Diversity Woman Magazine

FALL 2012

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

Issue link: https://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/91258

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Page 52 of 79

DW'S 100BESTCOMPANIES forLEADERSHIPDEVELOPMENTforWOMEN Maria Medrano Data Strategy and Analytics Manager CISCO SYSTEMS San Jose, CA Mariela Ure SVP Hispanic Segment Strategy WELLS FARGO San Francisco, CA W hen a former employer asked Maria Medrano to abandon her graduate degree studies and focus all her attention on her work as a manager at a con- struction firm, she knew she had a tough decision to make. Her parents had told her that the path to success was through schooling—Medrano was the first in her family to graduate from college—and in having a good work ethic. She ultimately decided to leave the company because it didn't back her pursuit of a mas- ter's degree. Boy, was Medrano right. Shortly after receiving her master's in organizational development from Sonoma State University, she landed a job at Cisco as a financial liaison. In her five years at Cisco, Medrano has taken advantage of what the network equipment giant has to offer, including a leadership program that taught her lessons about managing people. She even went back to school, this time for an MBA, with the blessing of both her manager and Cisco. "Even though I already had a graduate de- gree, Cisco supported me in going to school for a second graduate degree," she says. "Tey clearly support higher education." In addition to excelling in training programs and doing excel- lent work, Medrano garnered a promotion when she proved she could take initiative and successfully launch an employee resource group called Connected Women of Sacramento. Te launch allowed Medrano to organize, lead, and network in an unconventional way. Te experience emphasized an important lesson about Cisco's culture. "You are truly given the opportu- nity to succeed," she says. "You don't have to have a grandiose title to be given a chance." In 2011, Cisco dedicated $113 million to employee training and development, with 82 percent of employees taking at least one course. Another popular, family-friendly option is telecom- muting: 95 percent of staffers work from home on a regular basis. "Te company expects you to have a work-life balance, and that kind of culture goes a long way," says Medrano. www.diversitywoman.com M ariela Ure is comforted that Wells Fargo took nearly a year to fill the position she currently holds. To Ure, the long wait for a response meant that Wells Fargo thought it was important to carefully vet the candidates vying for the opportunity to run its Hispanic segment. Ure has been busy bridging the banking giant's goals and the needs of its Hispanic clientele. Her job is to make sure that she and the team deliver solid business and marketing plans that attract Hispanics and retain current customers. Ure and other women at Wells Fargo have a multitude of leadership development training options available to them, such as career development, rotation programs, and mentor- ing and training. One, called Diverse Leaders, is specifically for Hispanics. As a leader, Ure says she takes a hands-on, individual ap- proach. "I am constantly thinking of work that doesn't come easy to my team," she says. "When people are challenged, they are more engaged and pay more attention." As an employee, Ure feels empowered when she sees many high-ranking women in the halls of Wells Fargo. Te bank's board, for example, reveals a diverse makeup: 13 percent Asian, 6 percent African-American, 6 percent Latino, and 31 percent women. "Te fact that women get recognized and that there are successful women at Wells Fargo helps me see that I have the same opportunity," says Ure. For its efforts to create a diverse workplace that attracts top talent, Wells Fargo has been voted among the top 50 Companies for Diversity by Diversity Inc. and was named the 12th Best Company for Latinas by Latina Style magazine in 2011. Tis year it ranked 45th on the list of Fortune maga- zine's Most Admired Companies. DW Jenny Mero is a frequent contributor to DW. Fall 2012 DIVERSITY WOMAN 51

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