Be you, with us – that’s a saying you often hear around Cisco, and we believe it. But imagine the surprise of some of our employees when we asked, “Have you ever wanted to be an extra in a movie?”

Those magic words enticed 116 employee volunteers to three different locations around Cisco Headquarters in San Jose, California for our biggest Talent Brand video – ‘Don’t follow the Herd’. Our goal was to show the strength in Cisco’s diversity – not just simply explain it – while highlighting key roles we’re hiring for and our unique qualities as a technology company.

I count myself amongst the surprised, too. With a psychology background, working in Human Resources – the last thing I envisioned my job being was behind-the-scenes on a movie set. And, yet – there I was, tasked with co-managing this project in my first month as a full-time Cisco employee with our Talent Brand team! From meeting with the Creative Director and helping write the script to deciding which locations would be best given their logistics and organizing our volunteers – I was immediately trusted to be an instrumental role in one of our largest projects yet.

True to our team’s nature, we didn’t want to hire actors to tell the Cisco story – we wanted our EMPLOYEES to do this in their own unique voices. It is their story, after all! So from extras to our “stars” – everyone involved was a Cisco employee.

Our 112 extras lovingly became known as “The Herd” (we were hard to miss traveling in large packs too, so it worked out well!😉) and we had 4 “stars” that would have speaking roles in order to share their story and why they love working at Cisco. Deciding who these folks would be wasn’t necessarily easy, but thanks to our network of connections and community at Cisco we reached out to our very own Employee Resource Organizations (EROs). We asked their communications leaders to send a Cisco-branded template, so members would recognize a familiar name – and waited for those who might be interested.

We had quite a turnout – and it was exciting to see the video begin to take shape.

From there, I had the fun task of balancing our cast across five time slots and ensuring we had full spectrum diversity. You might not believe this, but my own mom was able to be an extra in the movie along with three of her team members! How cool is it that? Not only do I get to work at a company alongside my mom (a.k.a my biggest role model) but we’ve now gotten to work together on something too!

There were a lot of standout moments for me while working on this project, but one that I will never forget was getting to meet fellow Cisconians I never would’ve crossed paths with otherwise.

Even working on the same campus, our world here is BIG at Cisco and this project helped me to better understand Cisco in its immensity. I believe it’s a testament to our networks, and how they help to connect the unconnected – even right here on campus. 🙂

Rashmi Sathawane, an Engineer for User Experience is the perfect example. While she works in building 22, I’m in building 10 – but here we were connecting and collaborating together. She volunteered to photograph both days of the shoot and captured many amazing photos for us preserve these moments.

This video shoot also brought together members from all business units. With the WeAreCisco / Talent Brand team mission being to make personal connections with future talent – this experience directly related to the success of my role. Meeting people cross-functionally within the company will help me better recruit those who want to amplify their stories on @WeAreCisco in the future.

At the end of the day, our team’s goal is helping potential talent see themselves working at Cisco – you know – Be you, with us! I think these videos will do just that, and my hope is that these candidates see themselves in our amazing people’s stories and how Cisco encourages us to stand out in our day-to-day lives.

But, don’t just take my word for it – here’s a few quotes from colleagues that became fast friends through filming ‘Don’t follow the Herd’.

Myda Acevedo – Global IT Advisor Program Lead (bottom right)

“I was so excited to be a part of the ‘Don’t follow the Herd’ video! A couple of my colleagues and I were asked to participate and I really didn’t know what to expect. It was so organized and well done! I loved the title and the concept of the video! I love where I work!”

Rashmi Sathawane, Interaction Designer Software Engineering

“I am CISCO, you are CISCO, you and I together make #WeAreCISCO.”

Varsha Kanwar – Chief of Staff, CX Platforms

“You got to #LoveWhereYouWork when you get to combine your skills, expertise, experience, and talents with your passion to connect the unconnected, and, be extraordinary together with 100+ colleagues from diverse backgrounds and cross-functional organizations. We had a fun and laughter filled day at the WeAreCisco Talent Brand video shoot.”

Danny Hawawini, CXC Manager, Presenter Team

“It was a microcosm of working at Cisco…professional as hell and fun throughout. I really enjoyed bringing attention to what makes Cisco special, the people that come together from wildly different backgrounds, it’s a beautiful thing!”

Tammy Nguyen, CSIRT Program Manager

“The video gave me the opportunity to share how much I love working at Cisco and challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone. I was really nervous about the video because I usually shy away from situations where I am the center of attention. I can always count on Cisco (and the Talent Brand team) to encourage me to try something I’ve never done before.”


Watch the ‘Don’t follow the Herd’ video here:

Want to stand out and be you, with us? We’re hiring! Apply now.



Lauren Grimaldo

Talent Brand Manager & Social Media Specialist

Global Talent Brand Team