October 18, 2022

Chris Do & Cisco Capital/Cisco Refresh CMO Emily Foley on the Culture of Involvement — 3/4

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Episode Highlights

There are times when we need a tool to build, times when we need a tool to tear down, and others when we need to uncover what was there all along. In each of these cases, a simple question can serve the purpose. In this episode, we continue the story of Chris Do as he harnesses the power of questions to start an education platform that will rival traditional schools of learning.  We'll also speak with Chief Marketing Officer Emily Foley to learn how these same principles drive decision-making at Cisco Capital/Cisco Refresh.

Topics Discussed

  • Team discussion of previous episode takeaways [01:00]
  • Chris Do on the importance of asking questions [01:57]
  • Chris Do on teaching design [04:21]
  • Chris Do on transition from The Skool to The Futur [05:18]
  • Team discussion on takeaways, culture of involvement [08:07]
  • Introduction to Emily Foley, CMO at Cisco Capital/Cisco Refresh [09:40]
  • Emily Foley explains Cisco Capital and Cisco Refresh [10:20]
  • Emily Foley shares her greatest achievement [12:00]
  • Emily Foley on Cisco team culture [13:00]
  • Emily Foley on the importance of mentors [14:35]
  • Emily Foley describes Cisco culture [15:50]
  • Emily Foley talks about mentor Jim Huff [18:10]
  • Emily Foley on Kristine Snow, president of Cisco—Do what you love [18:30]
  • Emily Foley on Kevin Carroll—The value of play from Cisco Illuminate [19:35]
  • Emily Foley on involvement [21:45]
  • Emily Foley on courage [23:20]
  • Emily Foley on use of questions [24:25]
  • Emily Foley on the importance of authenticity [26:45]
  • Emily Foley on the challenges [28:20]
  • Emily Foley on 80% listening 20% talking [30:55]
  • Emily Foley gives CMO advice [32:55]
  • Episode Wrap-up [33:45]

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[00:00:00] Jaycen: There are times when we need a tool to build, times when we need a tool to tear down, and others when we need to uncover what was there all along. In each of these cases, a simple question can serve the purpose. In this episode, we continue the story of Chris Do as he harnesses the power of questions to start an education platform that will rival traditional schools of learning. We'll also speak with the chief marketing officer at a Fortune 100 company to learn how these same principles drive decision-making in an enterprise. This is a podcast about communication, marketing and the account-based mindset. This is Reach.

[00:00:41] Hello, and thanks for joining us for this third installment in our series on value and involvement. My name is Jaycen, and I'm joined today by Chief Creative Officer, Garret Krynski.

[00:00:52] Garret: Happy to be here.

[00:00:54] Jaycen: And Hiromi Matsumoto.

[00:00:55] Hiromi: Hey, folks.

[00:00:57] Garret: In the last episode, something that struck me was this idea of focusing on other people's needs and getting to the heart of that. And involving them to the point where we understand, and allowing that to give us motivation to overcome anxiety, or whatever it is. But that idea of just having that focus, not so internally focused but externally focused, was so valuable, as a teacher, as a communicator, as whatever. And then out of that comes generosity. To me, that's a lesson that we all need. And, you know, as leaders, as teachers, it really will help us to frame why we do what we do.

[00:01:37] Hiromi: Yeah, I think one challenge to that, too, is that we don't all go around voicing our needs publicly all the time. So, if we're interested in an act of service, part of that is the art of drawing people out, and that's something that Chris is really good at. He's able to ask the right questions, get people to express themselves. I think that's half the battle right there.

[00:01:59] Chris Do: One of the best compliments we get, and we get them quite often, is something to the effect of, I learned more from watching this one video than four years of fill-in-the-blank school-

[00:02:06] How to achieve work-life balance. You see people that are high performing that are very skewed towards work-

[00:02:10] And that means a lot to me. It's like, either school was failing you, or maybe we started to figure out a way to teach that makes it work for people. Now, you and I, we've been there before. If you've ever been in a big lecture hall, in a darkened room, an auditorium [inaudible 00:02:25], as interesting as the content might be, if the teacher talks to you but never asks a question-

[00:02:30] Speaker 4: Famous-

[00:02:31] Chris Do: Your brain is saying, I don't need this information right now, let's preserve the calories-

[00:02:35] Speaker 4: From the ground up-

[00:02:35] Chris Do: And we'll just shut down.

