Cisco's Chambers Promises Changes for Women at the Tech Giant
Cisco's CEO says that after speaking with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and reading her book, he realized his company could do better by women.Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers always felt that he and his executives were doing a good job creating a positive working environment for women. Then he read "Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead" and spoke with the author of the newly published book, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. Now, Chambers said, he realizes there's more work to be done at Cisco, the networking giant that has more than 70,000 employees worldwide. "While I have always considered myself sensitive to and effective on gender issues in the workplace, my eyes were opened in new ways and I feel a renewed sense of urgency to make the progress we haven't made in the last decade," Chambers wrote in an internal email after sitting down with Sandberg. "Without realizing it, we operate every day with gender stereotypes and biases, many of which we do not realize. After reading 'Lean In' and listening to Sheryl, I realize that, while I believe I am relatively enlightened, I have not consistently walked the talk." The issue of women in the workplace has gotten high levels of attention in recent weeks. Sandberg, who has made millions of dollars as a top executive at the massive social networking company, has been at the center of attention during the weeks leading up to the publication of her book, which has generated huge amounts of both praise and criticism.
At the same time, new Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer made headlines in February when her company announced that it was ending work-at-home arrangements and requiring all employees to work in the office starting in June. Yahoo executives argued that what the troubled Internet company needs most right now is innovation and new ideas, and that comes from people interacting face-to-face and collaborating with each other.