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Diversity Business Practices

Supporting partner diversity

Diversity boosts our competitive edge and helps us better meet customer needs.

About Diversity Business Practices

The Cisco Diversity Business Practices organization was formalized in 2000 to increase inclusion and diversification of our suppliers and partners. These businesses are 51 percent or more owned and operated by minorities, women, veterans, and historically underutilized businesses.

Our team identifies potential and existing diverse-owned partner businesses and facilitates relationships between them, Cisco representatives, and Cisco customers who can use their products and services.

The responsibility for the success and steady growth of the Diversity Business Practices programs rests with our team. At the same time, Cisco’s management recognizes that the complete and total success of our organization requires the support and participation of other functions within the company. The CEO’s commitment to supplier and partner diversity emphasizes support of the Diversity Business Practices programs and calls for full support on the part of all involved employees.

What is Partner Diversity?

Partner Diversity is a Cisco sales channel initiative that provides diverse partner businesses with visibility, development, and access to Cisco customers with supplier diversity goals or programs.

Our focus areas

  • Increase percentage of diverse partners and their revenue streams
  • Facilitate partner opportunities
  • Collaborate and provide diverse partner awareness
  • Enhance partner loyalty
  • Promote partner solutions through development and education (partners and Cisco sales team)
  • Promote efficiencies through the inclusion of diverse partner tools
  • Demonstrate industry leadership

Partner Diversity

Partner Diversity is Cisco's channel initiative that provides visibility, development, and access to Cisco's customers with a supplier diversity goal. Cisco diverse partner businesses are owned and operated by minorities, women, service-disabled people, and veterans, and operate in historically underutilized business zones. For more information, contact us.

Diverse Specialty Distributor Program

The Diverse Specialty Distributor Program promotes supplier diversity in our distribution chain.

Executive Mentor Protégé Program

The Executive Mentor Protégé Program uses Cisco executives to mentor CEOs of diverse businesses and navigate the barriers within Cisco. The program works to create mutually beneficial business relationships with diverse suppliers and create economic wealth for the community, suppliers, and Cisco. The primary thrust of this program is to provide optimal opportunity to diverse suppliers who are a part of our sourcing and contractual standards. Sourcing is encouraged to identify and include diverse suppliers in the procurement process.

Partner Mentor Program

The Partner Mentor Program helps diverse businesses build their capabilities and provide additional support to Cisco channel partners. It is intended to be a mutually beneficial business relationship between Cisco diverse and nondiverse partners to create opportunities with Cisco customers. For more information, contact us.

Cisco Protégé Program

In our Cisco Protégé Program Executive Speaker Series, our protégés continue to gain insightful, practical, relevant, and timely information from proven business executives, including Cisco senior executives.

Second Tier

The Cisco Second Tier initiative was created to make sure that a good-faith effort is made to optimize contract opportunities for diverse suppliers that provide products and/or services to Cisco's prime suppliers. For more information, contact us.

Partner Operations Diversity Forum

The Partner Operations Diversity Forum focuses on building relationships between our diverse-owned channel partners and customers. For more information, contact us.

When to contact us


  • Desire to increase tier-one supplier diversity spend
  • Require diverse partner (supplier) referrals
  • Request second-tier spend reports

Diverse partners:

  • Need assistance with facilitating partner opportunities
  • Want to consult with Diversity Business Practices business development manager
  • Have interest in new areas of revenue stream through white space opportunities

Cisco Sales:

  • Need engagement and support on customers’ RFPs/RFIs
  • Require diverse partner mentoring facilitation
  • Require a key understanding of customer supplier diversity initiatives
  • Want to initiate new diverse partner relationships