Feature Video

Cisco marketer uses her creative side to spark innovation

by Liza Meak

Cisco Innovators: Alex Rosen uses both sides of her brain to come up with big and creative marketing ideas.

Alex Rosen started writing poetry at 5-years old, when she and her family first moved to the United States from Russia, and she hasn't stopped. Many people may wonder how poetry and technology can work together, but as an innovator at Cisco, Alex uses her talent to her advantage. "It's my inner poet that helps push my innovative side. It's this hunger for human connection and really listening to someone and being able to share passions and maybe vulnerable parts of yourself," Alex explained.

But Alex is much more than a poet. After receiving her undergraduate degree in poetry and neuro-economics at Stanford, Alex continued her education and got her MBA in Brand Strategy and Emerging Technology at UCLA. She eventually landed at Cisco, where she now leads a team in Global Marketing, focused on sponsorships. Alex believes her ability to use both sides of her brain yields to creative business thinking.

"It's really important to understand the art and science of marketing and business goals," Alex said. "Using my personal passions around language and connecting with people, I've been able to create meaningful programs."

Big Thinking

Alex put her creative side to work and used a blank wall at Cisco's Customer Experience Center to design and execute  a huge digital installation. This massive visual helps customers understand the Internet of Things. "Over the span of a few months, we brought it to life to create a visual, immersive experience that allows someone to see what that data really means on a global level," Alex said.

When it came time to thinking big for the Olympic Games in Rio, Alex used her innovative side to do something that had never done before at Cisco; creating the first ever news and social app just for employees. "I was able to recruit teams, design it, build it, and have over 2400 global downloads across 48 countries of just employees using this app and posting their own memories and excitement and reading the news in one centralized digital location," Alex said.

Cisco's presence in Rio wasn't just about connecting employees, it was also about connecting the community and giving back to the people who call Rio home. Alex launched the idea that made it possible for Cisco employees to volunteer their time without having to travel thousands of miles. "I set up a global employee volunteer program where over TelePresence, employees could give thirty minutes of their time to help these students who've never even left these poor areas of Rio; to help them train in their IT skills, prepare for their exams, or practice English," Alex said. "We had this amazing corporate social responsibility team down there already doing the heavy lifting, putting the technology in, but being able to add to it and having all this feedback come back from students who never left a favela now feeling connected to Cisco employees all over the world, it's just amazing."

Live Nation

Alex now leads the strategic marketing side of Cisco's partnership with Live Nation, helping make music more connected. The partnership gives artists a new and creative way to interact with fans. At a recent concert at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California, an artist performing later that evening surprised fans with an unannounced appearance via TelePresence. "I think those kind of human experiences powered by technology and fostering connections is really inspiring and that's what drives me," Alex said.

Marketing Innovator

These major projects Alex has undertaken in the last few years fuels her passion to continue to innovate saying, "Being a marketer or an innovator at Cisco has been really exciting and fulfilling, especially when it's tangible products like a digital wall installation or a mobile app. Or also when it's global programs that involve people all over the world to be able to contribute to something that affects the future of IT and the IT workforce. To me, marketing is not just about being an ad, but being a value-add."