Feature Video

Leadership@Cisco: Rebecca Jacoby

by Joie Healy

Cisco Senior Vice President of Operations Rebecca Jacoby talks about the performer she's seen dozens of times in concert and shares her hopes for what technology will enable us to do in the future.

 Video Transcript

I guarantee you, I never thought I would ever lead an IT organization or that I would lead any kind of a technical organization, but it turns out that I think this is really a job that's been a very compatible job for me. It's about thinking systemically, solving problems, driving change and doing that with other people. You can't really solve systemic problems by yourself.

What am I most passionate about? That's a hard question because I tend to be passionate about everything that I get involved in, but I think if I pick the things I'm most passionate about, you have to start with my family. I'm very close to my family, I have a lot of fun with them, I'm very passionate about the things we do together and so that's a lot of fun.

I'm also very passionate about music, and I'm particularly passionate about Bruce Springsteen. I've seen Bruce Springsteen many many times. I've seen him probably at least 60 times. My sisters and my family and some of our friends, we use Bruce as an excuse to go on vacations. So if we decide we want to go visit somewhere, if there's a Bruce concert, then we're able to figure out how to go there and take a vacation.

Graphic: What's something that may surprise people?

Maybe it would surprise people that even though I don't have my own kids I have a little bit of a maternal instinct when it comes to my family and maybe even sometimes when it comes to my staff, which they may or may not enjoy, but it's true.

The way that my mom taught me to get inspiration is to meet a lot of different kinds of people and to observe a lot of different kind of things in nature.

Graphic: What are 3 things that make a good leader?

The first most important characteristic is self-awareness, because nobody has it all, so you need to be self-aware so you know what you have and then you know what how you're coming across to other people, what you're missing, and how you need to supplement that in yourself.

I think the second most important characteristic is connecting with people, being able to really connect at a level where you can actually really solve problems and you can really connect with what you are trying to achieve together, and what does that person need individually.

The third thing would be really great communication skills.

Somebody once said to me and I take this to heart which is: "You're not really a leader unless you have followers." I think I'm really proud of the caliber of people that I'm attracted to and that are attracted to me in terms of working together and I think that's really important as a leader to be around high-quality people.

I think an important thing about what technology is going to allow us to do is what is necessary. What really is there a need for? Whether it's a commercial need or whether it's a humanitarian need.

I personally have a big interest and passion around solving hunger in the world so I'm hoping we apply some technologies in next 10 years that can really do a lot to solve hunger on a worldwide basis.

Graphic: thenetwork.cisco.com