that cares? We’re hiring. Apply now.



Christopher Watkins

Project Manager

Global Inclusion Talent