How Shadowing Sales Superstar Dave West Changed My Life

Women of Cisco volunteer Nayeli Torres Carvente got an unbelievable in-person opportunity at Cisco Live Melbourne.
How Shadowing Sales Superstar Dave West Changed My Life
Mar 07, 2024

By Nayeli Torres Carvente · Partner Marketing Manager · Canada

With Tana Franko

3 Minute Read · 4 Minute Listen

Everything started back in Q3FY23, when the Women of Cisco Global team needed some hands to work on and participate in the Shadowing pilot program. I am a Partner Marketing Programs Manager for Cisco Canada. I also lead the Celebrate and Give Back pillar for Women of Cisco Canada.

I raised my hand for both. Yes! I’m the kind of person who loves to work on side projects that help to build a better place to work for all.

As a participant, I was matched with Senior Vice President of Asia Pacific, Japan, and China (APJC) Sales Dave West. Matches were made according to professional career interests.

I knew nothing about Dave before the match, but I was so excited when I learned who he was and what his role was!

Nayeli stands in front of a large blue and yellow Cisco Live logo.
Nayeli pauses for a photo after picking up her badge on the first day of Cisco Live Melbourne 2023.

A few weeks after the match, I first met with Dave to introduce myself and share my career goals with him. During the meeting, he mentioned that he participated in a similar program years ago at Cisco and had a great experience.

This time, he wanted to offer me the same opportunity, in person. I was shocked and had a big smile on my face!

Jessica Lai, his chief of staff, helped me to choose the best date to be part of Dave’s agenda. Cisco Live Melbourne 2023 was the top option. I talked to my manager, who was very supportive and helped me with my travel authorization.

For the five days of Cisco Live, I participated in every single activity on Dave’s schedule. That included the global keynote, region session, Executive Symposium, IT leadership program, and customer and partner meetings.

I was also involved in planning and rehearsal sessions. This provided me a full-spectrum learning experience and a great opportunity to build my network within APJC.

A single day would be packed with around 40 different activities between meetings, keynotes, dinners, press conferences, and receptions, starting at 5:30 a.m. and ending after 9 p.m. And I was included in all of it.

Nayeli, Dave, and Esther stand with downtown Melbourne’s skyline lit up at night.
Nayeli with Dave and Executive Assistant Esther Ho. “We took the picture after a dinner we attended with APJC customers in downtown Melbourne. Esther was also very helpful in introducing me to some Cisco folks from APJC.”

Everybody knows who Dave is. He is like a superstar, and everyone wanted to say “Hi” or get a picture with him. Some Cisco folks told me Dave is an inspiration, a natural mentor.

Reflecting on this miracle, I can say I learned a lot more about Cisco. I got to know my APJC colleagues and had the opportunity to have conversations with partners and Cisco folks around marketing best practices that I can apply in the Americas. Dave introduced me to some key team leaders who can also offer me advice.

More than that, I learned a lot from Dave as a human being, not only as a top Cisco executive. I admire his kindness, mindset, people-first leadership style, and his behavior in a stressful environment.

I started to apply my learnings inside and outside of Cisco.

This program was a life changer for me. I’ll be forever grateful to Cisco and everyone involved in making the shadow program happen. I highly recommend being proactive and participating in the shadow experiences that Cisco offers.

And when you do, share your story. Let’s all keep making Cisco a Great Place to Work.

Employee resources

Related links