Lagos, Nigeria: Cisco Systems Inc, worldwide leader in technology solutions has continually recognized the need for more diversity and female participation in the traditionally male high-technology industry. The technology giant has programs and resources to help women develop their skills as individual contributors, managers, and executives, including an internal employee resource group dedicated to the development of women, this group is called the Cisco Connected Women (CCW).
Over the last ten years the CCW at Cisco, has grown to over 38 chapters, offering more than 4000 global members opportunities for development, networking and generating new business. CCW contributes to a strategic effort to enhance Cisco's success in attracting, developing and retaining talented female employees. Cisco Systems Nigeria also participates in the CCW, allowing female Cisco employees to meet and discuss their involvement in the ICT industry and how the participation of women is on the positive rise.
Speaking about female participating in the technology industry, Olakunle Oloruntimehin, Country Manager Cisco Nigeria said: “In the context of a male-dominated industry, Cisco is making intent-based decisions to promote inclusiveness, diversity and overall female participation in the industry.”
CCW Nigeria has over 15 employees as its members, which accounts for 50% of employees in Cisco’s Nigeria office. The CCW Nigeria activities are strategically executed by core team of volunteers lead by the CCW leads, with the guidance of executive sponsors and thought leaders. The volunteers develop programs in line with the Cisco’s business guidelines, employee network directions and needs as per the local culture.
As a high technology company which believes in the power of the ‘human network’, Cisco recognises the importance of a very diverse work force and the value of employee mobility. In addition, in line with its inclusive organisational culture, Cisco has a number of employee networks to support the development, and growth opportunities of staff. The Cisco Sales Associates Program (CSAP) is one of such opportunities. It is the most highly coveted early-in-career development programs designed specifically for top university graduates from around the world who aspire to become the next generation of sales leaders at Cisco. This year long program provides world class, hands-on educational and experiential training that will prepare Associate Sales Representatives (ASR) and Associate Systems Engineers (ASE) to become successful Account Managers and System Engineers in the Cisco Sales Organisation.
The CSAP allows Cisco employees the chance to travel to work in various Cisco offices across the world allowing them the opportunity to garner knowledge and different perspectives. In Nigeria, Cisco CSAP aims to empower men and women alike helping them realise their dreams of being ICT leaders.
Tolulope Ogundipe a female Cisco employee expressed her views on the CSAP program stating that it provided her with tremendous growth experience that stretched her skills and abilities over the elastic limit.
She said: “The entire experience for me has been exhilarating. Having and working with colleagues from over 12 different nationalities and forming life time friendships is priceless and I am grateful for the opportunity. Aside this, during my time with the Cisco Amsterdam office, Cisco employees participated in trainings and workshops and Nigerian Cisco female employees got a chance to be a part of the Cisco Connected Women’s Amsterdam and the girls in ICT programmes, which train and educate girls on the roles and potential career paths present in Cisco Systems and the ICT industry as a whole.
Cisco’s commitment to championing women in their own organisation makes Cisco Connected Women’s program the perfect opportunity to demonstrate diversity and inclusion in technology and business. By developing a network that specifically enrolls and mentors girls and women, Cisco redefines the technology space.
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