Meet McKenna White
What’s your Cisco story?
I started at Cisco while in college at UNC as an intern in CX. I fell in love with the culture, vast opportunities for exploring new skills/business areas, and the mission of Cisco. When applying to jobs, it was very important for me to apply to companies whose mission was aligned with my values. But more importantly, that they were actually living them out, not just using it as a tagline on their website. While working in CX, I was able to take on 3 stretch assignments to try out different teams and jobs. I loved the flexibility and was so appreciative to have a chance to “try out” new things without having to completely dive into a new role/team. After doing a stretch assignment on a DEI team in 3P, I knew that 3P was the organization I wanted to explore next. About a year ago I started on a Strategy and Planning Team within 3P as an Orchestration Project Manager and have loved being here!
Tell us a bit more about yourself and your role at Cisco?
I am an Orchestration Project Manager in Strategy & Transformation team in People and Communities The Strategy & Planning Practice drives the portfolio management, prioritization, and orchestration of work to execute the People Strategy. All with the goal to support a balanced portfolio of work and to create to work in our organization.
My role as the orchestration PM is to create spaces and facilitate collaboration in designing and building solutions to the issues we are tackling. I am passionate about building connections, problem-solving, planning, project management, organizing information, storytelling, and constantly learning.
I have also been on the Emerging Talent RTP board for 3 years and have loved having a space to connect my project management skills with my passions for creating spaces for community, promoting giving back, and facilitating connections. My team also just launched Homeroom RTP program – mentorship program for those <1 year at Cisco 2019 Impact Month Winner – leading initiative to support Durham homeless population during COVID-19.
What is your superpower?
My superpower is being a great communicator. In my opinion, being an excellent listener is foundational to communicating efficiently. Taking the time to truly understand a situation, someone’s differing perspective, or context behind a contradicting opinion makes such a difference in tackling a project, managing conflict, and being a good teammate to those you work with.
What is your advice to people who are early in their careers? What is one thing you wish you could tell younger you?
Don’t be afraid to try new things! Create space and margin for you to explore areas that are not directly aligned to your role to find things you are great at or are passionate about!
It’s okay to not have it all figured out. Give yourself grace and keep working towards growth while also enjoying and thriving where you are.
What does the future look like for you? What goals/dreams you are aiming for? How will Cisco help you get there (If applicable)?
I would love to further my skills as a Project Manager. To manage a program or project whose goal is to help people be more connected, informed, or equipped to be successful in their career.