Upon graduating from Ohio State, I worried about leaving a world that had encouraged me to find unique experiences, a shared dedication to social causes, entrepreneurship, the arts, and empowerment. I loved meeting new people and finding my place in the world by learning about other cultures and building a global perspective. This led me to study abroad, on top of dedicating a lot of my spare time to my business fraternity and the Office of Global Business.
Would I be able to continue to follow these passions in my new career – and throughout my life?
My worries dissipated when I found Cisco and saw that I could continue to be surrounded by passionate people who were motivated to bring their diverse experiences together in order to grow. Specifically, for me, this came in the form of joining Cisco’s Leaders in Finance & Technology (LIFT) program.
Within the program, the LIFT Engagement Committee gives participants excellent opportunities to lead, including planning events, professional development, and other learning projects. This is a fantastic way to get to know your peers in the program and continue crafting your own leadership style.
Outside of LIFT, I learned of Cisco’s Office of Inclusion and Collaboration (ICC) and how they sponsor Employee Resource Organizations (EROs) where you can pursue your passions or find new ones! As a quick snap-shot, ICC supports ten different employee-led organizations that span most of Cisco’s global sites, and many smaller community networks.
Here you’ll find organizations like Connected Black Professionals (CBP), Pride, Early Career Network (ECN), Conexion, and Connected Women. Each ERO is focused around promoting a supportive network that encourages development for all communities at Cisco. I was hooked and found myself focusing my time and interest on the Early Career Network to start. This ERO has opened many doors for me and has allowed me to explore my passion for connecting even more with Cisco’s global community.
Through the Early Career Network, I’ve been involved in a variety of events that help young professionals at Cisco develop our careers. From cross-functional mixers and volunteer events to topical trainings and even how to buy a new home! Being involved in an ERO is a great way to meet people outside of your teams and day-to-day work, but they’re also a phenomenal way to dive deeper into what these networks (and Cisco) does around the world!
This inspired me to make connections between my daily life at our Raleigh, North Carolina office to Cisco employees and their experiences around the globe. Through expressing my interest to our leadership team, I was able to drive an exciting project for the ECN Global team where I helped connect ECN members traveling around the world to local hosts at Cisco sites via our Webex Teams platform.
The success of this project also gave me the opportunity to join the ECN Global Leadership Board that oversees our global events like Impact Month, an event that encourages our worldwide ECN chapters to plan events in the same month that will impact their local sites and communities.
By continuing to follow my passion for finding my place in the world, I have been given this unique opportunity to learn and grow at Cisco through LIFT and our EROs – and it doesn’t stop there.
My final rotation in the LIFT program was from March – September 2019. During this time, I was able to work internationally from our Krakow, Poland office and, in October 2019, had the amazing opportunity to participate in our global give back trip with Habitat for Humanity in Brazil. Getting to live and work in another country for six months broadened my perspective even further and gave me memories that I will cherish for a lifetime, while sharing my annual volunteer time with 40 passionate ECN Cisconians gave me new friendships and a strong vision of shared humanity.
At Cisco, you’re encouraged to bring your whole self to work. Getting involved with an ERO or through volunteering is a great way to share your whole self even further!
Similar to a large college like Ohio State, one of the greatest benefits of such a large company like Cisco is that there are lots of opportunities, just like mine, out there for everyone. The variety of experiences you explore through programs like LIFT, organizations like our EROs, and by (most of all) simply following your passions – will make you a far stronger employee and truly help to bring out your best self at work.
Ready to join our team? We’re hiring. Apply now.