[00:02:36] Speaker 4: From, uh [inaudible 00:02:38]

[00:02:37] Chris Do: Right? I s- I'll slap myself on the face and just, like, pinch myself. I cannot stay awake. I need to know this material because the test is coming, I need to learn, but I can't. This is an old model of teaching, which is, I just talk at you, not even to you.

[00:02:53] So you'll often see when I'm doing my whiteboard sessions, if you ever watch those videos, that...

[00:02:58] Let's start with the questions. What kind of questions do you have? Yes.

[00:03:02] Speaker 5: So, how do you break into a project that seems too big or unobtainable, and there's-

[00:03:07] Chris Do: I don't tell you what the answer is at the beginning. I'd lead you in with some soft questions, and we work through the problem together-

[00:03:13] Projects you like and the projects you don't like?

[00:03:14] Speaker 5: Um, I think it's... I think I-

[00:03:16] Chris Do: Could we make a list on this, do you think?

[00:03:18] Speaker 5: [laughs]

[00:03:19] Chris Do: Are y-you that clear, or-

[00:03:20] Speaker 5: Um-

[00:03:21] Chris Do: Maybe we can learn together. What do you think?

[00:03:23] Speaker 5: Yeah, I mean-

[00:03:23] Chris Do: Okay, let's do it-

[00:03:24] Speaker 5: I'm interested, you know-

[00:03:24] Chris Do: I want it to be this thing where we peel back one layer at a time so that you, the audience, have a moment to say, like, I-I, I know the answer, and I... And you're thinking it out as we go through it. And I think that's what's happening, to try to get maximum engagement-

[00:03:39] This list. Any observations about this list?

[00:03:41] Speaker 6: Yes.

[00:03:42] Speaker 4: A lot of them really go hand in hand, like-

[00:03:44] Chris Do: Hmm-

[00:03:45] Speaker 4: With the positives and the negatives. Like-

[00:03:46] Chris Do: Mm-hmm-

[00:03:46] Speaker 4: Too many options, lacking direction is also something that's-

[00:03:48] Chris Do: Okay, stay there. Yes, you're right. Okay. You're right, right. Too many options-

[00:03:52] There is a method to it, and it is planned, to a degree. But that's what my dad would do: he would ask me questions to help me figure things out, which is pretty miraculous, only in hindsight. I've been modeling myself unintentionally after the way my dad talks about things. I am carrying those lessons with me, in the way I hold myself, in the way that I ask questions. People swill often compliment one of the videos by saying, you have a way of explaining things so simply, in ways that I can understand. How did you get so good at this so fast?

[00:04:33] Well, I made my first video in 2014-

[00:04:36] Speaker 8: How do we make money from-

[00:04:36] Chris Do: Okay, let's end it on that question. Thanks for tuning in, you guys. We'll see you next week. I'm Chris Doe, and this is Jose Caballer. If you like what you're seeing, subscribe and-

[00:04:44] So at that point, I was already teaching for about 14 years as a part-time instructor. I put in those 10, 14 years teaching to get comfortable, listening, learning, asking questions-

[00:04:57] Asking questions, what kind of questions do you have? How can I help you? How can I be of service to you today?

[00:05:02] And problem solving in real time-

[00:05:04] Okay, so here we go. What makes you unhappy? What projects make you unhappy?

[00:05:09] Speaker 5: Um-

[00:05:09] Chris Do: So if you can work and teach-

[00:05:10] Speaker 5: Projects make me [inaudible 00:05:12]

[00:05:11] Chris Do: Creative people, I think you've probably gone through some of the toughest teaching you'll ever have to experience in your life.

[00:05:19] The first thing anybody learns about your brand is your name. So there's a lot of important weight to it and it's very difficult. My former business partner Jose, my former mentor, uh he had a company already, it's called The Skool. So I didn't really have to think about it. And Skool is spelled S-K-O-O-L. Right?

