Stephen next to Cisco sign.How do you know #LoveWhereYouWork is more than a saying? For me, there’s lots of reasons – but less than three weeks before the arrival of my firstborn, my team in Customer Experience showed that in a way unlike any other.

During an all hands meeting, it was announced that a member of our leadership was at someone’s door with a surprise. Everyone was shocked, and immediately the team’s expressions shifted as a few asked, “What is happening?”

The leader rang the doorbell – no answer. A few minutes went by, a few more rings, and still no answer. I found myself thinking, “I hope this person is home. I mean, where else would they have gone during this call?” I then thought to check my doorbell camera, just in case. This camera NEVER goes offline – except today. Around that time, I heard my previous leader say, “He is still just staring at his camera – just staring!”

Wait, could it really be me?

I ran downstairs, opened the door and found her standing there with balloons and a few boxes of diapers. It turns out she was at MY door! Why didn’t I hear the rings? Well, thanks to my two wonderful dogs who get overly excited when packages show up, the doorbell is disconnected.

My team, 120 talented individuals spanning three countries, watched live on Webex as I held back tears from the overwhelming feelings of joy.

As I walked back upstairs to my office, I sat back down to find every single team member had either changed their background to celebrate the baby boy coming into my life or held up handmade signs to their camera. For the second half of the meeting, the leadership team led a fun and engaging conversation about what parenthood means to them.

If I didn’t already know it, I surely would’ve known it then – I have found my second family at Cisco.

Stephen on a Webex call celebrating his son's birth.In 2018, I transitioned out of military life (U.S. Air Force) and back into civilian life. Leaving something you love, have known for 10 years, and enables you to serve – is tough. But as I look back on my career journey with Cisco – there isn’t a moment I haven’t thought that those same values are shared values.

The first time I met a leader with Cisco’s VETS Inclusive Community (and then later a larger gathering of the community members) – I was impressed. A year later, when I re-connected with some familiar faces from VETS during a career hiring event at N.C. State (You would not believe how crowded the Cisco table was! Everyone wanted to talk to Cisco!) – I was actively seeking roles at Cisco. And then, in 2019, the moment I was offered the opportunity to join Cisco as a Customer Success Specialist with our Security teams – I knew I had found something special.

At Cisco, I found a company that not only genuinely cares about our customer’s success – but they care about my success and career growth, too! My leadership team believes in me and provides me the mentorship that I need to be my best self. They empower me to be the best individual I can be, not only for Cisco but also for my family – understanding that we are more than a ‘9-5’ job or role.

I also love that we are a company that cares about giving back, and with the 40 hours of volunteer time I receive each year I help other transitioning veterans who were just like me. Cisco understands the unique challenges that these men and women face, and it means so much to me that they’ve provided me with time to mentor these service members.

My skip-level leader loves to talk about how we have two families. One family is the folks that we are related to, and the other is our work family.

I am lucky to have found my work-family at Cisco, and that they celebrate each milestone with me.


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Stephen Summerall

Customer Success Specialist - Security

Customer Success - Stealthwatch