CEWN Event at CLUS 2017

Cisco Empowered Women’s Network event at Cisco Live 2017. It was four hours filled with inspiration, motivation and networking. Kevin Bandy, Cisco’s Chief Digital Officer, was the host (yes a man hosted the event and he was great!). He says we should be cross pollinating our functions. He mentioned several times that he can’t believe we only do this once a year and that once a year is not enough! I agree. And I often wondered why there aren’t more CEWN events. He stated that last year there were roughly 300 attendees and this year we are up to 400. That’s a huge increase! Let’s follow that trend and get next years attendance over 500. Next I’ll tell you a little bit about each speaker. I’ll try to make this quick but there was so much good advice that I apologize if I start to ramble.


Patrice D’Eramo, VP, America’s Marketing at Cisco. She’s Italian, has a huge family, she’s got a pair of balls so to speak and says that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t support women”. She says that 23% of people with sponsors are more likely to move forward with their career. A sponsor is someone who’s willng to see the talent in you that you don’t see but also call you out when you’re wrong. She encourages you to act “as if”!

Liz Centoni, Sr. VP and GM of Cisco’s Computing Systems Product Group. She had fears just like many of us but put those fears aside to get her where she is today. Her top five fears were Fear of being judged, Fear of change, Fear of failure, Fear of committment, and Fear of success. “Do one thing every day that scares you” – Eleanore Roosevelt.


Christine Holloway, VP of networking, digital workspace and security solutions at CDW. One great tip she had was before a big meeting, stand in front of a mirror for 60 seconds. Breath in, stand tall and breath out. Get into your power pose and you’ll do exponentially better.

We paused for a little intermission and the song that boomed from the overhead speakers was Diamonds by Rhianna. Gets you pumped up and ready to be bold, be brave and be fearless.

Tania Katan, CEO of Creative Trespassing. She’s rediculously hilarious and so motivating. She finds creativity and sneaks it into unsuspecting places. She tells us to beta-test your life. And quotes Dr. Suess “Why fit in when you were made to stand out”. She had the whole room filled with laughter. She had us do a few exercises. We had to turn to the person next to us and talk about what our superhero powers are and how we use them. Then describe an area we feel we need to work on and the other person was to come up with an idea on how you can use your superpower to aid in that area. It was a great way to put yourself out there and in turn listen to and help a peer.

Tania helped Axosoft launch this campaign called It was never a dress. ❤ This campaign was to “start a much-needed conversation about the underrepresentation of women in the tech industry and the inequality that exists for women in many other spaces”.


And then there was Carey Lohrenz, the first fully qualified female naval aviator to fly the F-14 Tomcat in the United States Navy. My husband mentioned that she was a motivational speaker at one of his work conferences. She was so good. She had so many inspiring things to say but the one that stood out the most to me was “Not taking a risk is one of the biggest risks you can take.”


Oh and Shari Slate, VP Chief Inclusion and Collaboration Officer at Cisco. But as Kevin states, everyone in the office calls her Sunshine. She and Kevin chatted about some of the speakers points and she gave us guidance and said that both mentorship and sponsorship are needed.

All were awesome!

And afterwards was a cocktail hour at the Border Grill (delicious margaritas, sangria and south of the border appetizers) for networking with your newly found friends!

If I am blessed with the opportunity to attend CLUS next year, then I will definitely go the CEWN event!