Cisco is a huge company, with employees that span the entire globe. The Connected Asian Affinity Network (CAAN) is an inclusive community that helps to make this big company feel a bit smaller to its members. Throughout the month of May, National Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we’re partnering with the Connected Asian Affinity Network to highlight the organization and raise awareness about the recent rise in Pan-Asian hate crimes. This includes an exclusive product collaboration that gives back to the CAAN Fighting AAPI Hate and Discrimination Fund. Shop the collaboration today.
We had the opportunity to sit down with some of the incredible members from the Connected Asian Affinity Network to learn more about their experiences at Cisco and being a part of the CAAN community. We’ll be spotlighting these conversations all month long in honor of National Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage month. This week, we’re focusing on some of the best aspects of being a part of the CAAN organization.
Several years ago, the CAAN leadership team self-declared their commitment to being the “most generous” inclusive community at Cisco, and since then, the group has worked tirelessly to make a positive impact on Cisco and the world. Not only do CAAN members have a collective desire to make the world a better place, but they want to empower each other to do that in their own, unique ways. CAAN’s vision is to make Cisco a place where Asians are at their best for Cisco and the world, and giving back is one of their most powerful ways of doing that. To date, the CAAN community has made an impact across more than 30 different charitable organizations, and raised over $700,000 to donate to groups around the world.
CAAN’s kindness and culture of helping others also extends to other inclusive communities throughout Cisco. Although inclusive communities are their own unique groups, they do share the fact that they all serve as spaces for underrepresented groups within Cisco. This shared experience puts CAAN in the unique position to offer empathy and a helping hand to other groups who may be experiencing similar challenges. From putting on different events together, like the recent panel discussion hosted by CAAN and the Connected Black Professionals to discuss Black-Asian relations, to offering solidarity and support in tough times, the spirit of helping other extends well beyond the members of CAAN.
The CAAN Family
Among all of the key takeaways from speaking with members of CAAN, one in particular was consistent throughout everyone; the CAAN organization has created a space that feels like a second family to its members. CAAN is a group where members can relate to one another with their shared experiences and backgrounds, and it serves as a safe space for members to discuss social justice issues and gain reassurance that they’re not alone. Everyone at Cisco deserves to have their own “family” that can be a support system for them when things get tough, and CAAN does just that for its members.
The CAAN organization is in the business of doing good, and that includes supporting, mentoring, and celebrating each other throughout difficult times. “CAAN has done a great job in celebrating what there is to celebrate- when things are challenging, it’s especially important [to do that],” says Monica Shen Knotts. Whether is fundraising, volunteering, mentorship or community, CAAN has a culture of taking care of each other and others that really does fit the title, “most generous ERO.”
If you are a Cisco employee interested in joining the Connected Asian Affinity Network, you can learn more about the organization here. Additionally, take their reccommended bystander training, found here. Keep up with CAAN on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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