Knowledge Center

Cisco Systems, Inc.—Developing Women: Cisco’s Executive Shadowing Program

Cisco’s Executive Shadowing program began in 2009 as a grassroots effort to develop women employees by pairing Cisco executives with talented women across business functions. Unlike many diversity and inclusion activities, which are often initiated or sponsored by a company’s human resources department, Executive Shadowing began as an activity conceived by Bernice McHenry, a core team member of the company’s Connected Women Employee Resource Group (ERG), and it continues to reside within the ERG, led by Jennifer Pospishek from 2009-2012. The program was piloted in the San Jose chapter of Connected Women, and has since expanded to 10 chapters throughout the United States and around the globe, including Asia Pacific and Europe.

Additional Resource: Toolkit

In association with Adobe and Bayer, Jennifer Massaro of Cisco’s San Jose Executive Shadow Program core team devised a toolkit outlining how to implement an Executive Shadowing program. The toolkit was created in 2012 to fulfill the requirements of a yearlong WOMEN Unlimited leadership program in which women from Cisco, Adobe, Bayer, and many other companies participated. The toolkit, using Cisco’s Executive Shadowing program as its foundation, covers all phases of Executive Shadowing, from building a business case to implementation, and includes training samples and other resources.

Cisco and the WOMEN Unlimited team has generously agreed to make this toolkit available to Catalyst members. Please contact [email protected] if you are interested.