In this week’s Breakfast with a CEO, we can hear from Trine Strømsnes, the General Manager of Technology at Cisco. Strømsnes is one of the SHE Leads Mentors, she has been with Cisco for twenty years, and held seven different positions.
In this podcast she talks about her fascination of IT, the love story that created the internet, and how Norway is a world leader when it comes to video conferences. She also tells stories of working aboard with meetings all over the world—from Paris to Dubai, and how she had to learn to adapt to diverse cultural customs.
An Accessible Leader
As a leader, Strømsnes believes that it is important to be yourself, but that the most important quality as a leader, is to be accessible to your employees. Second, that you must be good at communicating your purpose and your vison as a leader.
Strømsnes believes that diversity drives innovation, while also mentioning that diversity may create opposing opinions. For this reason, everybody on the team should be aware and agree on the purpose of the company, and it therefore is up to the leader to communicate this purpose.
The Importance of Role Models
Trine Strømsnes hopes to be a role model for young women in tech, and emphasize how we all—herself included, need to have good role models. However, when we find a good mentor, we cannot expect this mentor to do the all the work. As a mentee you must be proactive, you need a plan and self-motivation towards achieving the goals you have set for yourself.
Inclusion During Corona
During the Covid-19 lockdown, Cisco found new ways of engaging their employees. Cisco is a company that focuses a lot on inclusion, and started having virtual coffees where people from different teams were mixed together. The company also went out, dividing the company in groups of eight all over the city—and never more than two people from the same team. •