Whether on a train talking to the stranger who sat next to me, or at a party with my closest family and friends, one of my favorite questions to answer is this: “So, what do you do?”

This question opens the doors for me to talk about one of my biggest passions – working at Cisco! I could write an entire book about why I love working here, but for now, I want to focus on just one thing – our amazing culture.

For someone who is early in their career (I joined Cisco two and a half years ago as a Worldwide Sales Intern), I am always grateful and pleased by how much help and support is available to me, whether that comes from the lovely Cisco Starbucks team who makes a Chai Latte for me every morning or from our Executive Leadership Team. It’s a real testament to Cisco’s nurturing and caring culture, and Cisco’s big heart.

During my graduate programme I was nominated for an amazing opportunity – to interview our Executive Leadership Team on stage at our annual Sales Meeting GSX (Global Sales Experience) where 20,000+ of our Sales colleagues gather in Las Vegas every year! Our ELT consists of 12 people who report into our inspirational leader, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins.

Since I joined Cisco, I have looked up to these leaders and been inspired by what each of them brings to our company. So, you can imagine just how excited I was for this opportunity! After preparing what I was going to ask them, and of course deciding on what I was going to wear (I love fashion!), I was ready for the big event!

I was very fortunate to have some time with each of the leaders backstage before the sessions and got to know the ELT a little better. Amongst the leaders, I really bonded with a few of them, including our very talented Chief Marketing Officer, Karen Walker. Although I work as an Account Manager in our Sales organization, Marketing has always been a passion of mine. We bonded over this, as well as our love for our home country (the UK), the possibilities with Artificial Intelligence, and our passion for advancing Women in Technology. We discussed doing a follow up mentoring session, and with Karen based in San Jose, and myself in London, we held this call using our amazing video conferencing technology – Cisco Telepresence.

My experience with Karen was incredible – I got to know her on a more personal level, and I was truly able to ask her anything and everything with absolutely #NoFilter. I asked for insight into how she handles such a demanding job so incredibly well, whilst staying true to herself and her family and friends.  In short, she really is a rock star, and it felt just like having a chat with a good friend!

Karen, like many of our leaders, lives and breathes what our culture is all about – bringing out the best of humanity in Cisco and in a digitized world. I see the ‘human’ element of our company in all levels of our organization, and our ELT are no different. They are kind, compassionate, always willing to help and strive to pay forward their success.

So why am I sharing this story? I am someone who is early in my career, and Karen is our Chief Marketing Officer.  Despite differences in our levels of experience, we were each able to take away something from our conversation while inspiring each other and connecting in a very human way. It’s not every day that you get to do that!

That is what working at Cisco is all about. Cisco is a place where you can be human first.

For me, that means celebrating success with my team and being vulnerable with them when I need their support. I am empowered to achieve the goals I want in my life and in my career. And while I am an outgoing person who loves meeting new people and making new friends, some of my Cisco friends are less so and more introverted – but our differences here are what makes us unique.

Whatever your ‘human’ looks like – we want you to be you, with us.

Want to bring your full self to work each day? We’re hiring. Apply now.


Nish Parkar

Media Account Manager