As a mom, I want to the leave the world a better place for my children. I often think about how I can actively make this happen and do my part to help change the world.  If you’re like me, you probably have great intentions of solving world peace but struggle to find the time to accomplish such a feat due to all of life’s other tasks that need to be tackled.

For most of us time gets away from us and before we know it, another month and year passes by.  With this realization, I decided to get intentional about my intentions.  I also realized small efforts can go a long way – so, if I just helped one person, in a small way, then it’s worth the time.

At Cisco, we are fortunate to receive five paid days to volunteer in our community in addition to our regular vacation time.  We are also offered many opportunities to volunteer throughout the year with our teams, even within the Cisco offices.

I started using my volunteer time by joining organized events like sorting food at the Durham Food Bank with some friends.  Not to brag, but when I told my friends I was being paid by Cisco to do this, there was some employer envy.  And it only got better as we walked into the Durham Food Bank and saw a BIG FAT donation check from Cisco hanging from the ceiling!

For my next giving back adventure I volunteered with Brown Bag Ministry preparing meals for the less privileged. My kids also got to experience this opportunity, and had some incredible learning moments. Yes, they learned how to make sandwiches, but they also realized that there are people in their community that go without food and that homelessness is not just an issue in developing countries.  It lead to conversations of being grateful, and how we can help others through kindness.  Bonus, they appreciated the food that was put on the table that night for dinner!

Not wanting to stop there, I got involved with Junior Achievement, a not-for-profit that strives to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.  I volunteer in classrooms and am on the board for East NC.  Seeing the children’s faces light up when we engage with them and the excitement and energy they have is truly contagious, and the impact I’m able to make as a volunteer here is truly priceless.

It is incredible to see the many ways Cisco employees give back, from week-long trips to an hour or two here and there. An hour of your time really could change someone’s life! Something you say may inspire them to go on a journey they never considered, or perhaps they’ll see themselves in a story that you share from your personal experiences.

Recently, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by students of the North Carolina School of Science & Math. I simply dialed into a video call from my home office for an hour to field questions about my career and personal journey. The insightful questions even made me reflect on my journey! It was an eye opening moment, and just as beneficial for me as I hope it was for the students. After the call, I felt that where I am today is enough and exactly where I should be.

I’m happy to say that these volunteer experiences have led me to get more involved in various opportunities – and each time I get more then I give!  Like my mother always said, “When you help others, you’ll be given so many unexpected gifts.”  I have met amazing people, made lasting friendships, and professional connections I never would’ve made otherwise. My hope is that I’ve also made life easier for someone along the way.  In my time giving back through Time2Give, I learnt so much about my community and the world around me, and quite frankly about myself.

I am very thankful that we’re given this benefit by a company that truly cares about changing the world and leaving it better than we found it. Not just for me, but for my children and others too.

Want to work at a company dedicated to giving back? We’re hiring! Apply now.


Harninder Bassi

Director Sales Operations

Global Security Sales Organization Americas