They say a cat has nine lives – well, I am not a cat, but I seem to have led a “cat life.” You see, I had eight careers before I found Cisco almost 13 years ago. Teacher, event manager, model and actress – I was even a nurse, bank teller, and personal banker.
I truly did it all. So, what brought me to – and kept me at – Cisco?
Over my 13 years at Cisco, I’ve had six different roles. All of these roles have equipped and empowered me to combine my experience, exposure, and education with my strengths, passions and personal values. This alone helps me to continually succeed and enjoy every day at work – which I start just as excited and starry eyed as I was on my first day of joining Cisco.
Being an Air Force brat as a child, I moved cities and schools every two years until I entered university – which created the need for ways to build long lasting relationships and thus sparked an interest in photography. In photography, I found a way to keep the memories alive and stay connected with all the friends I had made in different cities.
In 2007, I joined Cisco as part of our team in Australia. However, in 2014, my husband was offered a job in the United States that would require our family to relocate. As Cisco is a global company, my team and leadership were incredibly supportive of my move to Cisco’s San Jose, California headquarters and I was able to transfer internationally with the same role. That’s just part of the power in being on a global team of 500+ people, spread across 15 different countries, and 10 different time zones!
Cisco also helped me to feel more connected when, in my very first month, I joined our Women of Cisco Employee Resource Organization (ERO). Here, I found plenty of opportunities to connect, create, and celebrate moments that matter – not only for women at Cisco (along with our customers and partners) but also across the larger #WomenInTech community with initiatives like Girls In STEAM.
As my career progressed, those experiences and interests evolved into creating high-impact, dynamic teams that would help amplify the power of human connection and add value as a global citizen.
In 13 years, I’ve also showed up consistently to every work and social event with my Canon camera in hand ready to capture the moments as they unfold and help to document our #WeAreCisco story. It’s something I’ve even become known for as I’ve received the nickname “Mamarazzi.”
How can you live the “#WeAreCisco #Mamarazzi Life” as well? Here five of my guiding principles:
1. “Don’t wait for the perfect moment, take the moment and make it perfect.” | At Cisco, every day at work is special for me, and each moment is really made perfect – because of the incredibly talented, smart, caring and passionate people who bring their whole selves to work, live in the moment, and make each interaction count. I have the privilege of working with and belonging to the best of the best teams at Cisco – across Sales, Customer Service and Customer Experience organizations.
2. “It is more important to click with people, than to click the shutter.” | There is so much more to photography that just clicking away at the shutter. The truth is, to take photographs that make you smile, warm your heart, and leave a lasting impression – your eye should learn to listen before it looks. This is also how others learn to trust that you’ll take a great photo, or – be there for them throughout the work day. Trust in relationships is earned when you show up, speak up, team up, and lift each other up consistently and congruently.
3. “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” | I absolutely love and am so proud of Cisco’s commitment to full-spectrum diversity and in having a conscious culture. This resonates deeply with me, and translates daily as we have a truly safe, inclusive work environment where everyone feels heard, valued, respected, and empowered. At Cisco, you can be yourself – and that is something that makes me feel encouraged by the way we are leading the global workplace.
4. “What you amplify, you believe.” | I often hear that colleagues or friends have apprehensions about engaging on social media. It’s tough to put yourself out there and can be scary if you’re not quite sure of the ‘rules’ – luckily, at Cisco, we’re encouraged to be ourselves. And we have a great support system and knowledgeable resources, too! Social media is one of the many communications tools for 21st century and just like everything else, it is up to us on how we decide to communicate, engage, react and lead. I am a huge fan of #WeAreCisco social media team and owe much of my social media know-how and presence thanks to advice, guidance, and tips I have learned from Carmen, Casie, and others on Cisco’s Talent Brand team.
5. “There is extraordinary in the ordinary.” | Last, but not least, I love working at Cisco because there is an opportunity to do great things and to do small things with great love. I have always been an ordinary, girl next door kind of person but thanks to the experience, exposure and education gained at Cisco, I have discovered my strengths, passion, sense of identity and I am inspired every day to be my best and do my best – both personally and professionally.
In Cisco, I found a company that enabled me to have a fulfilling and successful career, great learning experiences, and an incredible tribe of amazing global Cisconians that have become my ‘framily’ (friends that are family).
The countdown is on for my family and me, as we plan to move back to Australia by January 2021. This makes me even more thankful for the opportunity Cisco gave me to move and work at our San Jose headquarters as I was able to nourish face-to-face connections, while continuing to grow my global network and raise my family – all while doing work I love and fueling my passion in photography.
I know I will make the most out of this last year in California, and that the Cisco Mamarazzi will, no doubt, capture a world of moments that matter to take with me on our new adventure back to Australia.
Ready to join our global teams? We’re hiring. Apply now!
So glad to have read this, Varsha. You are as wise as you are beautiful! You know, I’m bummed for all of Cisco San Jose that you’re heading back to Australia. You know that our photo volume and quality from Cisco San Jose to social media will decrease a full 40%. >_<
Thank you, Justin, you have been an awesome Cisco role model for me. Hahaha …. yes, photo volume for sure ;P though I have train-the-trainer succession plan in place, to continue social action across Women Of Cisco SJC 😀
How beautifully expressed Varsha!
This is great! I was so fortunate that you brought me into Cisco and gave me opportunities for experience, exposure, education and lasting relationships! I share your passion for photography #Mamarazzi!
