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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

How Cisco’s Dedication to DEI Helped It Preserve One among Its Greatest Workers for 23 years (and counting!)

An organization isn’t topped “finest place to work within the U.S.” for a 3rd yr in a row by probability. It takes intentionality, consciousness, and dedication. From publicly dedicating  $300-million-dollars to assist social justice, to internally holding leaders accountable for sponsoring the subsequent era of various expertise by way of The Multiplier Impact (TME)–Cisco’s dedication is at all times daring. And the accountability is at all times there.

To construct on its function of Powering an Inclusive Future for All, Cisco gives practically 20 variety, fairness, and inclusion (DEI) packages and occasions. Final fiscal yr, greater than 2,500 Cisconians amassed nearly 34,000 hours of structured DEI studying. Nakia Stringfield was certainly one of them.

Proudly owning your profession takes initiative

A woman wearing glasses and a blue blazer, smiling for the camera
Nakia Stringfield, a director on Cisco’s Buyer Expertise staff

Nakia is a director on Cisco’s Buyer Expertise staff and has been a proud Cisconian for 23 years. Nevertheless, there was a time earlier in her profession the place she contemplated resigning. This all modified when she attended a life-changing convention in 2008.

“The Simmons Girls Management Convention was my first time going to a big skilled occasion focused at girls, serving to to empower and develop leaders,” Nakia says. She noticed girls of various backgrounds together with some who regarded like her, proudly talking as their true selves. And this meant lots. As a Black girl who grew up within the rural southern United States, Nakia went from typically being the one girl and/or particular person of colour within the room, to being in a room crammed with girls of various backgrounds who have been present or aspiring leaders. It was highly effective.

“I received a booster shot of confidence and encouragement. It was empowering to see individuals who have been on the identical journey as me and have navigated challenges. I spotted I wanted to remain in these areas from time to time to be impressed to maintain going. If these girls at Simmons can go from engineers, to leaders, to CEOs–why can’t I?”

Proudly owning your profession takes alternative

Roughly half of Cisco’s DEI packages can be found by way of strategic partnerships and conferences like Simmons. And Nakia has labored her strategy to attending many. Within the years since Simmons, she’s additionally participated within the Government Management Council, Data Expertise Senior Administration Discussion board, and Administration Management for Tomorrow–packages all devoted to creating leaders.

By way of Cisco’s personal studying and growth options, Nakia has attended Subsequent Technology Leaders, the place managers and staff develop belief as a basis for connecting throughout distinction. She’s additionally been a sponsee and at the moment sponsors 4 individuals of various backgrounds by way of The Multiplier Impact (TME).

And, as a member of Related Black Skilled (CBP), Nakia participates in reverse mentoring which companions employees with senior executives to bridge gaps in variations and understanding. CBP is certainly one of Cisco’s 28 Inclusive Communities the place greater than 30,000 staff can join, develop management expertise, and function change brokers.

“These packages taught me extra about exhibiting up, networking strategically, and advocating for myself and others,” displays Nakia. “They’re not the one cause I used to be promoted, however I know they have been key elements in how I confirmed up as a frontrunner within the group and market. They have been transformational.”

Proudly owning your profession takes an funding

For years, firms handled DEI like leg day on the gymnasium. They knew they need to do it, skipped it anyway, and hoped it’d go unnoticed.

However jobseekers and present staff are extra conscious than ever. Right now, DEI is a vital constructing block for a profitable enterprise, and the numbers again this up:

  • 86% of job candidates globally say DEI within the office is essential to them. [1]
  • Numerous firms are 25% extra prone to have above-average profitability. [2]
  • Firms with inclusive cultures have 22% decrease turnover charges. [3]

Creating areas for DEI studying is an important a part of Cisco’s DNA. Management acknowledges the necessity to foster a various and inclusive workforce to create a office the place staff really feel valued, revered, and empowered to achieve their full potential. This additionally helps Cisco appeal to and retain one of the best expertise potential–like Nakia–and is one cause why nearly half of its workforce has been with the corporate for greater than 5 years [4] regardless of the Nice Resignation.

Nakia invested in herself by taking full possession of her profession journey by way of Cisco’s DEI packages. And these packages proceed to supply a studying surroundings for her progress at each flip. It’s why she’s nonetheless right here and plans to be for years to return.

Contact the DEI registrations staff if you happen to’re a Cisconian all for studying extra about how one can personal your profession by way of DEI packages and occasions.

For everybody else, study extra about Cisco’s dedication to DEI work and powering an inclusive future for all by studying the 2022 Objective Report and Cisco’s 12 Social Justice Actions.

See what others are saying about DEI studying and growth at Cisco!

A man wearing a white business shirt
Bryan Stewart

“NGL was/is without doubt one of the finest packages for creating new management expertise. NGL allowed me and my supervisor, Christopher Whittaker, to grasp how one’s tradition performs a significant half in growth. I used to be lucky that my supervisor, Chris is African American, so we have been in a position to perceive our place on a novel stage. Having the ability to talk with different leaders whereas having disruptive/powerful conversations was invaluable.” Bryan Stewart, Subsequent Technology Leaders




Lesbians who Tech logo that is black with white font and says queer, inclusive, badass“Lesbians Who Tech was one of the best convention I’ve been to. The alternatives to study spanned a number of features of know-how (to incorporate information) and various potentialities on find out how to proceed to evolve as a human being within the office. In my opinion, that is notably very important for these of us who work in tech, which continues to dramatically form the world during which we reside.” – Nameless, Lesbians Who Tech



A woman wearing lipstick and a gold necklace
Sol Solorzano

“What an excellent convention! As common, the HITEC convention is invigorating, and vegetation seeds for subsequent wave of innovation.” – Sol Solorzano, Hispanic Data Expertise Government Council




[1] Variety and Inclusion in Hiring (Hiring.Monster.ca)

[2] Variety wins. How inclusion issues (McKinsey & Firm – Might 2020 – PDF)

[3] Inclusive Mobility: How Mobilizing a Numerous Workforce Can Drive Enterprise Efficiency (Deloitte – PDF)

[4] Nice Place to Work – Cisco – Licensed Aug 2033 – Aug 2024 USA


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