[00:05:34] Jose Caballer: Welcome to The Skool. I'm Jose Caballer, and I talk about the design of business-

[00:05:38] Chris Do: Jose is a lot of different things, but one thing that few people could deny, he's, he's fairly brilliant. He has ADHD, like diagnosed, and so he has this ability to string together some pretty complex ideas that are coherent when you just let him do his thing. But there were some sensitive feelings between Jose and myself, and eventually we decided to part ways, two and a half years into our business venture. And I'm like, what am I going to call myself? This is so weird. And... And I got nothing.

[00:06:08] And nothing. Until... there was one point where we were having, like, an old lovers' quarrel online, where we were talking smack about each other indirectly, as a proxy for something. So he kind of writes this angry manifesto, because I wrote something, he's just responding. Like, we're not really talking to each other, it's hilarious. He writes this massive rant, and he's like, you know, in the 21st century, this and this will happen; designers will be invited to tables, so in the future, in the future, in the future... And he keeps writing this thing. And he's angry. I'm reading it like, I know you're talking to me. And I-I didn't do this to spite him, but I'm like, in the future this will happen. You are listening to the future. It sounds s- a little self-important, but it sounds pretty cool.

[00:06:52] Welcome to the Future Design Conference 2024. You are watching the future. You are not the past; the future is what you make it. Oh, this is starting to work! That's what we need to be called because we want that future. And so we'll call ourselves the Future.

[00:07:08] I do a quick search. We can get it. And eventually, we got the URL, but we have to spell it a little differently. So it's spelled F-U-T-U-R, there's no E. And people start pestering me online. Um, you guys, is it because you love Futura, one of your most favorite typefaces? Like, no, nah, maybe, I don't... no, not really, but I'll go with that. Is it, like, European, like the Futur? Like, no. Oh, Chris, you keep misspelling this! Where did the E go? And that was the explanation. I'm like, oh! We just dropped the E-go. And people were like, bam! That was it.

[00:07:52] And so now when people ask me that question, I pretend, sometimes, like, it was all this big, grand scheme. The Futur is spelled F-U-T-U-R. Where'd the E go? We dropped the ego.

[00:08:07] Jaycen: Uh, so one of the things that I-I took from just, uh, a couple little comments he said, just about putting in reps, maybe sometimes we have an expectation [laughs] that we should be a remarkable teacher or speaker simply because we're put in that position. But, man, did he spend the time, you know? And so our expectation on ourself maybe needs to be reduced [laughs] because if we're willing to go through that exploration of looking at the audience or the student or the customer's needs and then allowing that to inform what questions we ask and where we go from there, that's a process, that takes time to develop. Uh, you know, he's 14... 10, 14 years in here, [laughs] and he's-

[00:08:53] Garret: Yeah-

[00:08:53] Jaycen: At this point where he's beginning. And so this process to become, uh, someone who uses questions and involves other people is not an overnight thing.

[00:09:03] Hiromi: Yeah, there's some real catharsis in hearing a story like that. So often we experience friction that doesn't have a natural resolve. Maybe we never see closure on some of these issues. And, u-uh, it can lead to everyone feeling a little frustrated sometimes. I think sometimes the product can even suffer as well. In Chris's case, he was able to build the culture that he needed from the ground up, and I think for many of us, the takeaway probably is more so in the way that we contribute to the culture that we choose to be a part of.

[00:09:32] We were really fortunate to speak to someone who's also very passionate about the culture that they worked to build. Jason, this is your guest. Do you want to introduce our next guest?

[00:09:41] Jaycen: Yeah. By way of introduction, so Emily Foley, she's a Senior Marketing & Communications Executive for a well-known, Fortune 100 company, Cisco. And currently, she serves as CMO, responsible for global marketing and communications at Cisco Capital and Cisco Refresh. So welcome, Emily. Glad to have you with us.

[00:10:01] Emily Foley: Thank you, Jason. It's a pleasure.

