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Four Employees, Half a Century, a Lifetime of Experiences


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What makes you stay?

The people? The work? Cats on conference calls?

The reason is a little bit different and a little bit the same for all of us. There’s nothing like a Ciscoversary (Cisco + Anniversary = Ciscoversary) to make a person reflect.

Here’s why four employees stick around.

Twenty Years at Cisco

A person gives and receives a lot of advice in 20 years. Donald De Witte shared some good advice he got early on at Cisco and how it led him to many careers within the company:

“I still remember one of my first review meetings. My manager said, ‘Donald, I can give you the tools and guidelines to manage your career, but you have to do it.”

“Often times, when you hear of someone who has been at the same company for many, many years, you think they’ve been doing the same ol’ thing the entire time. In these past 20 years, I would also come to move around between organizations, obtaining an even broader knowledge of the company with each transition, and at the same I was enabled to bring value to Cisco.”

Find out more about Don’s journey in his Ciscoversary blog, 20 Years and 3 Careers, All at Cisco.

Eighteen Years at Cisco

The big milestones are memorable and the small moments are meaningful. Jill Shaul talks about some of the moments that made her stay here for 18 years such as:

 “A small group can make a big difference. A few years ago, three employees said, ‘Our culture isn’t great and we have to change it.’ Then our leadership team did a crazy thing — they listened to us and changed our culture. The moment Fran stood on stage and shared a portrait of Alex’s journey (Alex represented the ups and downs of all employees), I recommitted myself to Cisco with an enthusiastic ‘I’m all in. Bring it!'”

What are the five other reasons Jill stays? Read her Ciscoversary blog, 18 Years on Purpose.

Ten Years at Cisco

Hard work and a joyful perspective are common denominators in Toneya Sarwar’s journey. In her quest to find balance between work and family, she found herself and discovered:

“Getting the balance right for working mums is a favourite topic of blogs and books that fill the self-help shelves. We are caught between the feminists and capitalists, the religious scholars and the politicians. Yet each of us is unique, and though Sheryl Sandberg told us it was OK to feel this way, I still find it hard to ‘lean in’. It is something I am constantly working at — this life/work balance so many of us seek.”

“For me, work had to be more than just the dash between 9 to 5; it had to be more than tasks and outcomes. Sacrificed time with family had to align to my values; it had to make a difference.”

Read more about Toneya’s journey to find balance between work and family in her blog, 10 Years at Cisco.

Six Years at Cisco

Along our journey, we meet managers, mentors, and colleagues that help us plot our course. Surya Raju talks about her career and the people along the way who helped her:

“For my journey, it is all thanks to so many wonderful mentors and leaders here who encouraged and challenged me to learn new concepts and find work I love doing.”

“My experience also had me rethink how we perceive mentorship — who can be a mentor and what impact can it leave? The answer, to me, is that anyone can be a mentor — and even a five-minute meeting can lead to big things for your future and leave their mark.”

Find out more about Surya’s career journey in her blog, 6 Years of Awesome—Celebrating my Ciscoversary.

The advice, the moments, the balance, the mentors … the people, the work, and even the periodic pet parade.

All of this and so much more are what makes us more than a company, an organization, or a team. It makes us a community. A community so many of us are proud to call #WeAreCisco.

Which Ciscoversary are you celebrating? What’s one reason you stay? Tell us in the comments below.

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