I love where I work. As a Product Manager at Cisco, I get to influence and change the way people connect to the network. But how much do I love where I work? Enough to bring my daughter to work!

Although, I think I took the term “bring your kid to work” to the next level. You may be thinking, like many parents, that I sometimes would bring my kids to work with me for annual celebrations where they could see what their parents do during the day. And, while my kids have visited the Cisco offices and participated in Bring Your Kids to Work Day, this is a different story.

You see, one of Cisco’s newest employees is my daughter Dana! She is working for the Silicon One team – they’re the team who builds the only unifying architecture that runs inside Cisco routers and switches, and believe it or not, Dana is not even 18 yet!

Tal and his daughter in the Cisco office.

But first things first. How did we get here?

Back in February 2018 at Cisco Live Barcelona, I had dinner with my colleagues. Just as I was about to bite into one of my favorite tapas dishes – Pan a la Catalana (toasted bread with tomatoes) – I got the following WhatsApp message, “Dad, if I want to see the route between two hosts, should I use the Traceroute command?”

It was my then 14-year-old daughter, Dana. Up until this point in her life, her main computer use case was for playing The Sims. I thought (jokingly, of course), “Who the hell are you and where is my real daughter?”

I stepped outside the restaurant to call Dana and confirm it was actually her asking me this question. She explained the inspiration for her inquiry. During math class, representatives of a program called “Magshimim” (Fulfillment) were looking for new recruits for a three-year program that would take place after school hours. The program is a national cyber education program aiming to excel in cyber-tech, equipping the young students with knowledge and tools for a future high-tech career. She wanted to join, and I supported her. I might have even been excited for her newfound interest!

After 3 very intensive years, Dana found a passion for technology. And on top of enhanced math, physics & computer science classes she studied during school hours, she also studied hacking, SQL, python, java, C, assembly, computers architecture and more. During her graduation ceremony, she was one of the students who was selected to deliver a speech and I could not have been more proud.

I shared that story on Linkedin, thinking that every father wishes that his kids will be more successful than him, never thinking where this might lead.

A Silicon One team member, Yael, saw my post. Yael, who has two kids that graduated from the same program, knew what kids from this program are capable of, and sent me a message, “Does Dana want to work for Cisco?”

The rest is History. Or maybe the future?

Working for Cisco allows me to change the life of millions of people I will never know – people who use the product I manage, the Identity Services Engine (ISE), without even knowing that they are using it. They are simply people who expect to connect to the network to get their job done.

But Cisco also gave me the opportunity to change the life of one very very important person – my own daughter Dana. I am so proud that we both now get to say that we love where we work!


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Tal Surasky

Engineering Product Manager

Enterprise Networking