Building the Future. Making Our Mark.

Liz Centoni, Vice President of Engineering
Christine Bastian, Vice President of, Human Resources for Engineering

At Cisco we connect everything, innovate everywhere, and benefit everyone. While technology may provide the foundation for all we do, our innovation comes from our people. This was abundantly apparent at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women (GHC) in Computing Conference, which took place on October 14-16, 2015 in Houston, Texas. This annual event is the largest gathering of women technologists on the planet, bringing together 12,000 female “geeks” for inspiration, innovation and professional development.

We were delighted to be co-Executive Sponsors for this event on behalf of our EVP and Chief Development Officer, Pankaj Patel.

This was our sixth year at this conference. It was held at the George R. Brown Convention Center and our objective was to advance the learning of our employees and attract new talent to Cisco. We are truly inspired by women innovators who are curious to learn, dream big and want to make their mark on the world. As key sponsor we wanted to help women connect, build lasting networks, open up new career opportunities and experience our exciting new technologies.

Over 300 Cisco employees from Engineering, Services, IT, Sales, HR, Supply Chain, Operations, Corporate Strategy, were front and center at this three-day celebration of women in science and technology. Attendees went to sessions on career development, tech trends, and leadership throughout the event.

Photo of booth
Providing attendees real-life connections to our culture at the Cisco booth

Our team also spent a great deal of time at the Cisco booth, providing attendees with real-life connections to our culture. This human interaction was a key part of our strategy and helped make our presence at GHC a great success. We wanted our amazing people to share their stories, represent the diversity of the Cisco experience, and inspire others to see what we experience at Cisco every day. And they certainly exceeded our expectations.

Many of our male executives, including representatives of Cisco's "Men for Inclusion," were front and center. Their active presence and support spoke volumes about why we believe that "women engineers make the infinite difference."

These are just a few examples of our success:

  • 850+ candidates pre-screened before the conference
  • 1000+ resumes submitted during the conference
  • 120 hours of interviewing and 55 Exec Meet and Greet Sessions
  • 518 candidates participated in on the spot interviews
  • 56 offer letters and letters of intent were delivered at the conference and still interviewing
  • Used TelePresence interviewing for the first time at Cisco

Innovation, Inspiration and Penelope

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Making lasting connections

Cisco kicked off the conference with a networking reception on opening night. Competition was stiff. Every other company had a reception. We had 700 attendees (mostly non Cisco) who listened to why Cisco is the destination for top talent, play games to win prizes, network and make new and lasting connections.

We also did a #loT Tech Node session, which was standing room only with an at capacity crowd of 300 (sadly had to turn away 75-100). We hear it was the best tech node session at GHC. The plan for this session is to introduce IoT through real world examples and outline the key technologies that enable them.  We want attendees to walk away thinking about everyday problems and business models to disrupt, which they could put into action working at Cisco.

Penelope, the coder that saved the world

We released the debut comic book issue "The Origin of Penelope", where she saves the world and forms her own cybersecurity company. Penelope is the innovator inside all of us. Her lovely flowing lines graced our booth in the form of a lighted statuette. Penelope signified our spirit of innovation, but she was just one of the highlights of our vibrant booth space. Among the hundreds of companies, Cisco really stood out, with flashing lights, larger than life displays and amazing demos of our technology and offerings, which were mobbed most of the time. We had long lines of attendees waiting for more than an hour to design and print their own, individualized screen t-shirts. Visitors used augmented reality glasses to play with our demos, and throughout all the fun, Cisco employees were circulating, sharing who we are, what makes us different—and why Cisco should be their destination.

Throughout the three days social media exploded, with 3.6 million impressions at #CiscoGHC on day one alone. While Cisco was one of five Diamond-level sponsors this year, the efforts of our team really helped Cisco stand out as change implementers and innovators across the technology spectrum.

The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is about empowering women to have the courage to go after their dreams. The Cisco team was proud to represent our company and connect with women innovators who have the curiosity to never stop learning, the audacity to dream big, the courage to follow their intuition amidst adversity, and the ability to learn from failures to find success.

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