Alberto in front of Conexion sign.Not so long ago, my heart was in the right place, but I wasn’t ‘walking the walk’ of a true leader for Cisco, for myself and those around me, or for our Conexión Employee Resource Organization (ERO).

Sure, I was volunteering when I had the time, but outside of that, many of my actions weren’t aligned to what I wanted to see happening around me. I would make excuses – “I just don’t have the time.” – or think, “We’re already there, from entertainment and JLo to the United States Supreme Court with Justice Sotomayor!” 

One event changed all of this for me. During the Cisco Hispanic Heritage Month celebration in 2016 something touched my heart and inspired my determination that day.  

It was that day that I realized, in order to be successful, I must be my authentic self. Yes, success also requires hard work, but in embracing my unique characteristics (which includes my heritage) I could truly unleash the best of me. This would not only benefit me, but Cisco too! In short, authenticity beats assimilation every day and every time. 

It was also wonderful to see fellow Cisconians like Carlos Pignataro, Dennis Jaramillo and Ileana Rivera share their stories and advice. We also got to hear from Juana Bordas who is President of Mestiza Leadership International that focuses on leadership, diversity, and organizational change that day. And finally, we heard from Guillermo Diaz, our Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the time. 

Conexion members during National Hispanic Heritage Month 2019.

While listening to Guillermo, I thought, “If he can make time for something so important – if he can invest his energy and time – so can I!” 

I immediately became an active member of Conexión, our Latino Network ERO at Cisco. In 2017, I joined the board and I am now a member of Conexión’s Executive Council. We have partnered with Cisco’s Office of Inclusion and Collaboration and other Employee Resource Organizations with a common goal of helping those in need and building an inclusive future for all.  

I value Cisco’s commitment towards not only making Cisco a more inclusive company, but that our goals go beyond our offices and Webex meetings so that we can make the world a more inclusive place. 

Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month.

I’ve made many friends over the years in Conexión and, together, we have helped others prepare to succeed both professionally and personally. We have also worked within our communities (especially with students who are still in school) to continue finding opportunities where they can achieve their goals and perhaps even join us at Cisco!   

Roberto Clemente, the first Latin American to be named to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, once said, Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on Earth.”  

Through Conexión, I have been able to grow as a leader and I know my time is not wasted. I have grown professionally and personally thanks to the many opportunities that have come my way because of the ERO. I now see that we all can make time for what is most important to us, and that we can help our communities (and our younger generations) to thrive and grow through our current leadership.  

Want to join Conexión and become a leader? Let me tell you something, ¡el momento es ahora! (the moment is now!)  

Ready to join our global teams? Apply now. 

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Dr. Alberto Montilla

Director, Product Management

Collaboration Technology Group