Into the WILD: A Roadmap for Women’s Inclusion in Tech

By Miriam Sanchez-Alcon, Software Engineer at Cisco Norway

In the tech universe, the need for safe, inclusive spaces for women isn’t just a luxury – it’s a non-negotiable. Rising to this challenge at Cisco Norway is the Women in Lysaker Devices (WILD), a dynamic community of practice for women in the Cisco Collaboration Devices group.

Initially conceived as a modest gathering within the Lysaker Devices group, WILD rapidly grew beyond its origins, eventually extending its reach to encompass the entire devices team in the EMEA region. WILD is not just a network, it’s a sisterhood for sharing knowledge, making connections, cheering each other on, and having some fun along the way. At its core, WILD is all about advocating for inclusion in every sense of the word.

At WILD, our weekly meetings aren’t just appointments in our calendars; they serve as a bridge to a diverse range of topics. These gatherings, from deep-dive technical discussions to personal storytelling sessions and relaxed coffee chats, serve as a platform for constant learning and connection. They embody the essence of what a supportive community for women in tech should be – a space for mutual growth, sharing, and empowerment.

The Power of External Perspectives

WILD is all about fostering growth through diverse perspectives. We invite external speakers to share their expertise and experiences, enriching our community with fresh ideas and unique insights. These sessions keep us connected with wider discussions within and beyond the tech industry. For instance, we’ve broadened our knowledge of personal finance through an insightful talk by the economist Kjersti Grønseth, making us better tech professionals and more informed individuals.

Deepening Understanding of Our Technologies

One of the key activities within WILD is learning about our technologies directly from the people who develop them. This in-depth knowledge exchange offers members invaluable insights, enhancing their expertise and confidence – two vital aspects in empowering women in tech. By knowing whom to ask, we gain clarity and direction, recognizing that sometimes, «knowing whom to ask is half the battle.»

Exploring Other Teams

Another unique aspect of WILD is the chance to learn about the roles of other colleagues in our building. By breaking down silos and fostering cross-team understanding, we enable a more collaborative and innovative work environment.

Career Journey Sharing

There’s no “one size fits all” or one career path you should follow working in the tech industry. Members of WILD share their career journeys, providing inspiration and insights for their fellow colleagues. These sessions offer a platform to learn from each other’s experiences, successes, and challenges, paving the way for the next generation of women in the industry.

Workshops for Personal and Professional Growth

At WILD we’ve organized workshops on various topics, such as public speaking or how to create better presentations. These sessions, which are accessible to everyone in our office, equip our community with essential skills that foster personal and professional growth.

5 Minutes of Fun

‘5 Minutes of Fun’ brings a burst of joy to our meetings, as members share their passions, be it a quick language lesson or a unique hobby. These segments not only inject fun into our gatherings, but serve to lower the threshold for public speaking, encouraging our members to step into the spotlight more often than they might otherwise.

Social Events for Fun and Connection

Finally, our WILD community understands the importance of social connection and relaxation.  From hikes and picnics to creative paint & sip events, we provide ample opportunities for our members to unwind, connect, and foster stronger relationships.

A WILD Vision for Tomorrow

As an ever-evolving industry, we must ensure that technology and its services are accessible to all. Everyone has a role to play in making a difference, and the responsibility of cultivating an inclusive work culture lies with each one of us.

So, encourage the women around you, stay open to learning, and actively participate in promoting diversity and inclusion in your workplace. We shouldn’t walk alone on the path of equality. With a community that has our back, we can truly thrive in this exciting industry.

It’s up to us to shape a future where diversity is not a buzzword but a lived reality, and we hope the WILD initiative at Cisco Norway can be a source of inspiration for companies looking to actively involve women in tech.


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