Discovering Your Inspiration to Do Extra


From Maya Angelou to Michael Jordan, Google by no means fails with inspirational quotes to deliver to staff conferences, however this previous 12 months I selected to engrave my staff’s vacation presents with Winston Churchill’s quote: “You make a residing by what you get, however you make a life by what you give.”

As Cisconians, we take pleasure in a tradition that not solely permits however encourages us to present again. The truth is, Cisco offers us 40 hours every year exterior of our paid time without work — 80 hours in 2023 — to volunteer in methods wherein we’re most passionate. We purchase our buddies’ kids’s Woman Scout cookies and donate to meals pantries, however my staff wished to do extra this 12 months. I used to be impressed by one in every of my staff members, Alex, whose spouse has devoted her life to serving to others and impressed him to catch the altruism bug.

Doug and Gabby presenting to a high school classroom.

He impressed my staff and me to “do extra,” and because of this, we fashioned the Northeast Collaboration Workforce Giveback Group. Nonetheless, I used to be struggling to resolve what my position ought to be on this effort. I had beforehand donated my time shifting rocks backwards and forwards for Habitat for Humanity (I don’t assume they trusted us with precise instruments.), however I stored returning to Alex’s remark, “You may all the time do extra.”

At Cisco, our goal is “powering an inclusive future for all,” and I’ve all the time believed that the trail to fixing our trade’s range challenges is reaching out to our youth to introduce them to the tech world early on, so I dug deep into my salesperson abilities and reached out to the head of the mathematics and science division at my native highschool. After a lot backwards and forwards, and the promise of some light-up Cisco yo-yos, she agreed to let me and one in every of my mentees, Gabby Khoury, host our first “Younger Ladies in Tech Day” on the faculty with the intention of inspiring younger ladies to pursue careers in expertise.

We offered to 2 teams: Ladies Who Code and STEM for Ladies. Gabby and I did our greatest to offer tales and recommendation we wished somebody had shared with us on the age of 16. We reviewed resume greatest practices, ideas for internship interviewing, and a few life recommendation from two people who find themselves exceptionally pleased with their chosen careers. We even talked about figuring out your superpowers, my public talking, and Gabby’s approachability and making individuals really feel comfy.

When our presentation concluded, and the yo-yos have been all claimed, one thing sudden occurred: only a few individuals left when the bell rang for lunch. As an alternative, many younger ladies got here to the stage to fulfill us, proceed the dialog, and ask questions.

Two college students approached Gabby, and after some encouragement from their buddy, one shared their gender struggles, which they’d by no means come out and shared earlier than that day. Witnessing Gabby’s superpower of creating somebody really feel comfy firsthand was inspiring.

One other pupil got here as much as ask me some follow-up questions whereas feverishly taking notes. She was excited but additionally overwhelmed. After I tried to reply a few of her existential questions, I requested what she considered the day’s presentation. She stated she was so grateful Gabby and I cared sufficient to come back converse along with her class as a result of she was feeling overwhelmed that she was not doing sufficient. She wasn’t positive which faculty she wished to attend however was afraid she wouldn’t get in. I listened, smiled, and instructed her that she would undoubtedly do unimaginable issues along with her life as a result of she requested these questions. We deliberate to communicate through e mail and have follow-up Webex mentorship classes. She seems ahead to making use of for Cisco’s subsequent NYC internship program. I can’t wait to listen to how her life seems!

Afterward, Gabby and I couldn’t cease speaking concerning the expertise. We left with greater than 20 college students’ e mail addresses who wished to proceed with mentorship, and we have been formally requested to make this an annual occasion! We wished to host this occasion to encourage extra younger ladies to enter expertise, nevertheless it had simply as a lot affect on us.

Doug and Gabby presenting to a high school auditorium

I mirror day by day on how lucky I’m to guide a staff of 12 salespeople. Whereas they’re most likely uninterested in my web quotes and impromptu team-building workout routines, we’ve constructed unity and luxuriate in a tradition that doesn’t exist at different corporations, the place giving again is such an enormous a part of it.

As we kick off 2023, I bear in mind how grateful I’m to be generously compensated for a job I take pleasure in with individuals I really like. Once I look again on my profession, the satisfaction I carry with me received’t be tied to any fiscal achievement however somewhat to the affect I used to be in a position to have on different individuals’s lives.

I hope to encourage professionals to assume exterior their job duties and discover methods to positively affect others of their skilled and private lives. Whether or not inspiring a room of 300 feminine college students or simply protecting an eye fixed out for somebody who wants some considerate dialog, I encourage you to consider Winston and Alex … and DO MORE.

Are you impressed to do extra? Discover a possibility to affix us at Cisco.