Folks Behind Function at Cisco: How a life-long love for animals led to a profession in sustainability

This weblog is a part of our Folks Behind Function at Cisco collection that focuses on staff driving Cisco’s objective to Energy an Inclusive Future for All. Every weblog highlights a unique Cisco worker whose work positively impacts individuals, communities, or the planet. The collection was previously often called individuals behind Company Social Accountability (CSR) at Cisco.

Since 2015, Cisco has collaborated with authorities leaders, business, and academia to assist the supply of nationwide digital agendas by the Nation Digital Acceleration (CDA) program. During the last two years, the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital applied sciences; nevertheless, it has additionally highlighted the stark digital divide throughout society and inside totally different socioeconomic teams. By means of CDA, we’re supporting nations to embrace digital applied sciences and ship linked and inclusive societies. Thus far, CDA has over 1100 lively or accomplished initiatives in 50 nations.

One other essential and rising a part of CDA is partnering on sustainability initiatives, with 30+ so far. Meet Jutta Graefensteiner, Director for CDA, Sustainability and the Nation Plan in Germany. She shares extra about her early reference to nature, the evolution of her profession at Cisco over the previous 20 years, and the way digitization can go hand-in-hand with sustainability.

When did your curiosity in sustainability start?

A woman, smiling, posing with two dogs outside
Jutta taking a stroll within the countryside together with her pet canines.

Jutta: My curiosity in sustainability has been with me my total life as a result of I grew up on a farm in Germany that was a four-generation family. We had cows, sheep, pigs, rabbits, cats and canines after all. It was a small farm, however it was pretty, and I had a lovely childhood. Nature and animals have been with me since I began to breathe, stroll, assume, and act, so it’s at all times near my coronary heart.

From a enterprise perspective, I take into consideration how we’re embedding sustainability throughout Cisco operations, and the way our merchandise and options can assist our clients in reaching their net-zero targets. About two years in the past, a colleague was tasked with organising a tiger workforce to reinforce our sustainability technique for our Europe, Center East, and Africa area. She reached out and requested if I needed to affix that neighborhood, and I used to be completely satisfied to say sure.

From that second on, I used to be diving in, embracing, and inhaling the subject of sustainability for Cisco in Germany. A major process is bringing our company strategy, our merchandise, and our options nearer to our clients, companions and different stakeholders.

Inform us extra about what introduced you to Cisco and your present job duties.

Jutta: I began working at Cisco in January 2000, so I’ve been right here for over 23 years. At the moment, I labored for an IT distributor, and anyone from Cisco reached out to me. So, I got here to Cisco and began as a advertising supervisor for Cisco’s small and medium enterprise (SMB).

Through the years, I held numerous advertising and communications-related roles, first in Germany after which in Central Europe the place the gross sales area consisted of 19 nations on the time. In 2015 I went again to Germany to guide Cisco’s Channels and Companion Group for over 5 and a half years, which provides options, coaching, instruments, and assist to assist value-added resellers (VARs). I’m additionally a part of Cisco Germany’s Administration Board.

Now I’m the Director for Sustainability, CDA and the Nation Plan in Germany. Importantly, we’re seeing that sustainability may help with digitization, together with so far as options are involved, and vice versa. They’re tightly linked.

You led Cisco’s Channels and Companion Group. How did your work with companions put together you on your position in CDA?

Jutta: Main a associate group is difficult, and I cherished it. It requires quite a lot of resiliency, agility, and persistence. These competencies are additionally wanted for sustainability. Sustainability is being built-in throughout our firm, and it’s more and more essential for the enterprise group we drive, our portfolio and buyer panorama. Having that established community and persistence in transferring the subject ahead is important, particularly since it’s a quickly creating subject from a gross sales perspective. Additional, Cisco has been reporting on sustainability since 2005. So, I can construct on that data, and on the opposite aspect, I’ve these relationships with our companions and a superb entrance level for sustainability in our conversations. The doorways are open; I’ve to undergo them and lift additional consciousness about our sustainability journey.

Are you able to inform us extra concerning the sustainability initiatives that CDA is main and the affect you hope to make?

Jutta: As talked about earlier, sustainability and digitization are tightly interconnected, and sustainability is turning into essential for companies.

One instance is one in all our clients and companions in Germany — Deutsche Telekom (DT). DT deployed the Cisco 8000 Collection primarily based on Cisco Silicon One, the router with transmission pace of 260 terabits per second (Tbps). DT has reported that the transfer from the Cisco CRS-X multi-chassis system to the Cisco 8000 Collection routers has decreased energy consumption by as much as 92 p.c per 100 gigabits per second (Gbps). As well as, DT has additionally reported that the excessive connection density of the routers results in a discount in area necessities from eight racks to 1 rack per system. We see that corporations can save power and area with improvements developed by Cisco.

At the moment we’re working with one of many largest world sports activities retailers. With the assist of CDA we’re investing within the growth of a sustainability dashboard to observe and visualize in real-time numerous parameters like power consumption, local weather, oxygen, and heating. Initially, the dashboard is anticipated to be applied in one of many firm’s new pilot retail shops. In fact, the objective is a worldwide scale implementation.

CDA is an excellent program to assist our clients and speed up their digitization and sustainability efforts.

Why is it essential for firms and folks to care a few sustainable and regenerative future?

Jutta: We see, hear, and expertise world local weather change. Relying on the place you might be dwelling on the planet, it’s with totally different depth. Corporations can play a key position in taking motion, and Cisco is making this a precedence.

And, to not neglect every one in all us. As staff and as personal residents, we will begin taking motion. For instance, calculating your private carbon footprint may help you get transparency in your affect and establish your individual personal actions to cut back it.

I heard you’re keen about animal welfare. Are you able to inform us extra about that?

Jutta: From a sustainability perspective, I can contact on biodiversity and the way essential animals are for our survival as people. When you don’t plant timber, the bugs is not going to have a house. The bees gained’t be round to pollinate crops on the farm, and we will be unable to supply meals for us human beings. As people, we rely extra on animals than they want us. We should always deal with them effectively and guarantee they survive.

To convey it right down to essentially the most private stage, I merely love animals. It offers me a superb feeling to be surrounded by animals and they’re a part of our large household. They provide love, belonging, and make me chuckle. Petting animals makes individuals really feel good, and analysis reveals that interacting with animals has well being advantages.

My pets are a part of my household, and I like to look after them. We received our first canine six years in the past, and throughout the pandemic we opened our house to a rescue cat. Seeing the state of affairs in Ukraine and the way blessed we’re, we determined to undertake one other small, aged canine from Kyiv, Ukraine. She matches in completely with our first canine and our cat. And, in our greenhouse, I’ve two hedgehogs dwelling there over the winter. As soon as it’s heat sufficient, they may get up and we’ll return them to the wilderness.

Two photos side by side, one of a van with people and a banner with the Cisco logo, and the other of a hedgehog
Jutta and Cisco colleagues utilizing their Time2Give to construct hedgehog homes for an animal nonprofit.

As a part of our “Time2Give”, which is a profit at Cisco the place you receives a commission day off to volunteer, I organized a one-day constructing mission with a woodworker and 10 Cisco staff. We constructed hedgehog homes collectively for an animal nonprofit, so they may promote them to get funding for medication and different issues to look after the hedgehogs. It was an ideal give-back exercise with our colleagues, and the subsequent construct is scheduled for the tip of June.


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