Every year, Cisco’s Talent Brand team hosts the #WeAreCisco #LoveWhereYouWork contest where we get to share moments that matter to us and why we love working at Cisco throughout social media.

THIS YEAR, however, there was a little change.

In my inbox one morning was a message from Cisco’s Senior Vice President and GM of Internet of Things (IoT) Liz Centoni announcing a sub-contest for #WomenInTech that would be held within the larger friendly competition. Immediately, I was intrigued.

What’s better than loving where you work and being part of the incredible Cisconian tribe? Well, being a Cisco woman in tech for starters – and this part of the contest was aiming to highlight the impressive women in technology that work here. What’s more, I knew seeing these images would motivate other women to join us here at Cisco.

Cisco is well known for being a great place to work across the globe. But I also want to shine a spotlight on the fact that it is also an amazing place to work for women looking to be a part of a forward moving, collaborative, inspiring work environment.

I started to gather my photos from various moments throughout my career at Cisco, and began submitting. I anxiously awaited the results, and then – finally, winners were announced and I received the news that I was one of four winners for the #WomenInTech part of the contest. One of my images was a finalist, and another was a winner!

The prize was to receive connected recognition (how we Cisconians recognize each other for a job well done) and, most importantly (and the one thing I was most excited about), meet Liz Centoni over Cisco TelePresence! To be honest, I never imagined that meeting with an executive from any company would be an easy task. However, not only did Cisco’s technology make this a breeze, but our culture too put me at ease as here titles melt away and we are all one true Cisco family.

My role at Cisco is as a Consulting Engineer and I just completed my CCIE Routing & Switching certification. I was also recently assigned to be the consultant engineer for an IoT project happening in Egypt. I knew I wanted to mention this to Liz in our meeting as she is the SVP for IoT.

I was surprised that she knew everything about this project right down to minute details. Not only did this give me extra motivation, but I felt inspired because I knew I was working on a very big project that was reaching many people and having a wide impact!

One question I absolutely had to ask Liz was, “How can I be like you?” I asked Liz with a big smile and eyes full of dreams.

Ever humble, Liz replied that it took a 16 year journey in Engineering to get where she is currently. She was on this journey with no fear of taking risks, while exploring different topics, and with the continued support from people around her.

What Liz perhaps doesn’t know is that by following her dreams and reaching the position she currently holds – she is not only stretching her goals to the absolute max, but she is also stretching our goals and making so many women in tech see that there is absolutely no limits in front of us. I believe that the most influential way to invite more women into technology is to become an influence and a role model yourself, just like Liz.

During our meeting, Liz also invited me to join our Women in Science & Engineering (WISE) Employee Resource Organization (ERO) which is a community of technical women working at Cisco who have a goal of creating positive impact in the lives of women and girls inside and outside of Cisco. Liz is the executive sponsor for WISE, and I feel like this is one step will help me achieve my dreams of encouraging other women to join the technology field as well.

It was an awesome opportunity to join this photo contest and see the passion that Cisconians have for each other and what we do. I was so happy to win, and most importantly – honored to meet with Liz. It was a moment that mattered to me and I am looking forward to next year’s contest!

Employees, are you ready for the 2019 #WeAreCisco #LoveWhereYouWork contest and your chance to win? It all kicks off again TOMORROW, January 18th!

Want to join a company that inspires? We’re hiring. Apply now.


Menna Ayad

Consulting Engineer

Customer Experience