Every day, across the globe, Cisco employees are giving back in unique and inspiring ways. This Giving Tuesday, we wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the incredible work our employees are doing, and the organizations they’re most passionate about.

We’re sure, as you get to know these employees further, that their stories and huge hearts will have you leaving us today filled with the giving spirit and ready to make the world a better place in your own way.


1. Name: Madison Setness

2. Current Role: Recruitment Marketing Specialist, Talent Brand Team

3. Location: Georgia, United States

4. Volunteer Organization: Meals on Wheels

5. Why did you choose this organization to give back to? Growing up, when I’d have the day off from school, I’d get to volunteer with Meals on Wheels with my grandparents. When I moved to California a year ago, I was a remote employee, with not a lot of family or friends around. Giving back gave me the opportunity to get out a bit more and socialize. When I thought of where I wanted to give back, I was reminded of my fond memories of giving back with my grandparents. So, I found a local Meals on Wheels facility! It was great to visit with my ‘stand in’ grandmas once a week and see the smiles on their faces.

6. Share with us why giving back helps you to #lovewhereyouwork at Cisco. Giving back has always been a part of my life. From those visits with my grandparents to my time in high school where I ran a project through our DECA program to raise money for St. Jude’s, and in college, I was my sorority’s Philanthropy Chair. I love that Cisco supports giving back in our post graduate/adult life too! It’s not something that feels like a burden, but it’s something I can fold into my work week.

7. What is your favorite thing about giving back? I love the mood it puts me in. I can really be dragging or have a tough day, but once I’m there it’s awesome to talk with the seniors, take orders, or help to clean up – everyone is just so grateful! Many of them don’t have their grandchildren or families close by, just like me, so it’s a really nice way for us to come together for some smiles and laughs. They’re like my stand in grandparents, they get so excited to see me week after week (and I do too). Plus, I love how they wrap me up a to go lunch too, it makes it feel like they’re watching out for me just like my own grandparents would.

8. What advice would you give to those looking for ways to give back? Find something you can commit to and be consistent with, once a week or once a month – it doesn’t matter. Carve that time out and block it off so you can step away and give back, make an impact and ultimately make connections too.


1. Name: Jackie Li

2. Current Role: IT Manager

3. Location: Sydney, Australia

4. Volunteer Organization: Lifeline

5. Why did you choose this organization to give back to? I chose Lifeline because I know what it feels like to have depression. Sometimes you just need someone to talk to, and Lifeline provides that to people here in Australia. It is a call centre that can save lives. and anyone from across Australia can call to get help.

6. Share with us why giving back helps you to #lovewhereyouwork at Cisco. It gives me a meaning to life beyond my work in the office. It motivates me as a person, because – at the end of the day we are all human. Once you are in touch with your human side, everything falls into perspective.

7. What is your favorite thing about giving back? If any Cisco employees want to volunteer their time with Lifeline, I help to organise that for them. And when I ask my co-workers who volunteered how it felt, they say, “It was really good and fulfilling.” That is music to my ears.

8. What advice would you give to those looking for ways to give back? Give from the heart. One person can make a difference. Don’t wait. Even if it is once a year. Organise and commit to one thing.


1. Name: Celia Goudsmit – Gomes Veiga

2. Current Role: Talent Acquisition Lead for Acquisitions EMEAR

3. Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

4. Volunteer Organization: Alpe d’HuZes

5. Why did you choose this organization to give back to? I choose Alpe d’HuZes because they are a sporting event with the goal to raise as much money as possible for cancerresearchand for improving the quality of life of people with cancer. For me it was an important cause to help people, but it also meant that I was doing something physically where I had to prepare myself. Climbing up a 14km mountain with an inclination level of 8% average – that’s not something people set out to do every day, but my goal was to do it twice. I succeeded!

6. Share with us why giving back helps you to #lovewhereyouwork at Cisco. To me personally, it helps to put life in perspective. And that goes for my personal and professional lives, as it helps me to feel how fortunate I am by being healthy and being able to give back. I also feel very fortunate to work at a company that incentivizes me to give back. The #LoveWhereYouWork feeling definitely becomes stronger every time that I give back.

7. What is your favorite thing about #giving back? Beyond the blessed feeling I have in the ability to give back, my favorite thing is to see the results. In the case of the Alpe d’Huzes, it was that together we raised EUR 11,8 million (the Cisco team raised 48k) that will be used for cancer research.

8. What advice would you give to those looking for ways to give back? Just do it. Choose a cause that is close to your heart and do it. Any project is important, even if it is only a few hours spent visiting the elderly, for instance, it will make a huge impact to those you visit.


Lana and Cisco employees in San Jose make holiday cards for veterans.1. Name: Lana Nazzal

2. Current Role: Executive Assistant

3. Location: San Jose, California, United States

4. Volunteer Organization: Veterans Sportsman Alliance

5. Why did you choose this organization to give back to? I knew I wanted to give back to an organization that you don’t always hear about and thought about how thankful I was to our veterans and active duty members, and how I wanted to help support them throughout the holiday season. I didn’t quite know how to go about giving back in this way, so I reached out to a co-worker and she recommended a few organizations that helped support our veterans and service members.

I called every single one and really connected with Brett from the Veterans Sportsman Alliance. He was so open to my idea of creating a give-back event at our San Jose and Raleigh offices that would have Cisco employees make greeting cards for our active duty to send home to their families

6. Share with us why giving back helps you to #lovewhereyouwork at Cisco. I believe in lending a helping hand, and love that Cisco supports employees in giving back to our local and global communities. If I can help make someone’s day brighter – I will always choose to do that.

7. What is your favorite thing about #giving back? The way it makes others feel and seeing that I’m making an impact on the world. This event was magical, so many employees came out and supported even though it was so close to the Thanksgiving Holiday here in the US. It really shows the heart we have at Cisco and the culture we foster.

8. What advice would you give to those looking for ways to give back? Reach out to organizations and see what you can do or create for them. Chances are, it will help to make the world that much brighter. There are so many ways to give back, decide who you want to help and what you think might accomplish that – then find organizations to partner with.


How are you #GivingBack this #GivingTuesday? Share with us in the comments below!

Want to work for a company that encourages you to give back? We’re hiring! Apply now.


Casie Shimansky

Content Strategist | Provider of Pixie Dust

Employee Storytelling