[00:10:03] Jaycen: We just need to start out and say, Cisco is basically saving the day here because we had a recording software that didn't work, and so we pivoted. And Emily was so gracious to provide the tools and the means to actually have a conversation [laughs] that we could record and talk so this-

[00:10:19] So just, uh, help our listeners. We know what Cisco is, but what is Cisco Capital and what is Cisco Refresh?

[00:10:26] Emily Foley: Cisco Capital is actually celebrating its 25th anniversary right now. We were created to enable Cisco and our customers and our partners through flexible payment solutions. So we're a payment advisor, we help guide all of our salespeople and our customers and our partners, because even if you have a lot of cash sitting on hand or if you're a small business and you don't, you might want to think about ways to invest in your business, or you might think about different ways to pay so that you can get more technology and scale. And that's where Cisco Capital comes in. It also helps with our partners from a credit capacity and cashflow issue as well.

[00:11:11] And Cisco Refresh is the green side of the business. That is the certified remanufactured equipment that we get to bring back, remanufacture, recycle what we can't remanufacture, and then get that back in the market. So the carbon footprint is far less than if it's brand new, because it's already been taken out of the ground and created.

[00:11:38] Jaycen: Oh, that's cool. Well-

[00:11:39] Emily Foley: We're finding ways to use it again. [laughs]

[00:11:42] Jaycen: Well, that sounds great. I mean, we all need money and we all need to do our part to renew and refresh [laughs], so it's great to see that Cisco is doing that.

[00:11:50] So this podcast obviously centers around achievement. What would you say is your greatest achievement? It could be something professionally, could be something personally, or maybe it's a bit of both.

[00:12:03] Emily Foley: Yeah, so thank you for the question. I would say personally, my family is my greatest achievement: my two teenage children who are happy, well-adjusted and thriving. And they're nice. And I'm really proud of that because-

[00:12:20] Jaycen: [laughs] That's cool-

[00:12:20] Emily Foley: A lot of people who have teenagers may not be able to say that their teenagers are nice-

[00:12:24] Jaycen: Right-

[00:12:25] Emily Foley: And then also I sail, and I'm about to do my Bareboat 104 course that essentially will enable me to charter boats internationally, and it's very difficult to get to this level. And I love being on the water; that helps set all of my intention, it erases everything from my mind, and really helps... It's a very meditative sport [inaudible 00:12:54].

[00:12:54] And I would say... That leads to the professional success. And I would say my team at work today is my favorite and greatest achievement. We work so well together. We are all very different. We come from different parts of the world. We follow the sun because of that, which is exciting, so someone is always on. But we all come to the table with very different perspectives, and I appreciate that so much because it really helps us as a team think through everything very thoroughly. But we also can do it very quickly together because we're all thinking about it from our own perspectives. And the output is magnificent.

[00:13:45] So I think the service to the customer, to our partners and to the company has been amazing to watch. And I've watched people step into leadership roles that weren't in the past, and it is such... it's a gift. It's like watching your children succeed, you know what I mean? But they're my friends and my peers-

[00:14:04] Jaycen: Yep. I love that those achievements, they're very people-orientated as well, especially around, I guess, professionally and helping your team be collaborative, and inspire them and help them to go to their achievement professionally. What do you think has helped you to do that? Is there something that has helped to still in you the ability to get there?

[00:14:28] Emily Foley: Yes-

[00:14:29] Jaycen: What would you say?

[00:14:29] Emily Foley: I would say multiple things. So from the very beginning of my career, I have had incredible mentors. And those mentors have given me the runway and the freedom to spread my wings, to try things, let me know it's okay to fail, because everything doesn't work out all the time. And one of my previous mentors who I'm still dear friends with today said, "It's not heart surgery." However, those people who are doing heart surgery, that is important; please don't fail [laughs]. But-

[00:15:07] Jaycen: [laughs] Right-

[00:15:07] Emily Foley: Uh, it was kind of one of those don't sweat the small stuff, don't take yourself so seriously messages, because, you know, it's okay. We can try. And that's what our metrics tell us, right, in marketing-

[00:15:20] Jaycen: Mm-hmm-

[00:15:20] Emily Foley: Is we have to lean hard on metrics because that's what helps us understand, is what we're doing good, is it creating the results that we intended? And if it's not, let's pivot. And we've got to be nimble and we've got to think about ways in which we can succeed for our customers and for our partners and the company.

