A few months ago, a fellow Cisco employee set the ball rolling on a wild, fun, Star Wars adventure.

He asked in an all-company meeting, the Cisco Beat, if we could celebrate Star Wars Day #Maythe4th as a company. I love to bring a bit of goofiness into work, and it’s always exciting when we get to do it on the company level (#nerdalert.)

When @WeAreCisco announced the #WeAreCisco #LoveWhereYouWork #Maythe4th contest at another one of our Cisco Beats, I was super jazzed, and almost forgot the question I had prepared for the ELT (Executive Leadership Team). My manager was watching at the same time on CiscoTV in Sweden. He emailed me immediately and said “I expect you to win this.”

My Cisco family readily embraces my particular nerd tastes and have come to love the hidden R2D2 references and team offsite requests to see Rogue One. Alas, not everyone is as big of a fan as me, however, my fandom lives in legend.

My favorite Star Wars films are actually the prequels, which I know are not everyone’s cup of tea. I find them wonderfully quirky, endearing and cheesy (who doesn’t love cheese?!). However, The Force Awakens also holds a place in my heart because it showcased a female heroine who kicks butt and is still able to connect emotionally with the audience. Plus, there’s BB-8, and you can’t save the galaxy without your faithful robot sidekick.

I have a whole closet of Star Wars costumes and choosing the best costume and scene for my entry took some careful storyboarding. My favorite costume is a Padmé Amidala robe that I had made in Morocco. Fun fact – did you know that many of the Star Wars costumes are inspired by the traditional North African dress, and that Tatooine was filmed in Tunisia? However, I really wanted to highlight both girls in tech and some of my favorite parts about working in tech at Cisco. The clear choice to properly represent girlpower in tech is Rey, so I started crafting the scene on Jakku.

Luckily, my little sidekick Roxy (BB8) and my fiancé are used to my crazy schemes. We spent an afternoon on the beach in Santa Cruz getting the right shot. Roxy had fun being BB-8 and got plenty of attention from the ‘extras’ on the beach. In the end, I think we found the perfect representation of the sand dunes of Jakku by standing on the construction pipes.

Winning photo
My winning entry!

One of the best parts about working at Cisco is that Cisco technology allows us to stay connected no matter where you are. I love to travel, give back to my community, and work on real world problems. With Cisco, I can do it all. Some weeks you’ll find me on the Great Wall of China, other times volunteering in Ghana or my own community. As a Program Manager for Cisco’s Global Alliance Team, I build relationships, influence change, and manage day-to-day operations from either Santa Cruz or Romania, wherever the work, the wind or the cause takes me.

When I told my manager I had won the #WeAreCisco #Maythe4th contest he said, “Of course you did!” (See all of the #WeAreCisco #LoveWhereYouWork #Maythe4th entries here.)

To all girls in tech and anyone who wants to work at Cisco, my advice is don’t be afraid to be authentic and always take on the big challenges. After all, success is concentrated where there is laughter.

Be you’re authentic self with us! #WeAreCisco and you can see open roles here.



Faina Segal

Program Manager

Global Partner Organization – Ericsson Alliance