Awww …thank you Rhonda – I thoroughly enjoyed working with you as our #Globies PMO lead and learnt so much from you too. Yes, you are my #mamarazzi soul sister AND OMG, your baking/cooking skills are extraordinary. Looking forward to you coming to visit me in Australia so we can have a Globies reunion with Frances, Maria, Lac and others 🙂
Wow . I feel
Energized . So much in common . Great that our paths crossed
So true, Varsha. The commentary about finding the extraordinary in the ordinary is so important, especially these days. Small things matter! Oh, and please don’t go back to Australia, we need your spunk here in San Jose!!
Hahaha ….thank you Rebecca. I am immensely grateful to know you as a person and so happy that we are working together. You are a rockstar and I know I leave the team here in good hands with you continuing our team rituals and traditions to create, capture and celebrate moments that matter.
Awesome my friend!!
Love This ❤️, People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel. Always you are an inspiration, Varsha
Thank you Murali for taking the time to read the blog and for your encouragement.
Beautiful expressed. Love your leadership, your style and the cheer you bring around! We will miss you starting 2021. Thanks for inspiring so many!
Thank you Kavita for reading the blog and for your generous comments & great support always.
Your strengths, passions, and personal values come through in each of our interactions. Appreciate all that you do, Varsha! All the best to you and your family as you prepare for the move back to Australia!
Thank you Faith – you have been a great source of inspiration for me. So glad to know you and definitely plan to keep in touch, no matter where 2021 takes me 🙂
Great 5 guiding principles Varsha. Really glad to have known you !!
Hey Ponns – thank you for reading the blog and for being such a great teammate and a wonderful leader.
You inspire me every day, Varsha! Thanks for sharing your story. PS DON’T LEAVE ME! 🙂
hehehe …..you are stuck with me for life, Theresa Verba!!! 😉 We are going to always stay connected no matter where we are in life and in career. Love you so much – my soul sister and partner-in-ops excellence.
I loved hearing your story again! Very inspiring and insightful. I feel like this hit home 🙂
Aww …thanks for taking time to read the blog, Maria. You are a rockstar yourself and I am so glad to be working with you.
A great inspiring story you shared , Varsha !! Pleasure to have known you and wishing you the BEST !!!
Thank you so much, Sumit, I appreciate your comments and best wishes.
I’ve always appreciated your social media encouragement and tips. You are one of a kind, I hear your name and smile! Be well. Great blog.
Jill – thank you! I adore you and am immensely grateful for your encouraging support to me from Day 1, when I met you almost 6 yrs back, moving from Sydney to SJC. #YouInspire
I have learned so much from you Varsha. Thanks for always sharing your talents. Love working with you!
ML – #Ditto!!!! OMG- so much learning, inspiration and FUN, working together with you, past 5+ years on Women Of Impact annual events. You are a giver and a rockstar communicator. Thank you for your exceptional camaraderie till date. I appreciate you.
It’s a cool motivational narration. I’m a student in CCNA course and I have every day news about Cisco from Google. Photography is too my passion, I have visited many of European contries. I love sports and I’m excited to know new people. Also I perform my english and poetry skills. The future seems to be grate, I want to enjoy your team and belong professionals. I’m from Moldova, Hi to everyone!
Thank you Ion for your comments. Great to hear about you. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and also check out the great opportunities across Cisco via our career website – https://jobs.cisco.com/jobs/SearchJobs
Varsha you very well know what you are to me ! I loved reading this. I take so much inspiration from you on always having a smile and staying positive no matter. I still have your advice on social media in my mind. So bummed you are going back but so glad I met you and for all the beautiful memories you have wonderfully captured like a true mamarazzi! See ya soon for more memories
Beautiful article, Varsha! You are truly an amazing leader.
Inspiring article Varsha! you walked the talked and have such positive energy/vibe around you. It’s truly a pleasure to know you! And your 5 Guiding Principles – spot on! love it !
This blog truly encompasses how you show up every single day! You are a FORCE, Varsha Kanwar, and I am a better person for having you in my life! Now lets talk about these model and actress days that you forgot to share with me 😉
This is awesome! You are amazing and your journey is inspirational! I always enjoyed our connects and you have been a role model! Sad to hear that you will be moving to Australia, will miss you in all Cisco events.
Such a lovely write- up. Inspiring and so much to learn from it. Wishing many more successes and an awe inspiring journey further on. You bring so much joy and energy wherever you go. Proud of you jija.
Love this Varsha! I miss working with you! Always a smile, supportive ear and fabulous advice! May your move back to Aus go well and bring you many more adventures and successes!
Hi Varsha – This was incredible and your smile is always awesome and making us all smile for your cameras. Appreciate all you did and good luck to move back. We will surely miss you here in SJ.
Keep sending us Virtual photos.
Lovely to read Varsha – San Jose’s loss is our gain, looking forward to seeing you back in Australia!
Very well written Varsha! You are beautiful inside & out….i want to hear more about the model & actress part! : -) You’ve been hiding that! So glad to have met you and worked with you, but not looking forward to your moving away. Thanks for sharing the experiences & energy!
Well written Varsha- nice to have “read” about you after a long time. Trust everything else is well!
What a wonderful post from a wonderful lady.. cheerful, smart and full of energy.. a great leader and a mammarazzi !
I just came across this and it was so nice to read Varsha! You always have positive energy that radiates and I’m so fortunate to have crossed paths with you at Cisco. Thank you for sharing your story and I love your guiding principals!
Comments are closed.