Giving back with Cisco

October 18, 2021

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Career opportunities making lifelong employees

When we asked Veronica Marriott how long she has been at Cisco, she said – with a big smile – that she’s just had her 14-year anniversary. Her husband recently joked with her that it might be time to leave, and she countered,

“I just love it! The culture is amazing, as are the individuals I work with every day. Cisco people are welcoming, embracing, have your back. Plus they have a mentality of innovation and risk taking globally.”

For Veronica, it’s the breadth of opportunities that has encouraged her to stay with Cisco. She’s had global, regional and local roles, being based in the US, Asia Pacific and Australia. The excitement started on her first day of work, when she went to the airport instead of an office. She flew from Seattle (where she was based then) to London for a week and on to Singapore. She enthused,

“It was so much fun!”

Veronica has also worked across the business. First figuring out how a new offer would work for Cisco’s partners, then on to working out a new e-commerce system for Cisco’s partners. From there, Veronica moved into service delivery, on to customer success and most recently into sales. 

“Over the many roles, I’ve had global, regional, local, massive teams, little teams, been an individual contributor, been a manager of managers and a manager of a team of 5. It’s been super varied. I love diversity and change and doing new things.”

In her seven roles at Cisco, more than half were newly created for her and hadn’t existed before. 

“I’ve earned the reputation that if it’s never been done before, I’m probably interested in doing it!”

Of her new sales role, she shares,

“This is a next level experience for me, I’m learning so much. In lockdown I’m just working all the time and it’s an absolute blast. I’m on a global team with regional responsibility. We’re incubating the new service offerings that we’re building to help customers throughout the product life cycle.

It’s all about helping our customers be successful.” 

Having never wanted to work for a large corporation, and spending the first half of her career in start-ups, Cisco’s bias for action and the way they embrace change has given her a hugely fulfilling career there. 

“If you have a good idea you can try it, they’ll let you give it a go. There is a really strong element of innovation and risk taking and that really appeals to me.”

A focus on community and inclusion

At Cisco, all employees are given a minimum of five days each year to give back in a way that is meaningful to them. Veronica has always dreamed of going out and making a difference, and shares,

“Every time I turn around there is an opportunity for me to do good in the world and it’s so invigorating.”

Veronica had the privilege of building out a mentor program called MentorMe. In her first year in Australia, she was one of eight mentors for students at UTS. Frustrated by some of the stories being told by mentees, Veronica was determined to make a bigger impact. She took over the program, and over three years grew it to 100 mentees at 12 universities. 

“It was one of the best experiences of my life.”

She was blown away by the commitment and enthusiasm that was displayed by hundreds of her Cisco colleagues, to make MentorMe a success. 

“I don’t know another company where you could put together something so big, that required so many volunteering hours from the community and everybody just says, ‘yep I’m in’. That is representation of the Cisco culture.”

Cisco has a number of initiatives in the D&I space, including Employee Resource Groups for every community. Veronica spoke about D&I becoming part of a company’s DNA – when the conversation doesn’t have to be so deliberate, because it just happens all of the time. Cisco is on its way to that gold standard. 

Tips for creating a career you love

We don’t speak to many people with as much enthusiasm for their job as Veronica has, so we asked her for her tips that she’d share with someone wanting to be as happy as she is 14 years down the track:

  • Know your values. “It’s important to really know yourself, and make sure that your values are aligned to the organization that you’re joining. Dig into that in interviews and research before you join a company.”
  • Understand your strengths. “Knowing your strengths allows you to make decisions based on whether the opportunity in front of you is going to allow you to thrive by leveraging your strengths.”
  • Pay attention to the day-to-day. “I’ve realized it doesn’t matter what your title is. It matters how you’re spending your day. If you’re making a positive impact and you make your goals clear, then opportunities will come that align to your goals.”

“That’s how I make my decisions – does it fit within my values and is it going to allow me to use my strengths, if yes, it’s going to be a blast.”

From here, all Veronica knows is that she’s going to keep doing things that haven’t been done before.

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About the Author
Samantha Sutherland is the Chief Storyteller at WORK180. She is a Diversity and Inclusion specialist with an analytical background, making her work evidence-based and data driven. Host of WORK180’s Equality Talks podcast and her own Women at Work, Samantha divides her time between interviewing amazing women for WORK180, mentoring and coaching women in, or aspiring to, leadership roles, and providing high-level advice on diversity practices to Australian corporations. You can learn more about the Samantha Sutherland consultancy at samanthasutherland.com.au.

Looking for a new opportunity?

Our transparent job board only has vacancies from employers we endorse and lets you see what benefits, policies and perks come with the job. Check out the latest job vacancies with Cisco