Supermarket Sweeps Cisco Style

Have you seen Supermarket Sweep on TV?  If so, you know it’s a hectic mad-dash of a competition. Cisco’s Employee Financial Services IT Group, however, took speed-shopping to a whole new level, all while giving back to our local community!

My team is spread across the globe from North Carolina to California, and Japan, London, and India, but we don’t let our distance prevent us from giving back. We have made a consistent effort to give back to our communities and rely on each other to accomplish those goals.

Recently, I flew from San Jose, California to Raleigh, North Carolina to receive technical IT Analyst training as well as meet some of my team members. As a part of my team’s bonding activity, we decided it would be a fun way to get to know each other by… grocery shopping!

We set out to shop for lunch items at the nearby grocery store to pack lunches for women and children who reside in the emergency shelter in downtown Raleigh. To make it even more challenging and fun, we decided to split up in teams with a clear mission: whoever finishes checking out all the necessary lunch items the fastest – wins.

I don’t think there is a better way to get to know someone than by racing around a grocery store piling food in your cart. Chaotic doesn’t even begin to explain the level of franticness and thrill we faced, but we also had to build a strategy, communicate, and implement our plan to succeed. In case you were wondering, my partner and I came in last after we got lost trying to find the aisle that the fruit bowls were in. Very disappointing, to say the least.

Even with coming in last, we all felt the challenge added a whole new element to giving back.

After we congratulated the winners, we went back to the Cisco cafeteria and started making our lunches in an assembly-line fashion: everyone worked together, everyone was important. Some of my teammates were sorting snacks for the diabetic women and children while some were packing the sandwiches. The strength of our team really relied on the strength of each individual team member.

It’s an important lesson that I now carry through to my daily work.

As an IT Analyst for Cisco IT, my role supports the development of software and programs of Cisco Payroll & Stock. In all the days I’ve spent at Cisco thus far, I’ve truly learned that my team members are there to support and guide me, and I can rely on them for any of the struggles that come my way.

As a recent graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, selecting a company post-graduation that had values in both social responsibility and strong teamwork was important to me. I’m so fortunate to have selected Cisco, a company that not only supports employees in their efforts in volunteering and giving back, but encourages them to do so together.

I have found so much support here at Cisco, on all levels, and my colleagues are consistently encouraging each other to invest time and efforts in to giving back. So when people ask me if I like where I work, I have to correct them because I love where I work!

Want to love where you work? We’re hiring!


Madi Vastare

Project Lead- Travel IT

Employee Financial Services