Each year the Cisco Australia and New Zealand team runs the Executive Shadowing program. Open to all employees, the program partners employees with an executive, shadowing them in their role with a day in the life to learn along the way. It’s a great chance for employees to get exposure to different areas of the business, enables people to broaden their knowledge and connect with people outside of your usual network.
This year, the program received more interest than ever, matching 48 employees to senior executives. We asked a few employees what the experience was like for them, and what they learned along the way.
Kelly Sabo, Distribution Account Manager
Shadowed Ben Dawson, Cisco Vice President, Australia and New Zealand
I signed up to the program to develop a better understanding of the business outside of the scope of my usual work. I was interested in getting an insight into the breadth of meetings our executives are exposed to and keen to understand how we set strategy at a leadership level and tips to better develop executive presence.
Through virtual meetings, I had an opportunity to learn about roles and responsibilities within the organisation and see things from a completely different perspective. I had initially planned to join meetings face to face, but this was impacted by emerging restrictions.
It highlighted for me the range of different business areas you need to be across at an executive level. I joined meetings with finance to better understand the financial insights. I also saw Ben being interviewed by The Australian. I also joined meetings about the Cisco strategy and a quarterly innovation meeting to discuss how we can continue to be ahead of the curve for innovation in Australia. It made me realise the importance of broadening my knowledge and is something I will keep front of mind.
The program offered me on the job training in an informal format. It is also a good opportunity to network with different colleagues and understand the organisational culture and nuances of different jobs and leadership styles.
Sarah Mouscardes, Senior Leader, CX Global Enablement
Shadowed Angela Coronica, Global Director – Global Virtual Sales Specialists
I signed up to the program to expand my network and gain insights into other parts of Cisco as I’ve always worked in the Customer Experience team.
I would recommend this experience to anyone. I shadowed Angela Coronica who set up mentoring sessions with me, invited me to calls which she thought would be of interest for me to listen in on and learn from and introduced me to other leaders in the region.
At the time I was shadowing, I was promoted and received a huge amount of support and visibility to my elevated role through this process. I was able to sit in on Quarterly Business Review meetings, and event planning calls for the Women of Cisco group. I made key contacts who I now connect with regularly.
My lightbulb moment was in the importance of an active role in supporting people around you. I have huge admiration for Angela and the way she advocates for and supports her teams and colleagues in driving their own successful careers. I have since been inspired to sponsor someone as part of the Multiplier Effect as it is now my turn to bring others up. We had a lot in common – based in Australia but in Global roles and were able to share our experiences. The opportunity to learn from other leaders in terms of their style and ways of tackling complex problems during meetings was also super helpful to me.
Vivek Mahajan, Services Sales Specialist, Public Sector & Commercial
Shadowed Raymond Janse van Rensburg – Director Systems Engineering
I signed up to gain new insights and understand ‘what’s under the hood’ of the organisation. It was also an opportunity for me to expand my network as I’ve been with Cisco for five years across customer experience, and services sales.
I learned something new in the many meetings I joined across five weeks. I noticed Raymond was well prepared for every meeting and handled challenging questions with clear reasoning that taught me a great lesson: always be prepared.
One thing which has had a lasting impact on me was Raymond’s approachable nature and the effort which he put into knowing me and understand what I wanted from the program – which was constructive feedback along the way. This is already making a lot of difference in the way I approach things now. And I always take the time to ensure I’m prepared.
Angela Bennett, Healthcare Lead, Australia and New Zealand
Shadowed Kevin Raynel, Director of Finance
As a new employee to Cisco, I was very keen to familiarise myself with all aspects of the business to build on what I had learned in the last six months. It was a great opportunity to gain exposure to other areas of the business
Kevin and I met on a fortnightly basis, where I learned about financial and operational processes. I also sat on several financial and planning meetings with key members of the leadership team to discuss operations management and business efficiency.
The decision-making process was a very enlightening for me and seeing negotiation skills at play further extended my knowledge base. It is also something I will take in my role as I have a deeper appreciation of the business wholistically.
This has been a fantastic opportunity to expand on my knowledge of the business, and the Cisco community.