Family and education serve as a foundation for the leader of Cisco Networking Academy
Guest Post by Laura Ruelas
As the vice president and general manager of Cisco Networking Academy, she leads the company’s largest global corporate social responsibility program which transforms the lives of learners, educators, and communities through the power of education and career opportunities.
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month Laura shares her perspective, and her deeply personal mission to help others carve their own futures. As a co-sponsor for Conexión, Cisco’s employee group for the Latinx community, Quintana offers fellow Cisconians insight into the impact they can make together as part of our Inclusive Future.
Q: What was your life like as a young girl? What did you dream about? A: From the time I was small, my Mom and Dad stressed how important school was. As a young girl, Dad would take me to the School of Dentistry on the UCLA campus for my dental appointments. I am blessed beyond measure for having a Mom and Dad who pushed me to dream big and strive beyond my circumstances.
Q: How has your educational experience shaped your path?
A: Education has played such a big role in my life and creating opportunity. In the summer between my junior and senior year of high school, I was selected to participate in a program called Minority Introduction to Engineering at UCLA. It was a two-week, in-residence program where professors directed hands-on projects. The most powerful part of the program offered an opportunity to talk with participants from the prior year. It was the first time I heard another Latina talk about applying to top schools as an engineering major. Whether an intensive program like this, or an internship or ultimately earning my engineering degree at Stanford with a full scholarship, I took every opportunity. From my early experience in engineering and product management at HP, to my marketing and operations leadership roles at Cisco – my life is a culmination of defining moments, mentorship, and opportunities.
Q: Your career journey has led you to Cisco Networking Academy. How has your life and experiences prepared you for this role?
A: The opportunity to lead Cisco Networking Academy is a dream job. Educators shaped me into an avid and eager learner. Every day I can have a direct impact on creating educational opportunities for people around the world. Our course content, assessments, self-paced learning, and instructor resources, shape not only the future of technology, but the people who are doing the work.
A: Believe in yourself, Laura! It’s going to be OK! I learned along the way that I always felt like I had to be at my best, improve, and do better. Those are great qualities, but that can be exhausting. Along the way, discover what brings you joy and tap into your heart.
Oct 19, 2020 at 21:04