Five Cisco executives extend a hand to Cristo Rey San José students

 

Article originally posted on Hispanic Executive

Cisco partners with Silicon Valley high school to build the pipeline for Latino STEM leaders

Five Cisco executives extend a hand to Cristo Rey San José students

By Olivia N. Castañeda

 

Cristo Rey San José High School, founded in the fall of 2014 and located in the Silicon Valley area, is on a mission to end the cycle of poverty. The school’s founders believe the key to prosperity is education. It is affiliated with 28 other urban Cristo Rey Network education institutions that span the country, and unlike the average high school, an admissions prerequisite is that the student comes from a low-income family. Each school’s curriculum includes an adjunct to their academic studies called the Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP), in which four students team up to alternate daily at an assigned nine-to-five job, Monday through Friday.

In its first year of operation, 129 freshman-level pupils make up the entire student body at Cristo Rey High School in San José; 92 percent are Hispanic and eight percent are Asian and black. Currently, there are 28 different corporate sponsors in collaboration with the high school for CWSP.

Cisco Executive VP Randy Pond

Randypond

 

These corporate sponsors hire one team of students for the school year: September through June. Cisco, one of the school’s corporate sponsors, has exemplified what the program hopes to achieve. “Cisco has been very different from the typical experience. Their level of engagement and support of our students has been truly remarkable,” says Matt Bell, the school’s director of the Work Study Program.

The global IT company with 70,000-plus employees has the following vision statement: “changing the way we work, live, play, and learn.”

 

Anne-Marie Azzi, marketing manager at Cisco, says that the company’s interest in participating in CWSP is to share a passion for revolutionizing the world through technology with younger generations. CWSP is a STEM initiative with a goal of building the pipeline for Latino leadership in STEM. By sparking interest at an early age, companies will more likely to be able to recruit from this talented and passionate pool. Photo: Mauricio PalomarAnnemarie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cisco Senior VP of IT Guillermo Diaz, Jr.

Practicing what they preach, Cisco’s executive vice president Randy Pond sponsors two teams, contributing $30,000 per student. Pond has also smartly linked the program to Cisco’s Latino employee resource group,

Guillermo
Conexión.

“[The corporate sponsorship] is not a charitable contribution. This is a business expense for our corporate sponsors,” says the Rev. Peter Pabst, Society of Jesus, who is the president of the high school. The business pays 50 percent of each student’s tuition, the school contributes another 40 percent through grants and fundraising, and the families pay the remaining 10 percent of the total $15,000 balance.

Cisco Senior Manager of Latin America IT Katty Coulson

KattyAnother huge supporter of the collaboration is Cisco’s Guillermo Diaz Jr., senior vice president of IT. “Guillermo has just been the champion of this program,” Pabst says.

Diaz helps the students make connections with other Cisco employees; building their confidence in the process and creating mentor-mentee situations.

“Inspire exponentially” was Diaz’s phrase of the year for his students in 2014-2015 school year. “That means waking up everyday and inspiring ourselves and others through the use of technology,” he says.

The student IT team at Cisco is lead by Katty Coulson, who is the senior manager of Latin America information technology. Working in a high-energy environment amongst recently hired college graduates, the high school students assist in web-page development, blogging, and creating presentations.

Cisco Senior VP of Project Operations Ana Corrales

anacorralesThe second team leader is Ana Corrales, who is Cisco’s senior vice president of product operations. Managed by her team she calls “product operations central,” the students assist with events or product showcases that are targeted to the company. “It has been quite delightful,” Corrales says. “It’s a very rewarding experience to see [the students] grow.” She is recruiting the same students to return next year to continue building their skill sets and give them direct product experience the second time around.

In addition to students gaining work experience, there is an “unexpected by-product,” as Pabst calls it, resulting from CWSP. The students feel excitement as they look forward to working in a professional setting and stand proud as their fellow adult colleagues treat them as professionals.

They also enjoy having real-world responsibilities and having others rely on them in the office. From the beginning of the program to today, the students have developed into mature, confident, and courageous future Latino leaders.

 

Jessica Ruvalcaba – Cultura Ambassador

 

We are excited to announce that Cultura Ambassador, Jessica Ruvalcaba, will be joining Samsung SDS America as their new senior marketing manager.

Jessica has been with Cisco since 2010 where she started as an MBA intern. Shortly, there after Jessica was promoted as a marketing manager for the Americas in 2011 and has serve on Cisco’s Employee Resource Organization (Conexion) as the Director of Talent Pipeline.

JessicaJessica is an enthusiastic marketer who strives to inspire her team and has been passionate about delivering great results for Cisco’s partners, the field, and community. She contributed to Cisco’s mid-market growth by implementing marketing strategies that align to Cisco’s mid-market goals.

Under Jessica’s leadership as the Director of Talent Pipeline for Conexion she has produced excellent results by delivering strategic events and strengthening relationships with key internal and external stakeholders. Her efforts are focused on closing the STEM skills gap and engaging top prospects to contribute to Cisco’s growth, innovation, and competitiveness. Jessica has been instrumental in engaging Silicon Valley Latino as a partner to Conexion with several activities such as the Conexion High School Career Fairs.

Please join us in congratulating Jessica on her achievements, as well as in wishing her all the best and continued success with her new endeavor. Adelante Jessica!

Breaking News! Guillermo Diaz Jr. named CIO at Cisco

 

Silicon Valley Latino is delighted to report that earlier today Guillermo Diaz Jr. was announced as Cisco’s CIO!

Guillermo Diaz Cover PhotoThis is big news for the Latino community and especially for all of our Latino youth who aspire to be Latinos in Tech!  Over the past few years Silicon Valley Latino has developed a close relationship with Guillermo and we have learned that he is the real deal as it relates to being an inspiring leader. We have had the opportunity to meet with many of those on his teams at Cisco as well as with members of Conexion (Cisco’s Latino employee resource organization – Guillermo serves as their executive sponsor). The respect, enthusiasm and collaboration that he inspires are clearly evident. The same can be said for those he touches and works with in the community, just ask the folks at HITEC, Sacred Heart Nativity Schools, Cristo Rey High School and so many others.  As for us at Silicon Valley Latino, the connection was instant and we were inspired by his actions immediately. He was actually the person that inspired the name for our “Inspire Higher Tour” initiative. Guillermo’s phrase for 2014 was “Inspire Higher” and our CEO, Alex Ontiveros, was so moved by how Guillermo evangelized this phrase that we asked him if we could use it for a special initiative that we had in mind, of course the answer was yes. His phrase for 2015 has been “Inspire Exponentially” and it has clearly taken affect with many including us at Silicon Valley Latino.

 

Guillermo is deeply committed to his work as a technology expert, to being an inspiring and effective leader to his teams. However the element that we appreciate the most about him is his commitment to the Latino community especially our youth. Guillermo we congratulate you on today’s promotion to CIO at Cisco! It’s a very well earned accomplishment. We thank you for being an inspiring leader to many of us and for your commitment to inspiring the next generation of Latino heroes!

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We believe this is truly a well-earned promotion based on his numerous professional accomplishments and trajectory as well as the various awards and honors that he has earned over his career. We are also excited to see how he will help take Cisco to the next level by inspiring others exponentially. Adelante!

 

SVL Cultura Ambassador – Julissa Ramirez Lebron featured in Intel video