Diversity Woman Magazine

WIN 2017

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

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d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m W i n t e r 2 0 1 7 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 17 Rebecca Jacoby The Tech Accelerator Power Suit By Katr ina Brown Hunt R ebecca Jacoby didn't enter the tech world out of a long-time love for STEM. According to the Cisco executive, her early interests were far from technology. "My absolute favorite activity as a child was reading," says the San Francisco Bay Area native. "I wanted to become an author so I could produce the magic that books created for me." College at the University of the Pacific offered its own twists: "I declared I would become a dentist— but I never really had the passion for it and changed course to economics," she admits. "en, I graduated during a deep recession and, frankly, tech was one of the few industries hiring." Today, the senior vice president of operations at Cisco has clearly embraced tech, and has fostered an environment that welcomes women and workers from diverse backgrounds, no matter the economy. In her current position, she oversees Supply Chain, IT, Customer & Partner Services, Operations Architecture, Procurement, Customer Success Transformation, Employee Services and the Security and Trust organizations. Her previous positions at the tech giant included We Mean Business > plenty of rubber-meets-the-road roles in operations, manufacturing, and IT. In her most recent position, as Cisco's chief information officer, she earned the title of "Superstar" CIO from Forbes in 2012 and a spot in the CIO Hall of Fame by CIO magazine. Outside the office, Jacoby serves on the board of the Silicon Valley– based Second Harvest Food Bank. One of the largest food banks in the nation, it serves more than a quarter of a million people each month. Diversity Woman spoke with Jacoby about her unexpected career, her management style—and how that childhood-born love of communication can keep a room full of tech types on the same page. Diversity Woman: Were you a leader as a youth? What experiences helped you learn to lead? Rebecca Jacoby: My mother successfully raised nine children. Everything I've learned about leadership started at home. She taught us to be curious, use our imagination and gifts, be adaptable, and enjoy life—traits that naturally put all of us in leadership roles in most of our activities. DW: What was your first job as a young person, and what was your main take- away from that experience? RJ: I have had many odd jobs, the first of which was engraving jewelry at the flea market. I learned that whatever you do, you should endeavor to do it well and you will gain self-respect. DW: How did your previous role, as Cisco's CIO, prepare you for your current role? Was there one program or initiative you were most proud of during that part of your Cisco career? Jacoby, one of the highest- ranking women at Cisco, is charged with fostering an inclusive environment

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