[00:15:43] At Cisco, this coming month I am going to be celebrating eight years. And-

[00:15:50] Jaycen: Congrats-

[00:15:50] Emily Foley: I've never worked at a company for eight years, and I can tell you why, and that parlays into the question, is the culture. The company culture, it starts at the very top and it trickles through like I've never seen. And it is a culture of goodness, putting your best foot forward, leaving your ego at the door, and doing the right thing. And everybody kind of comes to the table with that, and so it's a great starting point, right? I mean, if we're all at the table and we're all just trying to do the best thing in service of, as stewards of, right, then it's all good. But it's when those personal agendas and things that creep in at times. But also, we're a grown- we're a grownup group of people. And so when you have a group of real grownups, and you like to play, you like to brainstorm and you like to do good work, and you're coming from those good places, it's really easy.

[00:16:59] Jaycen: Cisco sounds like a great place to work, if anybody's out there that's looking for a job [laughs], it sounds like a great... a great-

[00:17:04] Emily Foley: Well, by the way, it is-

[00:17:05] Jaycen: People-and-value based company that's putting... shining a light on those things to help people achieve what they want to achieve.

[00:17:12] Emily Foley: Absolutely. And I would say that's the reason that we continue to be the number one best place to work in the world. And in-

[00:17:20] Jaycen: Yeah-

[00:17:20] Emily Foley: Many, many countries around the world, we get that acknowledgment, which is great.

[00:17:25] Jaycen: That's awesome. So in this season of Reach, we're speaking to Chris Doe. Basically, his current role is an educator. He has the goal of educating a billion people doing what they love, so it's such a- an ambitious and worthy cause. And it's interesting listening to Chris's story, that he thinks back on individuals that impacted him, right? He thinks about his father, he thinks about educators. And now he's using those things, like, currently.

[00:17:56] You mentioned there's been mentors in the past. Is there any one person, or can you cite individuals that had a major impact on you, and the specific impact that they had?

[00:18:08] Emily Foley: Absolutely. So I would say that Jim Huff, who was my boss at Computer Sciences Corporation, which is now DXC Technology... I think HP acquired them several years ago... he's the one who said, do what you love, find what you love to do and do more of that, because it won't feel like worth. And today, my boss, Kris Snow, who's the President of Cisco Capital, she had a very similar mindset. And she's created roles for me so that I can do more of what I love that will help us grow as a business. That's the secret sauce, that... if... as leaders, or as parents, or as friends, we all-

[00:18:57] Jaycen: Yeah-

[00:18:57] Emily Foley: Figure out what is it that really fires somebody up, that they love to do? Because if you love it, you're going to get good at it. And then it's not going to feel like work, it's going to feel fun because you're just honing that thing that you adore.

[00:19:15] Jaycen: Yeah. And how do you use that for others. Like even in your teams, how do you find that out? And especially around this idea of involvement, how do you solicit that kind of insight from team members and others to figure that out and unlock it for them?

[00:19:30] Emily Foley: Yes, that is a great question. And, you know, there is a person who just spoke to us named Kevin Carroll, and he came into Cisco Illuminate, and wow, what an incredible human. He is so inspiring, and he talks about the value of play. And so I love to play. I love to play with my kids. I love to play with my team. And he said, in this one session some time ago, if you play with someone for an hour, whether that's a team-building exercise or whatever it is, you learn more about them in that one hour than you will over a year of having meetings or conference calls with them. And it's so true, because when we play together, you really see where people are inspired or where they find joy or where they don't. And I think identifying what you don't love and what you don't find joy in is just as important as what you do. And that really stuck with me because I think a lot of that is curiosity.

[00:20:44] Jaycen: Mm-hmm-

[00:20:44] Emily Foley: I think it's just being curious about other people, inspiring confidence within them about what you see, the good that they're doing in their work, and recognizing that. And everybody likes to be recognized for their good work. And so, of course, that promotes that positive cycle, right?

