Interview with Carmen Collins, Cisco

For this year’s International Women’s Day, our team at Slice is proud to celebrate women across the marketing and communications industry through an interview series.

This interview is with Carmen Collins, the Employee/Employer Brand & Social Media Lead at Cisco. Read our full interview series here.

How do you define your leadership?

Better for my team to describe. 🙂

“Carmen leads with empathy and transparency —she’s a standout leader. She has the unique ability to lead teams through change, she’s such an effective communicator and she ensures not only that her team members feel valued, but she also works to provide constructive feedback that aims to grow those on her team. She’s an inspiration because she’s passionate about her work and doing what is right, highlighting the work of others along the way.”

How has your leadership changed in the past year?

I try to make sure to check in more. Wellbeing is a greater focus. I have two brand new moms on my team, we’ve had postponed weddings, family emergencies, sickness, deaths – the past 12 months have definitely been EXTRA. I’ve told the parents on my team that their kids could be 21 and still be on Webex, that pets are welcome and to stop apologizing for dogs/cats/birds (they’re now part of the team, too) and to block calendars to get work done but also to take care of themselves.

Can you share a story that demonstrates a key learning for you in your leadership journey?

I have had the worst leaders in my career. People think I’m a good storyteller so I embellish my challenges, but I couldn’t make these things up. I’ve had two great managers in my long career, and using them as examples (and knowing what NOT to do from the bad ones) has shaped how I lead. Plus, I work at it. I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. But I value my role as a team leader and put time into leadership as a skill just as any skill.

Who do you follow on social media that you would recommend to other women leaders?

  • Carrie Kerpen
  • Dina Medeiros
  • Beverly Jackson
  • Fran Katsoudas

Thank you to Carmen for taking part in our interview series. And be sure to read the entire series!

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