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People@Cisco: Amy Chang

by Liza Meak

Amy Chang loves technology and Star Trek and believes in the power of building something with meaning and impact.

Few people have more energy than Amy Chang, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cisco’s collaboration business. She jokes that her team tries to keep caffeine away from her. All her natural energy comes in handy as head of an organization that serves 300 million people worldwide. “Every one of us wants to build something that touches the lives of hundreds of millions of people, because that’s awesome,” Chang says with her trademark enthusiasm. “As a product person or engineer, you cannot ask for more than that.”

Chang has a history of having an impact. She spent eight years at Google and created Google Analytics. “When we started it was just a handful of core engineers and me, as the only product person, and we built it up to serve 86% of the whole web.”

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“Every one of us wants to build something that touches the lives of hundreds of millions of people, because that’s awesome,” Chang says with her trademark enthusiasm. “As a product person or engineer, you cannot ask for more than that.” As fulfilling as leading Google Analytics was, Chang had an idea that she couldn’t get out of her mind. She wanted a way to make meetings more meaningful and useful. And that’s how the seed of her company, Accompany, got planted. “I wanted for people, when they sat down with each other to get the most of that meeting, to be able to settle into it fast and just relax with each other and bring that human element back into that meeting,” Chang says. “With Accompany, what we really wanted to do was create that space for those relationships to take root and to blossom.”

While she knew what she wanted to do, actually taking the leap and jumping away from the security of Google, that scared her immensely. “It was hard to leave, but it has been the most fantastic adventure,” Chang says. It also helped that her husband and best friend co-founded Accompany with her.

Cisco acquired Accompany in May of 2018 and Chang took over the Collaboration Technology Group.

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Coming to Cisco felt familiar to Chang and it should have. Before the acquisition, she sat on Cisco’s Board of Directors but had to give up her seat when she was named to the executive leadership team. “I knew Chuck and this leadership team well enough to know the culture, and well enough to know the values and the amount of impact that was possible for Cisco to have on the world,” Chang says. She has a close connection with this team and is proud that half of Cisco’s executive leadership is made up of women, but in true Chang fashion, she wants more. “We need to make sure that translates down into every level of the organization.”

She believes Cisco will make great strides in that area, creating a space where the company’s 74,000-person workforce feels empowered regardless of their gender, ethnicity, or background. “I have never worked at place before where it was such a deliberate effort,” Chang says. “It’s remarkable that we do that here and it’s one of the things I love most about Cisco.”

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