Another year at Cisco Live has gone by (my sixth year to be exact). Even though I am beyond exhausted and still getting back into the swing of things, I can not wait till next year. But let me take a moment to reflect back on last weeks events. In doing so I will explain why I love being a Cisco wife and why I started the Cisco Wives Club.
Reason 1: Understanding
After Sunday’s meet up and night out, the following days were a whirlwind. Monday started off at a winery nearby. The five of us enjoyed tastings with crackers & cheese. The quiet scenery away from the electronics, computer talk & business was much needed to clear our mind for the week. We knew upon our return our husbands would then begin the flood of ‘geek talk’. Whether it was what they learned at a session, computer jokes that whizz over our heads or the social networking they were able to make.
Our conversations were amusing. Having the commonality of a Cisco spouse had us laughing and giggling (no it wasn’t the wine). From tips on how we decipher ‘geek talk’ to snapping him out of his computer zone. Or understanding his excitement of setting up his office network to how we survived his studying for certifications. We understand each other.
We made it back for lunch downtown and enough time to get ready for the opening Keynote. The auditorium was little crazy so some of the wives went outside to watch it and some went to their quiet hotels to studied for their own college exams. I opted to watch it from the twitter lounge. I was able to catch some of it, but there was another video playing behind me so it made it hard to hear. I wish I had heard more to understand my husbands excitement of the new CEO. It was a hot topic amongst the groups and of course was on the scavenger hunt so I was a little lost on who Chuck Robbins was. But that was clarified quickly and I was caught up on the future of Cisco.
Reason 2: Not Alone
For some of the wives San Diego was a first. So while all the spouses where attending sessions or networking at business meetings, we were able to enjoy some sightseeing together. Renee, Jessi and Sherri meet up and the three enjoyed some museums and Harbor sightseeing. Being a tourist is always more enjoyable with friends.
On Monday evening World of Solutions (WoS) opening was a buzz. Due to the mass crowds, the girls and I choose to grab a few goodies, a beer and and meet up at a spot in the corner away from the madness. We couldn’t stay long since there were a few Networking events my husband and I were invited to. One of the wives, Jenn, husband had a business dinner to attend which she could not join. So instead of being alone for the night lost in the WoS crowd she was able to join us.
We made our way to the first event held by CollabCert at an awesome pizzaria ‘the Basics’. CollabCert was started a year ago by a former co-workers of my husband, Vik Malhi and we were honored to be included in on his event to celebrate his success.
Jenn and I were able to network ourselves. We meet Denise Fish, a Cisco live speaker who joined the Social Media Network last year. She is awesome and full of excitement to help the Cisco Wives community get bigger.
It’s 10:00pm and the night wasn’t done! A bunch of us split an Uber ride and headed off to Ocean Beach for another Networking event, “Geek Slices”. Lauren Freedman is amazing at coordinating these fun events. Our Cisco husbands were able to Network with Cisco employees over pizza and beer. So I meet some engineers myself and was able to have a pleasant conversation about their work. After listening to many demos at WoS I learned a thing or two.
Reason 3: First Time Memories….
Before heading back for the night we noticed the beach was a block away. Come to find out 3 of the group had never been to the Pacific Ocean. Being a native San Diegan I was shocked, so we rushed to the beach. Sherri & Steve got to make a unforgettable memory of enjoying the beach together. Especially when the wave crashed in behind him and soaked his shoes!!!
That was not the only ‘First Time Memory’ made this trip. Jessi has never been to a beach! So the wives got together Thursday and had a nice trip to La Jolla, not only for Jessi’s first beach experience, but we all got to see seals up close. She has made it known to her husband, Tony, they will now be moving to the beach. Renee loves photography (amongst other hobbies) so the beach was perfect for capturing some amazing shots.
Reason 4: Stop Hunger Now, Scavenger Hunts and Swag
Cisco did something new this year. They asked attendees to donate their time in preparing food bags for ‘Stop Hunger Now’ Charity. The wives appreciated this addition. And as a group we we are looking into having a bigger part in helping out at Cisco Live 2016 with any charity they choose to support.
