Celebrating Black History Month with the Connected Black Professionals

CBP Illustration

At Cisco, the mission to “Power an Inclusive Future for All” begins with our employees. It’s those employees that lead by example to create a company culture where people feel safe and included. Over the last couple of months, we at the Cisco Store have seen this culture demonstrated first-hand through our collaboration with the Connected Black Professionals.

Together, and with the help of the Hatch, Cisco’s in-house creative agency, we’ve collaborated over the course of four months to create a collection chosen by the Connected Black Professionals to celebrate black voices throughout Cisco and beyond. Through this project, we experienced the group's passion for creating representative merchandise and ensuring that the voices of all underrepresented communities were heard throughout Cisco.

Although members of the Connected Black Professionals joined this project for a variety of reasons, the one that was most consistent was the notion of representation; both in the graphic design process and on actual merchandise. In order to achieve that representation, for the first time ever, the group was incorporated into our entire graphic design process. From the creation of the initial design brief for the Hatch, to each iteration and version of the graphics, they had a hand in the decision making for the entire collection; all the way down to T-Shirt colors and water bottle silhouettes. Today marks the launch of this collaboration.

Colors Will Vary

Now available for purchase, the Connected Black Professionals has also elected to donate all net proceeds from the collection to Cisco’s Fighting Racism and Discrimination Fund, to support organizations working against racism and discrimination in their many, destructive forms. Learn more about the fund here.

The Faces Behind the Collection

I had the chance to sit down with members of the Connected Black Professionals to discuss their experience working on this project and what the final graphics meant to them. View the full interview video here.

CBP Interview Video

Moving forward…

Work is a place that we spend the majority of our waking hours. For upwards of 40 hours a week, we are surrounded by the same people, at the same company. If we aren’t 100% comfortable being ourselves, we won’t reach the potential we’re capable of as a business. At the Cisco Store, we hope that with this Connected Black Professionals collection we are able to help amplify not only black voices, but all voices throughout Cisco. We hope that everyone feels represented, so they can bring their best selves to work. After all, we are all one Cisco.

The Connected Black Professionals are one of many Inclusive Communities at Cisco. At the Cisco Store, we will continue amplifying the unique voices of groups throughout the company with collaborative collections. If you are involved in an employee resource group at Cisco and are interested in collaborating on a collection, please reach out to cisco-store@cisco.com. Learn more about Cisco's Inclusion and Collaboration Communities here.

Browse the all new collection here. And don’t forget, for every item sold from this collection, we will be donated the net profits to Cisco’s Fighting Racism and Discrimination Fund, to support organizations working against racism and discrimination in their many, destructive forms.

CBP Illustration

Keep up with the Cisco Store on Instagram and Twitter! Visit the Cisco Store website for 24/7 Cisco merchandise shopping, and don’t forget to log in if you are a Cisco employee to receive your discount! Want to learn more about the Cisco Store? Check out our case study here .