Cisco employees wear many hats (literally and figuratively – ha!) Usually your “job description” is a suggestion, as you’re often asked to help different teams in different ways throughout your career.

One of the most fun “hats” each year is to be a judge for the #WeAreCisco #LoveWhereYouWork employee photo contest. It’s a coveted assignment, but it’s also probably one of the hardest you’ll ever work on.

Can you imagine the weight on your shoulders to pick 10 winners and 10 runners up (plus a grand prize!) out of thousands of employee-submitted photos (2500+ this year)?

Michaela Rodriguez, senior executive assistant to Rowan Trollope, SVP / GM of Applications and Julie Medrano, senior executive assistant to Hilton Romanski, Chief Strategy Officer took on the challenge. There were SEVERAL categories that needed a tie-breaker, and Helen Gall, We Are Cisco employee communications manager, stepped in to take on the challenge.

The judges have spoken. Below are the winners and runners up. Go to this link to see all of the finalists in each category.


The saying that a picture speaks a thousand words has never been more true. This photo was unanimously chosen as the GRAND PRIZE winner of this year’s contest! If this isn’t what #LoveWhereYouWork looks like, we don’t know what is!

It was submitted by Uana Li, Client Service Representative in Dalian, China.

Grand Prize Winner

Category: Photography Techniques

What photo just jumped out at the judges? This was a REALLY hard category.

We needed a tie-breaker, and first place goes to Kay Lenz Zapanta, a sales account manager in the Philippines. The judges liked the combination of color use and people.

Photography winner

Second place, with some very nice shutter speed work is Yiyun Meng, a software engineer in Shanghai with his photo of an aerial view of this Cisco campus after sunset.

Best Photography Runner Up

Category: Furry Coworkers

Our four-legged friends help us innovate by providing cuddles and fun.

The winner is the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) Cisco goat with a very stylish scarf submitted by Brandon Black, an IT project/program manager in San Jose, California.

Furry Coworkers Winner

Also in his Cisco finest, Sammy (half Shih Tzu half Pomeranian) sports a Cisco bandana thanks to his mom/runner-up, Frances Bettis, who is a recruiter in Cisco’s Sales organization also working in California.

Furry Coworkers Runner Up

Category: Cisco Kids

This was a category added AFTER the contest started, because there were so many employees who said that the flexible work was one of the reasons they loved working at Cisco, which allowed them to spend time with family.

The winner in this category is Carrie Bruce, a sales business development manager in Orlando, Florida, who loves when her grandkids can stop into her home office for some hugs and kisses.

Cisco Kids Winnr

Runner up, Jan Von Der Lage, who is a marketing manager in Germany, shows us that work/life balance is keeping him as a strong contributor at Cisco!

Cisco kids runner up


Category: Cisco Logo Love

Do we love our logo? You betcha! The winner was unanimous, but the runner up needed a tie-breaker.

Congratulations to Maria Fernanda Fernandez Montero, consulting engineer for Cisco Collaboration Solutions in Mexico City, who carries her logo wherever she goes.

Love Our Logo winner

The runner up is Rajarshi Das Gupta, a customer success manager in Bangalore, India, who took “We Are Cisco” to new “depths” of meaning.

Love Our Logo Runner up

Category: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Don’t you want to work at a company like this with people like this? Yeah you do! Apply here.

One of the top reasons employees say they love working at Cisco is that they work with the best people in the best teams, so of course this category had a LOT of entries. The winner in this category was also unanimous, with a tie-breaker needed for our #2.

Congratulations to Oxana Tselovalnikova, who is a systems engineer in Moscow. She says it’s fun at work in the Moscow office every Monday and Thursday for her team stretching class.

Teamwork Winner

Second place prize goes to Ale Salgado Ramirez, who loves her team on and off the soccer field!

Team Runner Up

Category: Biggest/Best Selfie

Employees are particularly fond of selfies (who isn’t?), but Cisco Mexico dominated this category!

With a strong selfie-stick game, the winner in this category goes to Jose Ruiz Garcia, a consulting services engineer, which was taken at a Data Center team BBQ in Mexico City.

Selfie Winner

Runner up is Dany Ruiz and team watching the Cisco Beat (our all-employee meeting), sending some “hearts” from Guadalajara, Mexico.

Selfie Runner Up


Category: Diversity Makes Us Stronger

If we were all the same, it would be A) boring and B) we wouldn’t be as good at our jobs, because different perspectives make us innovate faster!

The winner in this category also showed their selfie skills! Puneet Singh and his colleagues were visiting the “mother ship” (our San Jose headquarters) for the first time and snapped this shot with the colleagues who were also sharing the adventure. Puneet came all the way from Singapore, where he is a communications manager.

Diversity Winner

Runner up Hesham Abd Elrazeq showed us how his team comes together and wins together. Everyone brings ideas to the table, and then they take a photo! 😉 Hesham is an applications consultant for Cisco Services in Egypt.

Diversity Runner Up

Category: Fun At Work

A lot of folks outside of Cisco call us a “corporate dinosaur” – as you can see, we ARE, but only when we’re dressed up in a T-Rex suit roaming the Mexico City offices, otherwise, we’re a cool bunch of employees who like to bring fun into the office.

Congratulations to Erika Alejandre, a network engineer in Mexico City, for making us all laugh out loud LOL 🤣.

Fun at Work Winner

The number two prize goes to Dechen Xu, who showed us that his team believes they can fly! Or at least, get off the ground for a moment or two. Jumping photos are a favorite at Cisco! Dechen is a software/QA engineer in Shanghai.

Fun at Work Runner UP

Category: Giving Back

Volunteering is so built into the Cisco culture that this category always gets a lot of entries, making it hard for the judges to choose a favorite. But choose they did.

The winner is Kathy Wen, a customer assurance program manager in Hong Kong, showing us how the technical services team spent some time together in Australia building bikes for children in need (and had a little fun in the process.)

Giving Back Winner

The runner up, Vadiraj R. and his team showed of their Cisco spirit when they volunteered together in Ladakh, India for the Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement. Vadiraj is a software engineer in  Bangalore.

Giving Back Runner Up

Category: Cisco Technology

Technology doesn’t change the world, people do. But Cisco employees LOVE technology and all the cool projects we work on.

The winner in this category is Kiran Karki, who says his superpower is being an engineer! Here he and his team are getting the job done in Sydney, Australia.

Technology Winner

Runner up is Pooja Bathla, who says she is a Cisco IT Goddess (also known as a customer support engineer in Bangalore, India.) “With her auspicious strength she binds the world together through her powers and many hands. she is the leader, fighter, creater, orator, and believer and feels empowered as a Cisco #womanintech.”

Technology Runner Up

Category: Freestyle

Lastly, Cisco spends so much time innovating and thinking in new ways, that we know not everything fits into a category. Thus, we have our freestyle winners.

The judges agreed, this very creative team in Beijing brought in the digital and blended light painting, multiple exposure and more to show off their skills. Congratulations Wenzheng Li, who (skillfully) works with audio & visual for the Customer Experience Center team.

Freestyle Winner

Runner up in this category is awarded to Lucero Fernandez Simpson who works in Business Development from our Cisco Costa Rica office with her drone photo showing how much she loves Cisco and her team – Pura Vida!

Freestyle Runner Up


If you want to see ALL of the entries – all 2500+ of them – you can browse through the full list here.

Thank you to all Cisconians for making our third-annual #WeAreCisco #LoveWhereYouWork contest extra special!



Carmen Shirkey Collins

Social Media Manager

Talent Brand and Enablement Team, HR