Cisco Live 2015 – Helping Others

Another year, another Cisco Live.  Boy, was it a good one.  San Diego is a great city, and convention center there is plenty big to take care of all 25k attendees.  On top of that, the city itself is equipped to handle groups of 40 roaming the streets looking for food and entertainment.

This year’s event had the usual stuff that everyone talks about – breakout session, keynotes, exams, etc. – but Cisco stepped outside of technology this year by helping others.

  • Stop Hunger Now Volunteer Space – Cisco partnered with Stop Hunger Now and set up a space where attendees could assemble meal kits to fight hunger worldwide.  I believe the final number was 100,656 kits assembled, which is a fantastic number.  I’m ashamed to say, though, that I missed this due to scheduling issues, but I’m proud of Cisco and the attendees for participating.
  • Mike Rowe Works Foundation – The keynote speaker this year was Mike Rowe, whom most of us know from his TV show Dirty Jobs.  His foundation helps to support skilled labor movements in order to keep all jobs meaningful.  As part of his appearance, Cisco gave his foundation a nice check for $20,000 and promised another $1 for every tweet featuring up to another $20,000!  I haven’t seen the final numbers, but I would be shocked if the whole $40k wasn’t locked up by the time everyone made it home from the event.  Good job, Cisco!  Note: Mike is the best speaker I’ve ever seen, so go see him if you have the chance!
  • Cisco Tactical Operations – I can’t pass up putting Cisco TacOps on this list.  If there’s a major disaster in the world, Cisco TacOps has a team of first responders to help  It may be through activation of the Disaster Incident Response Team, or deploying one of the Network Emergency Response Vehicles, but they have the support from upper management at Cisco to help.  They’ve been deployed to the earthquake in Haiti, to west Africa for the Ebola outbreak, and the tsunami in Japan in 2011.  If you didn’t know about these guys, check out their site and Twitter feed.  They are a top-notch organization that do good in the world.

On a more microscopic level, Cisco Live also had a Mentor Program that was new in 2015.  This year’s new attendees were invited to be matched up with a NetVet as a mentor to show them around the event.  Cisco Live is a HUGE place with lots to do, and it can be very intimidating to the uninitiated.  Being a NetVet and not afraid to meet new people, I volunteered and was introduced to a lovely young lady to show her the ropes.  More than once, I heard her say that, without the program, she would have missed so much of the event.  I made a new friend, and she made about 100 by the time the week was over.  Thanks to Jonathan Davis for getting that program started.  It was a huge success in my opinion and needs to stay on as a permanent part of Cisco Live. Note: My lucky mentee even won backstage passes and met Aerosmith before the Customer Appreciation Event!  If that’s not a good week, I don’t know what is.  🙂

Send any hotel reservations in Las Vegas questions to me.