Championship continued

Happy! Excited! Grateful!

Some of the words that describe how I felt mid-March, when I got an email welcoming me back to the Cisco Champions for the year 2024.

So what is it?
Using some of the highlights from the 2024 application as a reference, members:

  • Get early insights into new Cisco products & solutions
    • (And when we take this information to social media, e.g. blog about it, we can have the community and SME’s review before publishing for technical accuracy and correct media/image usage.)
  • Receive access to Cisco’s engineering rock stars.
  • Expand your own network
  • Hone blogging & podcasting skills with participation in Creators Club & Cisco Champion Radio podcast
  • Provide feedback on products & solutions through various channels (beta testing, focus groups, etc)
  • Receive exclusive experiences at Cisco Live

In order for everyone to feel included and create the same opportunities and experiences for all members, the community is limited in size.
So every year starts with an application process that even current members go through, including questions like:
-> How are you going to participate in the program?
-> How are you currently active on social media?
Participating one year is not an automatic acceptance for the next year.

For me, a normal Tuesday started with excitement when I learned that emails would go out later that day to those who were approved new and returning to the program.
And followed with more excitement and happiness when I noticed an email in my inbox with the following subject line:

Welcome back to the Cisco Insider Champion community!

But what does it do for me? Why did I want to continue?

Personal, and professional, growth.
Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

You see, I’m a bit of an introvert, and my social battery is quite small.
Luckily my local networking/IT community is also quite small, in an almost “everyone knows everyone” within a 500km(300mi) radius.
But going out of your comfort zone can be very rewarding.
Expanding my network, getting to know more people within the IT/networking/infosec industries.
I’m pretty sure that if I’m ever in the market for a new job, it wouldn’t hurt knowing more people, and for them to know me.
Turning some of those connections into friendships is pretty awesome too!

All the other perks somehow align with my growth goals.
The exclusive experience at Cisco Live helps me professionally and aids in creating new connections.
The early insights and the feedback programs have both helped me in my current job role.

One of the items I haven’t gotten around to doing yet, but I want to, is to participate in the Cisco Champions Radio podcast.
It’s challenging listening to your recorded voice, let alone when you’re not a native English speaker and the pronunciation is off most of the time, but I think it would do me good to at least try. 😀

So, yeah. A community that helps me grow as a person, as a network engineer, and build connections and friendships, is definitely a community that I want to be a part of.