Growing up in a resilient country healing from communism, I witnessed firsthand hardworking people breaking barriers. My parents were denied their chance to attend university, so I’ve always deeply appreciated education. Immigrating to the United States at 15 taught me to maximize resources and opportunities because I was navigating a complex system and advocating for my family with little support. Through that, technology became my bridge to possible because it made our immigration process a reality, was my path to education, and connected me to Cisco early in my career.
My career at Cisco started when a recruiter, who I’m incredibly thankful for, reached out on LinkedIn to build my bridge here as an associate engineer in the Cisco Sales Associate Program (CSAP), a global, year-long graduate program that I like to call a mini master’s degree in Cisco. I am grateful Cisco leadership invests in early-in-career programs because the level of development they put into the associates is unmatched. The true power of Cisco lies in our people, our culture, and the incredible focus that’s put into our growth. In my 4.5 years at this company, I have felt empowered to pursue my interests and find fulfillment in many ways while meeting humble and inspiring people along the way. Through several development programs, I’ve met mentors who have inspired and challenged me. For instance, I had the opportunity to file my first intellectual property patent application through the guidance of a mentor along with two other engineers. This experience helped me understand how I can contribute to developing or improving existing and future Cisco technology that will set us apart. The fact that Cisco invests in tools and resources to remove the barrier that exists for women inventors is incredibly meaningful. Programs like these lay a foundation for what is possible, which is key to inspiring and motivating us in our career aspirations.
During my time as a student, the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC), the world’s largest conference for women and non-binary technologists, is what convinced me to continue pursuing a career in tech. It was very impactful because it was the first time I met successful women from different walks of life who had made an impact in tech. After attending GHC a second time as a student scholar, I knew I had to come back and pay it forward. I made it my mission to return and represent Cisco through speaking and recruiting at this conference.
Last year, I had the chance to experience this full-circle moment. My session at GHC was titled: “Demystifying Technical Sales: Where Business Outcomes Meet Technology.” My primary goal was to empower the audience for a career at Cisco as well as introduce them to the breadth of Cisco’s impact through technology and community outreach. I talked to the audience about the career paths and growth opportunities for a solutions engineer/architect at Cisco, our cross-functional teams, and the transferrable skills that can welcome them to Cisco. I know from my own experience that this conference creates a platform for talent with unique skill sets, but I found that many are not aware of the different career possibilities in tech or Cisco. There are specific roles that are well-known and sought-after, and I wanted to help broaden their horizons by shining a light on the extensive resources and opportunities available at Cisco.
Seeing Cisco sponsor conferences like Grace Hopper since my student days solidified my sense of belonging here. It’s important that we walk the walk, and I can confidently say that we are making great strides towards this mission. I am also very proud to represent my team as a MultiplyIT ambassador, where we aim to attract future colleagues in non-traditional channels by breaking barriers, raising awareness, and cultivating a pipeline of full-spectrum diverse talent.
I am happy that I started my career here because we have a footprint across technologies, allowing for breadth and depth of knowledge. At Cisco, you can be an agent of change and find fulfillment in more than your day-to-day role. We’re fortunate to have the resources, programs, and opportunities Cisco provides, and it’s something that, given my upbringing, I’ll never take for granted. We have many employee resource organizations (that we call Inclusive Communities), and when you get here, you can create your own community if it doesn’t already exist. Every week, I’m thrilled to meet new people from different walks of life who motivate me.
If you dream of starting or growing your career with Cisco, I encourage you to envision your journey here. Break this vision down into the people, experiences, skills, and, as some of our leaders say, the “culture add” that you will bring to our organization. Reach out to current Cisconians through LinkedIn with intention, learn how they find community at Cisco, and nurture these connections. Then, when you become a Cisconian yourself, you too can help build someone’s bridge to possible.
Are you ready to break barriers and build bridges with us? Find an opportunity now!