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.

Varsha stands in a Cisco office as people around her are blurred in motion.

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.

Varsha and a peer stand back to back smiling with their cameras in front of a topiary wall with a Cisco logo.

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.

Varsha, with a camera around her neck, and her peers give a thumbs up in front of a mural of a bridge.

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!


Varsha Kanwar

Chief Of Staff

TS Global GTM