Feature Video

Leadership@Cisco: Karen Walker

by Joie Healy

Cisco SVP and Chief Marketing Officer Karen Walker talks about her leadership style and what she calls the 3 D's of leadership.

 Video Transcript

So, I get my inspiration from my mum. My mum was actually disowned by her family when she married my dad, so she walked down the aisle on her own. She was the principal of a really tough neighborhood school and changed so many kid's lives. She is a strong courageous, caring woman who taught me that I could do anything.

What I'm most proud of as a leader is really taking our marketing team to the next level, and really reshaping what marketing could be inside of Cisco. Our team stepped up for a big goal to really drive revenue for the company. I'm really proud that the team together we took this leap of faith wasn't quite sure if it was the right goal but we got there and now we are ready to take it to the next level.

I often talk to my team about the three D's of leadership. The first one is really providing direction, so sometimes you have to get off the balcony, on to the dance floor and really provide that strong direction for your team. The second D for me is around making decisions,- I think you have to make good decisions, bold decisions at the right time. And the last D is around developing. You have to build and develop the best team that you possibly can, because you're only as good as those people around you.

I think technology is going to be transformational over the next decade. So one of the areas that I'm passionate about is actually robotics. They're going to be able to program and do everything with robots that almost can replicate what a human can do.

But you think about firemen, you think about people who are in the line of duty and in danger and having robots there. If you think about elderly people who need in home care. I think it's going to be transformational.

There's two things that I do just for fun, when I leave the office, and they may surprise you. SO the first one, is I am absolutely fanatical about soccer, football...the real football, the one you play with your foot and a ball, and it's...I love it...my daughter plays at a national level in a national league. My father in law was a FIFA referee, and he was the generally secretary of the North American Soccer Federation that brought the world cup here.

The other thing I'm passionate about is design. This is where I get my creativity from. I maybe should have been an architect, never mind a chemist, maybe an architect. But I love design. In fact, I actually did my last remodel back in 2008.

And I'm ready to do it again. My husband calls me Mrs. Winchester, so I just love it, I just love the whole creative process, I'm probably the happiest in the tile store.