Nadja and son in front of street art.From the very first day of my career, which started in 2001, I have been working with Cisco solutions. It was (and still is) a well-known path to follow for engineers.

I started out by getting my university degree the moved on to obtain my Cisco certifications – Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP), and your Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE). Once I earned my CCIE number, I became part of an elite senior network team.

Growing together with Cisco was just like building Lego blocks. It was challenging, but there was a road map to guide me and I knew which piece I needed next to continue to grow my career.

15 years later, however, my family would move to Germany. And, for the first time in my life, it felt as if I had stepped on a pile of Lego blocks – I was struggling. Not only as I worked, traveled, and tried to create a sense of home in our new country – but I was also learning a new language, caring for our small children, and supporting my husband’s further education. We knew no one, and so, we didn’t have much help at the time.

It was around this time that I received the opportunity to work for Cisco Germany. I could not believe that this company, which I had held in such high regard throughout my education and career, was giving me a chance to represent them in the German market, to German customers – with my poor B1 language skills. (There is a level test for language competency and at B1, I was beyond a basic level of understanding, but not quite to full fluency just yet.)

I questioned myself, “Could I do this? Would I be able to compete?” At the end of the day, I thought, “I’ll give it a try. I’ll do my best, provide the best quality that I can, learn as much as I can – and see how it goes.”

Everyone was supportive – not just Cisco colleagues, as that is our company culture – but customers as well. And with each new project, I grew my confidence.

Nadja's son with San Francisco legos.

Then, came my first big project!

This would be a large opportunity for Cisco in a new technology field with lots of resources dedicated to its success – account teams, specialists, our leadership team, Customer Experience teams, and other business units. With so many moving parts, it would not have been a surprise for some confusion or missteps, perhaps. Instead, I was amazed by how the teams delivered with perfection, with minimal orchestrations. Everyone was so high synchronized.

And we did it – together, we won the biggest SDWAN (software-defined networking in a wide area network) project in Europe! What made this success a bit sweeter was that we accomplished this in FY20 through so many global challenges.

It is such a pleasure to be a part of this great team every single day, and to see how we collectively work together and collaborate for the benefit of everyone.

Towards the end of 2020, I was also thrilled to join yet another elite group – Cisco’s Chairman’s Club – that recognizes the top 1% of sales employees each year. It seems, despite so many challenges, I have succeeded in adding one more “Lego block” to my career journey.

Here is to building a better future for all.


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