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Be Adaptable and Courageous: How Learning@Cisco Empowers Employment

“Your talent is your greatest asset, and developing it is a core skill for leaders,” says Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, Vice President and General Manager for Learning@Cisco, an education services business focused on educating customers and partners as well as providing education solutions. Beliveau-Dunn is responsible for the P&L, product and service development and delivery, operations, marketing, the technical community, and support. In the following Q&A, she discusses how Learning@Cisco is empowering employment by using its innovative technology to help companies develop their greatest asset, their people.

When you hear the term Empowering Employment, what does that term mean to you? Cisco empowers employment through our Cisco Certifications. Over the past five years, we set out to address talent gaps in networking professionals needed across the globe by harnessing our certifications and knowledge programs, and addressing new roles in technology. Our training and certifications programs provide the skills and expertise networking professionals need to meet the demand for networking talent.

How does the growth of the Networking professionals make an impact on the local communities you serve?  We touch close to two million customers and partners in our community. Our footprint is essentially everywhere in the world and this allows us to help local communities create new jobs with highly paid skills.  We embed our programs into schools and educational firms through Networking Academy and the Learning Partner program and also provide learning material through our on-line network, Cisco Learning Network.

How do your employees contribute to this impact? Learning@Cisco teams develop certifications and training programs that mirror our customers’ needs for skills in the job. To do this, we survey our customers on their current and future needs to bring them into our program design process. We have doubled the size of Cisco’s technical community over the past five years and are extending beyond the technical fields into the business areas where customers need us.

What strategies do you believe are most important for businesses to implement today to help move this economy forward? Staying customer-centric and in front of industry changes is absolutely necessary to survive and thrive. Develop solutions that help your customers be successful in this fast-paced competitive world by having the right people in the right place at the right time. Be adaptable and courageous in the “new normal” of rapid market change.

How does Learning@Cisco ensure employees perform to their highest potential? Through collaborative education solutions and IP, we remove barriers to education such as place, space, time and affordability. We use certifications and quality metrics to measure the impact of education, as well as capabilities of the learner. Completion of a student through our program must be a reliable predictor for on-the-job performance as well as successful hiring. We have a responsibility to our technical community and to hiring employers to ensure this program delivers productive talent for the job.

What skills – both technical and soft – do you see most valuable to today’s businesses? IT professionals must continue to be experts in their area, be proficient and add value. They also have to understand how their area fits within the entire technology solution and be able to communicate what that means for the customer. IT professionals have to be able to think holistically about new platforms that bring a variety of components together to create solutions for customers.

How do you describe the culture of your Learning@Cisco? Cisco’s winning culture is about seizing the inflection points in the market, creating innovative solutions that transform the market and have high customer impact, and staying focused on driving immediate results. Our corporate culture of integrity and performance – standing behind our customers through every challenge –earns us the trust of our customers. It also gives us permission to take on new things like datacenter and cloud with their full support.  Earning and keeping that trust is what keeps us focused.

What advice do you have for peers as they seek to empower employment at their organizations? Creating a self-development culture, empowered by great mentors and leaders who want to invest in their talent is key. Your talent is your greatest asset, and developing it is a core skill for leaders. The right investments in talent are always rewarded with a workforce that goes above and beyond for your company and its customers.  As the market picks up, talent with be the next wave of competition, and those companies that managed to hire and keep the best talent will be the most successful.

See more of the Learning@Cisco story below:

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.


  1. [...] training and certification for networking professionals as a way to meet growing employer demands. Explains Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, vice president and general manager of [...]

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