[00:21:04] Jaycen: Yeah. No, that's great. One of the things that we're big believers in is experience and involving people through experience. You know, you probably have heard the famous quote, and I-I think it's falsely attributed to Benjamin Franklin: "Tell me, and I'll forget. Teach me, I may remember. Involve me, and I learn." So experience can be a huge thing. As you're just... related, this exercise, this environment of collaboration, getting people involved, gets people out and starts getting them involved in process. Is there any types of experiences that you can think back to that have really made a singular impact in your life?

[00:21:42] Emily Foley: Yes. And I would say exactly what you just said: give me the opportunity to try it and do it, and I will learn. And, oh my gosh, my husband and I started standup paddleboarding when we went to a wedding about 10 years ago, and we were terrible!

[00:22:02] Jaycen: [laughs]

[00:22:02] Emily Foley: Oh, we fell in the water. Thankfully, we were in a place where the water-

[00:22:05] Jaycen: Been there-

[00:22:05] Emily Foley: Was warm-

[00:22:06] Jaycen: Been there. [laughs]

[00:22:06] Emily Foley: But [laughs]

[00:22:07] Jaycen: [laughs]

[00:22:07] Emily Foley: Yes, and so then we ended up moving to Marin, just north of San Francisco, and the first thing I did was go out and buy standup paddleboards, not realizing how nuts the bay is with the currents and the tide and the wind-

[00:22:25] Jaycen: [laughs]

[00:22:25] Emily Foley: And all that stuff. And I thought, well, maybe I can master this. And it was real, true tenacity. And I love it, and we do it all the time now. And you can surf those waves, you can paddleboard, and you're not going to fall in because you have motivation not to get in that freezing cold, 55-degree water-

[00:22:50] Jaycen: [laughs]

[00:22:52] Emily Foley: [laughs]

[00:22:52] Jaycen: That's awesome. I take it this was all pre-sailing?

[00:22:55] Emily Foley: So I think... This was pre-sailing, and-

[00:22:58] Jaycen: Yeah-

[00:22:58] Emily Foley: It was pre-sailing in the bay. I grew up-

[00:23:00] Jaycen: Right-

[00:23:00] Emily Foley: Sailing on lakes in Texas, but-

[00:23:02] Jaycen: Okay, cool-

[00:23:02] Emily Foley: This is a very different world-

[00:23:04] Jaycen: Yes-

[00:23:05] Emily Foley: I will tell you-

[00:23:05] Jaycen: The ocean's a different animal.

[00:23:06] Emily Foley: Yes. And... But I think that too goes back to, it's finding what you love. And if people encourage you, or if you really love it that much, that you're just going to keep trying until you get it, that gives people courage. And I think courage is a key ingredient, because if people know that they're not going to get fired because something goes wrong, or if they step out of line, that's okay. The world is not going to end. But I do think that inspiring that courage to try new things because that's, again, another way we learn, right? And that's how innovation happens, is by trying new things and different ways and really experimenting.

[00:23:51] Jaycen: Yeah. No, a- a lot of those things resonate with the story that Chris relates. And Chris, uh, we're really exploring this idea of use of questions. Questions can help solicit, uh, obviously the feedback that we need in order to understand, maybe, how to give someone courage, or what they need. There's challenges to doing that, right? Sometimes maybe it's a challenge of actually posing the right types of questions. Or maybe some just hold back maybe just based on their personality. But what have you seen that works in terms of getting people involved through the use, perhaps, of questions? How do we give people the courage that they need in order maybe for them to ask other leadership the right questions so that they can continue to advance and grow?

[00:24:35] Emily Foley: Absolutely. So I think there's no bad question.

[00:24:39] Jaycen: Mm-hmm-

[00:24:39] Emily Foley: And I tell that to my team all the time, because we work for an acronym-heavy company.

[00:24:45] Jaycen: [laughs]

[00:24:45] Emily Foley: And every acronym has multiple meanings. So-

[00:24:49] Jaycen: Yeah-

[00:24:49] Emily Foley: Questions are great. One of the questions I think is the most important is to understand the why-

[00:24:57] Jaycen: Hmm-

[00:24:57] Emily Foley: Why are we doing this? Why are we doing it this way? And I always allow and encourage people to ask why if they don't understand, because then they understand what their part in something is. We are all leaders; every single person has a leadership role in everything they do. Whether you are fresh out of school, whether you're an intern, whether you're the CEO, everyone is a leader in their own way. And I think that courage is not only shown in terms of words or questions, but it's shown by your actions and how you show up. And if you demonstrate that courage, other people will see that it's okay.