Through out the week, I participated in the #CLUS Scavenger Hunt. Taking pictures with various booths, items or locations in hopes of a prize. If you follow me you would know I have a blast doing these.
My CLScavenger hunt
But I enjoyed it more than winning a prize. When going to the booths I listen to the demos they are presenting. I learn about the different software my husband needs for his work, training materials that help him write & teach. I learned about Cisco implementing security training with in the companies. Giving perks to the engineers for training and tasks that they do for Security purposes. And that Cisco is working with schools encouraging girls to enter into the IT world, providing classes and training materials. In taking a moment to talk to some of the booths I start to understand my husbands obsessions, frustrations and lingo. Which in turn makes me a better wife.
The tweet-up group had a fun #SelfieBINGO game I joined in. I was able to get some fun pics with my buddies and meet new tweet-up friends. Thanks for the new game Lauren!
This year I wore a ribbon with the twitter handle @ciscowives. It attracted more attention with the booths, creating more interactive conversations with persons who noticed. Some had questions, some laughed and those who are spouses like me gave me a kind ‘I know what you mean!’ nod.
What about the swag? Well, having two boys at home (ages 9 & 7) bringing back a plethora of swag makes me an awesome mom. Especially anything blinking and bouncy.
Reason 5: To Say Thank You
My husband, Brandon Carroll. wears many hats: CCIE, Cisco Champion and Cisco Press Author . Which he in turns receives invites to private Cisco Events and privileges as a thank you for the work he has done in those fields. In 2009, my first Cisco Live, I was not included to some these events. But starting in 2010, a +1 was welcomed. As a wife, I appreciate being included. With that invite, I am able to say thank you to those responsible for giving my husband the opportunities in a career he loves. Being there, I am able to see my husband being appreciated for his hard work and in the same respect, feel like I am being thanked for supporting him.
Cisco Press held a packed, fun-filled event at the Tilted Crow. The venue so beautifully decorated. Adorned with deep, dark stained wood walls, velvet curtains and comfy pillows in front of a massively engraved fireplace. There was video games & pool to enjoy. A nice new addition was the book reviews sliding on the screen with comments from readers. I liked seeing names of authors I personally knew or were standing right next to me. Hi Wendell!
After catching up with the other authors, we then quickly whisked away to the CCIE party being held at Hotel del Coronado. The setting was serene. So relaxing with soft glowing lights hung above illuminating the walkways, the sound of waves crashing, the feel of sand under feet and the lounge chairs set out to relax on. A nice gesture from Cisco for the hard work the CCIE’s go through in the their studies to keep up their certifications.
Wednesday is always the highlight of every Cisco Live attendee, the Customer Appreciation Event (CAE). This is a thank you from Cisco for being a client and attending the event. Being a part of the Tweet-up forum for the past few years, a couple of us wives were given the privilege of a pass. We entered Petco Stadium first at a special gate and get a commemorative Cisco Live fedora hat (which everyone gets and it changes each year). We then joined the other tweet-up members in a suite where we enjoyed food, drinks and a birds eye view of the concert. This year the party started with the opening act Royal Machines and then we rocked out with Aerosmith! Both were awesome and loud!
My Conclusion as a Cisco Wife
Cisco Live ended with an awesome keynote by Mike Rowe encouraging all of us to work smarter AND harder. Which got me thinking. After going to Cisco Live for 7 years, I have learned a lot in my tid-bits of demonstrations and interactions at the networking events I join-in on with my husband. In 2009, I mentioned to my husband I would not mind studying to be Cisco Certificated, but never pursued it. After this years Cisco Live, I have decided to accomplish that goal. I know with the information I have gained by attending Cisco Live Conventions, my husbands vast amount of knowledge and the connections I have made in the Cisco world through him …I just may reach that goal.
Until next year…
Vegas Baby, Vegas!