Last Friday, May 31st, the members of Cisco Systems’ Filipino Professionals Network (FPN) hosted ~15 of our student organizers and leaders in a day of roundtable conversation on professional development, personal journeys, and the importance of community participation in choosing one’s own profession.
The day began with brief introductions between our students and the FPN members. It was clear from the beginning that San Jose State University was in the house! (2/3 of our group are/were Spartans and 1/3 of the FPN members were alums).
Shortly after, we were joined by Fly Pinay Lorissa Horton, Cisco’s Vice President and General Manager of their WebEx Team Collaboration. She called into our session from Europe — how fortunate we were! In her role, Lorissa oversees ~700 employees across the globe. Tying in elements of her personal and educational background, growing up in Washington State, Lorissa shared how mentor influences exposed her to opportunities that personally interested her, and by virtue, nourished her professional ambitions.
Lorissa shared several substantive and inspiring remarks for our group. Among the most salient for our group — that she purposely hires individuals to her team that have studied disciplines and have worked in fields entirely different from her own to ensure the diversity of thought, opinion, and leadership, across her international team.
After meeting and engaging in a conversation with Lorissa, our group was led by Natal with the Cisco Team, a leading Product Engineer with the company. Natal took our group on a series of interactive mini-tours, where we learned about the hardware and software that Cisco develops that touch our lives in ways unseen, yet wholly felt.
Next, Ron Snyder and his team that lead emergency response — as part of Cisco’s broader Corporate Social Responsibility — volunteer deployment and strategy took our group on a private tour of one of Cisco’s Emergency Network Response Vehicle (NERV). We learned about Cisco’s technological and communication-infrastructure assistance offered abroad in areas that have been struck by natural disasters.
Following our tour, we were treated to a spectacular lunch and informal roundtable conversation with FPN’s members. The dialogue traversed topics related to college leadership activities, transferring skills obtained in extra-curricular initiatives, and everyone’s respective paths into Cisco (we had Psychology, Communication, and Organizational Development majors sharing their journeys into Cisco).
Our day was concluded in an intimate conversation with a leading HR professional with Cisco. Among her words, she provided insights on Cisco’s hiring process, recruitment methods, and future opportunities for working with Cisco. After a day spent with many, many familiar FPN faces — many of which that have supported LEAD Filipino in a variety of our community programs — we all saw how we could contribute to an ethos, mission, and value system such as Cisco.
After all, they were founded in San Jose AND their logo is based off the Golden Gate Bridge. 🙂
A huge shout out to Jenn Mendoza with Cisco and FPN — from start-to-finish she organized a wonderful day for our Fly Pinays mentees, organizers, and student leaders. Thank you to Jenn and the FPN members!