[00:25:44] It's like bad behavior; if people say, oh, well that's okay and let's tolerate that, that just begets more bad behavior, right? So you can show and demonstrate leadership through courage or through questions or by your actions, and I think that is just as powerful because it opens so many doors.

[00:26:06] Jaycen: Yeah. No, that's a good point. The question that you asked there, why, really is a open-ended question. It kind of ascertains an individual's beliefs and views and thoughts rather than a yes-no. One of the researchers that we had on was talking about that, and it's, uh, even being an educator, that she's changed her style of education based on understanding it's about learning and applying rather than just having the right answer.

[00:26:34] Everybody is a leader, but your position, you have a team. What are the behaviors that you see as important to model so that your team knows, I can be okay doing this? Are there any specific ones that come to mind?

[00:26:47] Emily Foley: So I would say that everybody should have permission to be their authentic self.

[00:26:54] Jaycen: Mm-hmm-

[00:26:54] Emily Foley: And I know that everybody's talking about how to be your authentic self all the time, you know-

[00:26:59] Jaycen: Yeah-

[00:26:59] Emily Foley: But I do believe that that's so powerful, because some days I roll up to these video Webex meetings, and I have my hair on top of my head, I'm sweaty, and I'm like, I had to exercise, people.

[00:27:15] Jaycen: [laughs]

[00:27:15] Emily Foley: This is so important for my wellbeing-

[00:27:16] Jaycen: Love it, yeah-

[00:27:16] Emily Foley: And my state of mind-

[00:27:17] Jaycen: I love that, yeah-

[00:27:18] Emily Foley: And I have no makeup on, and I look like I came out of the washing machine-

[00:27:23] Jaycen: [laughs]-

[00:27:23] Emily Foley: And that's okay. And so it's not being perfectly done the whole time, or-

[00:27:29] Jaycen: Mm-hmm-

[00:27:30] Emily Foley: It's showing up and you can say, I need a minute, I've had back-to-back meetings, and let's talk about our day for a second before we dive into this content, which by the way is a fabulous way to start meetings, is just to check in-

[00:27:45] Jaycen: Yes-

[00:27:45] Emily Foley: Because everybody is so virtual these days... and see how everybody's doing. And I think that's another way of connecting and just really being honest, because if everybody says, oh, I'm fine-

[00:27:59] Jaycen: Mm-hmm-

[00:27:59] Emily Foley: That's not helping anyone. [laughs]

[00:28:02] Jaycen: Yeah. Ever experience a challenge in getting someone or maybe a group of people involved, in the past? Or, uh, maybe, uh, you're trying to get feedback from someone that was maybe a little bit more closed, or maybe it's in a communication strategy in terms of the business, trying to involve your customers or others.

[00:28:20] Emily Foley: You know what, I-I have. And it's interesting because a lot of times when I've had challenges getting information out of people or-

[00:28:32] Jaycen: Mm-hmm-

[00:28:32] Emily Foley: When there seems to be a glitch or a problem, it typically stems from something going on in their personal life or-

[00:28:41] Jaycen: Mm-hmm-

[00:28:41] Emily Foley: A disagreement within the team or something like that, and so it's just kind of pulling that out and really talking. And I think that communication is so critical for every single person. And the more we work on being open and trying to understand where that other person is coming from, what's happening in their day, in their life... like, maybe they didn't sleep, maybe they're sick, who knows... And, uh, so I think it's just really trying to understand where the other person is coming from, and not jumping in on the judgment foot, because we don't know.

