You never know who you’re going to meet, or what reminders are out there for you with each new day. While attending this year’s GSX (Cisco’s annual sales conference) in Las Vegas, I stepped into a hotel elevator and met an elderly woman. We shared a smile, and she followed it up with a question – “Are you with that big group with the blue badges?”
“Yes,” I replied, “I’m with Cisco.”
“All of the people I’ve met with those badges are so nice and polite!” the elevator doors opened and we went our separate ways, but that one chance encounter gave me reason to pause and reflect on our incredible Cisco team members, culture, and leadership.
It’s not chance that she felt everyone she had met with a Cisco badge that week was so kind, that comes from within and as Cisco employees we carry that with us daily, no matter where we are or what we’re doing across the globe. It’s one reason I love working at Cisco, but there is more to my story too.
Six years ago I was at another high-tech firm working on joint sales and marketing programs. This position included working with a number of Cisco folks, and they always stood out to me. Yes, they were always professional and polite, but more so – I sensed something different in those I met that worked at Cisco.
At this point in my career I had over 25 years of industry experience, and had worked for a few of the top high-tech companies. I felt I had a pretty good frame of reference around our industry, and knew where many companies – and their employees – stood. With those that worked at Cisco, there was an almost intangible, positive difference in their demeanor and it left me wanting to know more about them and the company they seemed to care so deeply about.
After some observation, thought and reflection – I realized that the Cisco team was as dedicated, focused, and successful as those at other companies I’ve worked with and worked for. The “intangible” element, however, was that Cisco employees genuinely cared more about each other and the world around them.
Their kindness and true concern for others is what made all the difference.
I knew right then and there that I wanted to join them, and decided to pursue a number of Cisco employment opportunities. I was lucky enough to land a services sales position in 2013.
Since joining Cisco, I have seen some great initiatives and changes in our culture, starting with John Chambers and continuing to grow under Chuck Robbins’ leadership.
I can’t think of another Fortune 100 CEO that is as dedicated to giving back and making our world a better place than our very own Chuck Robbins. He even spent one full hour during our internal interactive company broadcast (The Cisco Beat) focusing solely on supporting the homeless and local homelessness support groups in the Bay Area. And we didn’t just talk about it either – our leadership inspires us to ACT, and Chuck committed during that same broadcast to raising $1 Billion to help eradicate homelessness.
Every day Cisco employees are encouraged to give back to their global and local communities. Cisco enables us to do this through our Time2Give initiative where employees are given 40 hours every year (outside of our regular PTO) to volunteer with organizations that mean the most to us. For certain organizations that are approved for Cisco Match, both our volunteer hours and monetary donations are matched by Cisco too!
Whether it be through our amazing technology or organizations we’re passionate about, Cisco encourages us to make the world a better place.
Another aspect of Cisco’s culture that speaks volumes to me is that of our tremendous efforts in regards to inclusion and diversity.
Inclusion and diversity is something that is very close to my heart, as my ancestors all immigrated to the United States for new opportunities. Some immigrated through Ellis Island, and others came here early enough to be in George Washington’s army fighting for our Independence. My great grandmother came here with $2.40 in her pocket, and my grandmother rolled cigars at the age of 13 and was a seamstress for over 30 years to help support the family.
The idea of inclusion and diversity are essentially the founding principles that the United States was built upon. My family itself is quite diverse. My wife, who speaks four languages, moved to the US with her parents and became a naturalized U.S. Citizen. We also have two great kids who are young adults that identify as members of the LGBTQ community.
Working for a company that truly views and values everyone as equals, sees my family as a crucial element to my success, and lives by the mantra of “be you, with us” is an uplifting experience. This sentiment means a lot to me and my family, and in encouraging me to bring my true self to work and supporting each unique individual as equal – I have seen the power behind these values. It personally makes me want to work harder (and smarter) for the continued success of Cisco.
It goes without saying that Cisco leads by example and shows we are a company with conscience and a unique set of principles. And those efforts ARE having a positive impact on me personally, on our culture, and to who we are as a company. Hopefully through our actions we are also inspiring the world to be a better place as well.
For years I knew that there was something DIFFERENT about being a Cisco employee, I just wasn’t quite sure what that difference was. Now I am proud to say that I know our strength is in our kindness, in how polite and professional we are, in how we open our hearts to giving back daily, and in how we embrace our differences and support inclusion and diversity.
I am proud to be a Cisco employee now, and I loved being able to tell that woman in the elevator – yes, #WeAreCisco!
Want to join a company that cares? We’re hiring. Apply now.