A conversation with Emma Reid, Global Marketing Manager for Cisco’s Networking Academy

Emma Reid is a well-regarded champion for diversity and equal opportunity particularly in creating programs that bridge the gap and enables a stronger sense of community within the IT industry.

Emma is the Global Marketing Manager for Cisco’s Networking Academy, which works to change the lives of students by providing education, technical training and career mentorship. Emma is focused on sharing the impact STEM can have with the Women Rock IT series too, and started Cisco Australia and New Zealand’s Women in IT Awards, which are back again this year. It’s no wonder Emma won the Community Award at the ARN Women in IT Awards last year.Cisco Women in IT Awards - Nominate now

For this blog, we asked her to share her background with us and some tips from her experiences.

How did you come to work in IT/technology?  

I returned from four years travelling overseas with only a few coins left in my back pocket.  In a desperate bid to find work, I signed up with a temping agency who assigned me to a role in the Chief Executive Office at Telstra. What was a three week temp role turned into a ten year career at Telstra.  Since then, I have never looked back.

Looking back at the start of your career, what’s one piece of advice you’d give yourself?

Looking back to my younger years, I am sometimes amazed at how life has turned. Nothing is exactly what I had originally planned for. The only thing that stays the same is who I am, my values, and my interests. Fast forward to today, I have lived in five different countries around the world (Australia, London, USA, Singapore and Hong Kong) and worked in a job that did not exist when I was studying at school.  Most importantly, I have involved myself in a lot of things I would have never thought of, if I tried to stick to plans. If I could go back in time and hang out with my younger self for a day, here’s what I would tell her … 99% of the things you worry about actually never happen.  Dream more, worry less. Enjoy every day, it goes fast.

Never in a million years did I think I would end up in the technology industry, but I couldn’t think of an industry I’d rather be in.

What makes you proud to work in your industry? What’s something you’d like other women to know about working in technology?

What makes me feel proud of working in the technology industry is hearing directly from the gutsy women that have appeared on the Women of Influence Series and Women Rock-IT program – these women are influencers, leaders and champions of change in business and society. I’m proud we provide a platform for them to share their stories with anyone!

How does the industry enable you to bring your community focus and social heart to life?

For more than 20 years, Cisco Networking Academy has empowered all people with career possibilities and the chance for better, more fulfilling lives.  As the Global Marketing manager for Cisco Networking Academy, I get to bring my community focus and social heart to work every day.  A good example of changing lives is a story about Liang Chen from China, he grew up in an underprivileged family.  He attended a vocational school and joined Networking Academy.  When he graduated he started his own business and significantly improved his financial status and the quality of life for himself and his family. Attending Cisco Networking Academy in China gave Chen Liangliang a chance to build a brighter future in technology, and a better life for his family.


Emma started Cisco’s Women in IT Awards last year, to celebrate excellence in the industry. The awards recognise excellence in technology across Australia and New Zealand amongst Cisco’s customers and partners including categories such as Academia, Rising Star, Community, Executive IT Leadership, Diversity and Outstanding ICT Technical Innovation.

Nominations are now open until 14 February 2020.  You can nominate here.