“The simple truth is that our nation faces a major gap in the number of women and girls going into the fields that make up STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. One of the most critical steps we can take to close this gap is to mentor young women, opening their eyes to the incredible opportunities that a career in STEM can provide. That’s why initiatives like this one are so important, and why Cisco has pledged that 20 percent of our U.S. workforce will participate in STEM mentoring by 2020.” –-Blair Christie, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer
“Cisco values our partnership with organizations across the country who serve women and under-represented minorities to connect mentors with students. By sharing our career experiences and advice, Cisco employee mentors are able to open students’ eyes to the limitless opportunities available to those who study and pursue careers in STEM. This is not just theory, but my personal experience as well. A mentor, early in my life, set me on an IT career path which has lasted 25+ years. All I have to say is ‘it was priceless.’” –Patrice D’Eramo, Vice President, Cisco and Vice Chair of Million Women Mentors Leadership Council
Cisco is committed to building a sustained culture of STEM mentoring across our company and our industry. We’re focused on reaching young women and students of all backgrounds and we’re off to a strong start. Over the last 15 months, over 1,000 U.S. employees provided almost 13,000 hours in STEM mentoring to students across the United States. Approximately 10% of those mentors provided sustained mentoring of 20 hours or more.
Our employees have inspired thousands of students, including many young women, to imagine the incredible opportunities available to them in STEM fields. For example, in June 2014, during Cisco’s annual senior leadership meeting, our Chairman and CEO John Chambers and 100 other leaders spent several hours engaging with 100 young women from the Girl Scouts of Northern California. These young women, who were high-school aged and visiting from schools throughout the greater Bay Area, had a chance to ask questions about career advice, and speak 1:1 with an executive mentor.
Cisco’s ultimate goal – to have 20% of our US workforce providing 20 hours or more in STEM mentoring a year — is within our reach. We continue to build a movement across our company and our communities focused on opening the eyes of all students to the possibilities STEM can unlock for them and our nation.