As a first-generation college student and a woman of color, navigating my educational journey was a path I faced alone. Growing up with a single, hardworking mother, I learned the value of self-reliance and determination early on. Her unwavering support instilled in me a tenacity to always seek betterment and embrace challenges.
While majoring in marketing and management at the University of Houston, scholarships became my gateway to education. Yet, it wasn’t just about securing financial aid but actively shaping my path to get the right opportunity. I leveraged support from career advisors and was not afraid to ask questions. From the outset, I immersed myself in various organizations and networks, recognizing the power of connections for internships and career prospects. Navigating these experiences, I knew I wanted to help other students in their career journeys.
My career really took root when I landed an internship at a major tech company. This experience not only broadened my human resource management expertise but also ignited my passion for nurturing those early careers. Volunteering in their employee resource group opened my eyes to the impact I could make in fostering diversity in the workplace, and leading a cohort of interns solidified my desire to help those early in their careers.
Fast forward to today, I’m proud to be part of Cisco as a University Engagement Manager dedicated to enhancing diversity. My role allows me to collaborate with Hispanic-serving institutions, historically Black colleges and universities, and diverse student organizations. Engaging with these communities through info sessions, career fairs, and conferences empowers me to be a voice for inclusivity. This work holds a special place in my heart because I’m both a minority and a first-generation corporate employee, and I understand the journey students may be walking through, and can help guide their way so they are not alone.
Beyond my 9-to-5, I am also on the leadership board for Conexion, Cisco’s Hispanic/Latinx employee resource group, which we call Inclusive Communities, as the Marketing Lead. It provides me opportunities to connect with people with a similar background as me and a place where I can find community. Being part of the leadership board, I help build that community and welcome allies eager to learn and support us. Cisco has 29 Inclusive Communities, so you can easily find one or more you identify with or want to be an ally to. Ultimately, these groups provide encouragement, leadership skills, and opportunities to make an impact and learn to be informed allies to various cultures, people, and perspectives.
Cisco’s culture is not just uplifting but empowering. It’s a place where my voice matters, where I feel valued and embraced. Here, I can actively shape the company’s hiring pipeline, bring in diverse talent, and contribute to our purpose of powering an inclusive future for all. I know the impact your first career opportunity can have on your life, and every success story from a student I’ve helped connect with the chance to have that experience at Cisco reaffirms my passion. Working for a company committed to building an inclusive future is more than a job — it’s a fulfilling journey. Cisco isn’t just a workplace; it’s a community where I belong, where I’m proud to help others find their footing and contribute to a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive tomorrow.
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