Feature Video

Leadership@Cisco: Hilton Romanski

by Joie Healy

Cisco’s Chief Strategy Officer, Hilton Romanski talks about his passion for surfing and his love of technology.

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 Video Transcript

I’m an avid surfer. And it’s actually a big part of my life. Has been for a long time since I was a kid. And what I love about surfing is that it’s not only fun, it can be really extreme and intense. But it’s also a great metaphor for so many things in life, right? So, being patient, right? Sometimes letting some waves go by and waiting for the one that actually matters. Prioritizing. And then ultimately when you catch that wave, making the most of it and shredding, which is awesome. So, I love that.

Three characteristics that make up a good leader. I think that there are many. Three that I think about a lot are vision, resilience, and decisiveness. Vision really is the notion that a leader is somebody who frankly sees over the horizon and takes people to where they normally wouldn’t go.

Resilience I think is critical because no matter what you do, your best laid plans are generally going to come apart, right, from time to time. And being able to pick yourself up when you’re down and being able to pick people around you up when they’re down and still go after the goal that you’re trying to get to is so critical.

And, of course, decisiveness. You got to be able to make decisions and live within them and move forward and drive; drive towards the outcome.


I think technology will enable us to live our lives in a way that’s totally different than we live our lives today. And I think there are lots of things like IOT, like self‑driving cars, etcetera that we talk about. But I actually think that the thing that’s going be amazing is being able to see things; being able to hear things; being able to taste things; being able to smell things, and being able to touch things in a way that as humans we’ve never been able to do before. What am I really passionate about? I would say globalization. I think the idea that the planet is getting undeniably smaller and smaller. People are getting much more connected. We’ve known this for a long time and it’s really accelerating. And for me, the ability to connect; to have an influence, to have an impact on the world and people on the planet is huge. I have always believed that in a way technology and business is just another language by which to learn about other cultures and people. And I’m very lucky to be in a role where I get to do that every single day.

Where do I get my inspiration? I get it from my family. I mean I think that the reality is that we learn so much from the people that we surround ourselves with every single day. And I’m lucky enough to be married to an entrepreneur. And she is an amazing mother and an amazing example for myself every single day in which she does. And two beautiful kids, who I think see the world and re‑imagine the world everyday and are learning in a way which I walk away just thinking wow, if I could only think about things a little bit differently because of their example. So, it’s a wonderful inspiration for me on a daily basis.