[00:29:22] Jaycen: Yeah. No, I think that's great-

[00:29:23] Emily Foley: And that has helped solve a lot of problems, and not even problems, but it's just saying, hey, it's okay to not be okay. And I think that's another piece of the Cisco culture that has just been so amazing. It's okay. We talk about mental health. We get a day for me once a quarter, and I think that's powerful. It's when you start to empower your people like, hey, we're all going to take the day off because we know we don't want anybody to burn out; that's a high risk in this new hybrid environment, because everybody's at their desk all the time.

[00:30:05] Jaycen: Right. Yeah, it's interesting, you know, we're seeing colleagues in a different way even virtually. We're on it all the time, and sometimes maybe we don't even have as much time as we used to to have some of our personal time. So acknowledging that, being okay, giving permission to show up in different ways, is how we get people to feel comfortable, which is a key component to involving others.

[00:30:27] What do you see some of the barriers are to soliciting outside involvement? Because communication is two ways, right? It's as much listening as it is us talking. And sometimes, as brands and communicators [laughs], we're doing all the talking. But how can we change that? How do we solicit more from our customers, our prospective audience? Uh, are there any things that you've noticed that have helped do that?

[00:30:52] Emily Foley: Absolutely. Yes. And so we have a customer advisory board, and it is 80-20.

[00:30:59] Jaycen: Mm-hmm-

[00:30:59] Emily Foley: It's 80% listening and 20% of us talking.

[00:31:04] Jaycen: Mm-hmm-

[00:31:04] Emily Foley: I think that we need to apply that so much more, and in a lot of different areas, because we do the same thing with our partners. And I think that the closer we all are, regardless of what anyone's role is to the customer, to understand what their pain points are in their business, in their day-to-day... we all sell something, right, every day-

[00:31:28] Jaycen: Yeah-

[00:31:29] Emily Foley: And so I think it's just really staying close to your customer. And the more we understand that, the deeper, more meaningful relationship and connection we have with them, which by the way, that builds a lot of amazing things. And my mom taught me that: you have two ears and one mouth.

[00:31:50] Jaycen: Right [laughs]

[00:31:50] Emily Foley: And so you need to listen a lot more than you talk-

[00:31:53] Jaycen: [laughs]

[00:31:53] Emily Foley: And it's interesting because the more I learned that early on in my career... and Jim Huff was the one who really showed me the ropes. I was 25 years old when I worked for him, I was green as they come. And I learned so much just by sitting in rooms and observing.

[00:32:12] Jaycen: Mm-hmm-

[00:32:13] Emily Foley: And going to those client dinners and listening to the line of questioning that got the customer talking. It's just getting... Who doesn't like to talk?

[00:32:23] Jaycen: Yeah [laughs]

[00:32:23] Emily Foley: A- A lot of people do, but-

[00:32:24] Jaycen: [laughs]

[00:32:24] Emily Foley: Maybe [laughs]... Maybe. But-

[00:32:27] Jaycen: Right-

[00:32:27] Emily Foley: A lot of us love to talk. And it's really interesting when you start to hear people tell their stories, whether it's their business story or their personal story, and they are likely intertwined at some stage. And then you find common ground, and that is the connection.

[00:32:45] Jaycen: Yeah. I love that. Thinking about your role as a CMO, there's many people that aspire, they want to become a CMO, maybe they're on that growth trajectory. If you were to give them advice, what would you give them as they continue to strive to achieve what they set out to achieve?

[00:33:01] Emily Foley: Find what you love to do and do that. Find wonderful mentors, but also find sponsors, because sponsors and mentors are different things. And mentors will help you actually on your journey; sponsors are the people who have a seat at the table in the room who can talk about you when you're not there yet. And that is really powerful. You love what you do, you're going to do well. And if you have the right people around you to help you as you grow in your career, you can't fail.

[00:33:43] Jaycen: Well, thanks so much to Emily Foley for contributing those insights to today's episode. If you like to learn more about Emily or her work at Cisco, be sure to visit the links in the show description. Chris made some bold moves to resolve the questions he had about education, business and design. In our next episode, he shares how he feels about those decisions, and what he wishes for all aspiring entrepreneurs.

[00:34:10] We'll also be speaking with the global marketing leader at Google, Desiree Daniels, about how we can use our personal success to fuel allyship in our own organizations. So be sure to subscribe and join us... next time on Reach.

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