My Trip to Europe

I will always be fascinated by people.

This is probably the key to my curiosity about what makes them tick. When I began supporting the folks at FCG in Philadelphia by providing resources for our projects this was done out of necessity, not because it was my responsibility. The staffing of our projects became more important than what I was originally hired to do, but also more interesting. So began one of the most unexpected career journeys of my life. After being in IT since the early 1970s I had always thought I would remain an IT resource working for a large company as a manager or director. Little did I know that the decision to take the bull by the horns and make sure that my employer had the assets needed for projects around the US, would lead to my current position working globally in support of CCIEs and future CCIEs’ careers. Before that change in career my time working for Bell Atlantic made me very much aware of CCIEs and their needs, so when I was faced with the need to locate network engineers, I knew what I was doing. That funny cocktail we mix of our lives sometimes has ingredients we had no intention of including and mine has been shaken (not stirred) several times.

On the plane ride back from London’s Heathrow Airport this past Saturday I was left with hours for reflection on a very successful European trip. It had begun with a flight to Zurich, which was a very good visit. I had written in the November issues of CCIE Flyer about a picture my Girl Friday, M had sent me when she started looking for booking information for this trip. She sent me a photograph of Zurich which was brilliant and her email proclaimed that she could not believe I was headed there. I used the photo in my “Work Work Work” section of the CCIE Flyer and depicted a daydream around where I would go and live if I was actually living in Zurich. I was so amused then, when I actually found myself in some of the places I had depicted in my writing from that picture. I met with the COO of Cisco Gold Partner for dinner and just to be safe I had my CFO Toby Grey in tow. My first trip to Switzerland had me sacred of the language challenges I might be faced with and since Toby speaks several languages I felt good about bringing him with me to Zurich but I soon discovered that all of the people I had meetings with spoke English. That first evening with Georg from NetCloud was one of my most memorable business meetings. He could not make the next day’s Cisco Summit and asked if we could meet the evening before so he could have an opportunity to meet with the CCIE Agent™. Thanks to M, my very capable Girl Friday working virtually we had dinner reservations and we traveled to Haus zum Ruden (House of the Hound), a venue first constructed in 1348 to house the tavern used by the noblemen who met in the floor below. The tavern is quite a nice restaurant today, with huge timbers supporting an arched ceiling and hardwood throughout. We had a meeting of the minds and a great meal followed by a brief tour through the city to look at the Christmas lights decorating Zurich. I could tell Toby was having fun because he was staring out the car windows like a kid in a dream. As for myself, I am eternally grateful to Georg for the time he took showing us some of the most generous hospitality I have ever experienced anywhere.

The next day found Toby and me in the Cisco offices near Zurich. I was asked to be a guest speaker and shared a time slot with Eden Britt, the Global Lead – Talent Attraction World Wide Channels for Cisco. Simply put Eden is a member of Celia Harper-Guerra’s talent team. Eden has some great ideas and some new initiatives that are making me more excited each time we discuss their progress. He took the podium virtually as I sat with the channel partners in attendance. When it was my turn I was aware of the channel representatives becoming a little worn by the hours. So I changed my approach and asked Alain our host to put in the video I have with the IT Rocks presentation. Dogbot is a very well constructed video and if you have not seen it ask Peter Joyce Global Lead Partner Talent Development, who leads the development of the Cisco Network Academy and IT Rocks. I explained how the collaborative workplace and the technologies required to support it are what the SRS program is all about. My services as the CCIE Agent™ can help them find the talent to make this possible for them to make this technology a reality. The folks at ConectIS had a one-on-one scheduled with me to review the CCIE Agent™ services and Bridge Resourcing Solution role in the SRS program. We had a great meeting and I am happy to say we have an opportunity to work nicely together.

On to London again, where I met Sean Redmond for the first time in person. Sean has been doing a fantastic job with my Bridge SRS team. He has twenty five years recruiting for technology resources and when he was asked to join my effort he accepted. He is now my CCIE Agent™ Team Lead for Europe assisting me with managing the large volume of candidates and channels we are attracting. I am grateful to Sean for showing me around London as we visited with a large Gold Partner near Piccadilly Circus. This address was near Hamley’s a huge toy store that is nearly 200 years old. This section of London reminds me of New York City around Madison avenue and Fifth Avenue near the museums, old buildings nicely maintained. The meeting with this Gold Partner was also a success and we are beginning to assemble some talent for their review. I also had a chance to lunch with Germaine Eccles again, catching up with her work on Celia’s team. She is responsible for Europe and one of her focuses is on Retention. We were joined by Brooke Ellingworth Partner Talent Program Manager – Africa and Middle East, who I am working with in the emerging markets of Africa and Egypt. This was a great lunch and as usual we went longer than planned and laughed a lot! It is a fantastic experience having such a great business relationship with professionals like this.

Thanksgiving is not celebrated anywhere but the USA. So on that Thursday the team at Bridge took me out for dinner. Since I did not have my real family around me I was treated by my extended family in London. Buckets of mussels and sausages were the fare and lively conversation and drink. We had a great time and I was touched by the group going out of their way to make me feel welcome. After we stayed out way too late GMT I still had to call the USA EST. So I called the home and said hello via Skype where I had a view of the kitchen and the festivities. I went to the hotel bar afterwards and bumped into a flight crew from Delta Airlines, all Americans like me away from their families. We proceeded to have our own party which also went very late. In fact I was roused the next work day by my boss Charles who was wondering if I would ever show at all around 11:00.

It seems like a few months ago I was asked if I knew about the new Cisco Partner Talent initiative. A few channel partner recruitment fairs were scheduled and a Second Life job fair was being planned. I was fascinated by the concept the sheer historic significance of an IT company, the likes of Cisco Systems investing in supporting their resellers with the acquisition of talent. I have become a huge fan of this effort and I know it is the right thing to do at the right time. The effort includes creating awareness among school kids of careers in IT, supporting the returning troops from Iraq with the tools to break into networking, Cisco Network Academy, IT Rocks, the expansion of certifications, helping channel partners learn the best practices for training, attracting, hiring, and retaining the resources they need to grow. It is not a bad story to tell and it is still being written! I am certain that with Celia at the wheel the ground swell in support and appreciation from the channels I have witnessed, will only grow more and more each week.

In the USA, Canada, Greece, Switzerland, Middle East, Southern Africa, Egypt, Finland, Italy and France Bridge Resourcing Solutions has spread the word about the SRS program, the CCIE Agent™ and my team of senior recruiters, as we help connect the channel partners with talent. The team now has Emily my Girl Friday and someone I cannot live without, Sean Redmond CCIE Agent Team Lead – Europe and Ryan Webb CCIE Agent Team Lead – North America.

Has the global search found you?

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