Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

‘When The Worlds Of Technology And Giving Back Collide’


Giving back is “not just lip-service or marketing – but a real part” of Cisco’s culture which stems from its “leadership and global teams”.

Dailycsr.com – 21 February 2020 – VidhyaGovindan is a “Technical Leader” at Cisco who has worked for fifteen year with the company and met with, as she phrasedit to be a “mid-life crisis” wherein she began to question the purpose as well as direction of her life. Albeit quite different from the traditional meaning of the word crisis, she even contemplated the options of quitting her technology oriented career to join in “something bigger”.
She wrote:
“I wondered if I could do more by focusing exclusively on community service”.
It is then that she remembered her initial days at Cisco when she was taken by surprised at the “genuine work going towards community development from a corporation of Cisco’s size”, exclaimed Govindan. With a social entrepreneurship background, she could totally relate with the work that Cisco was doing towards community development. As a result, at that time only, she took up the responsibility of co-ordinating the CSR activities that were going in Chennai, India.
Initially, there was a four member team who often arranged “community outreach events” wherein employees participated. However, with time only Govindan was left alone in the team, while others were only was a morale supports with which she continued programmed such as “Girls Power Technology” as well as “Sea Cleanup Drive” and others.
Nevertheless, Govindan began to think of giving up technology for doing more in this field. Here, Govindan mentions about her “wonderful mentor”, Punam Nagpal, who came as Cisco’s tradition and Vidhya Govindan added:
“One of my favorite aspects of Cisco’s culture is that employees are provided a support system and that often includes people with different backgrounds and points of view”.
Punam helped Vidhya to look at a “new perspective” and she realised that at Cisco “technology and giving back” are something that always “go hand-in-hand”. And Vidhya said:
“Because of our conversation, I saw my role in a new light. It’s because of Cisco that I’ve been empowered to not only grow my interest in community service and make a measurable difference in our community – but I’ve been encouraged to grow my career as a woman in engineering simultaneously”.
At this point Vidhya was convinced that she doesn’t have to choose between “technology and giving back” as Cisco provided her with the “tools to do just that”.In her words:
“In using Cisco’s volunteer match, donation match, and yearly volunteer hours (we’re given 5 days each year to give back to organizations we’re most passionate about) – I’m able to make an amazing difference in my community”.
Vidhya continues to create meaningful impact in the society through Cisco’s platforms as she recently “organized an event in Chennai where 20 Cisco volunteers spent time engaging and playing with special needs children at SPASTN (Spastics Society of TamilNadu)”. The said event took place as part of Cisco’s “end CSR activity” while an amount of “$1000” was  also donated to SPASTN under “Cisco’s Match program for employees”.