2010 Overall Excellence Awards Presentation Transcript

From Treasury & Risk's 15th Annual Alexander Hamilton Best Practices Awards

DONNA MISKIN:  The Overall Excellence Award is a very special honor in the Alexander Hamilton Awards. The judges recognize one company for excellence based on the cumulative impressiveness of their offerings or the uniqueness of their innovation.

And as I mentioned before, this year we had an incredible field of entries. The judges were absolutely blown away. It was really difficult to pick the winners in each of the categories. But as we did, we saw some top contenders here and our platinum sponsor, Bank of New York Mellon, will help us present this award. And I’m pleased to introduce Susan Skerritt.

And as we look to the future, we see continued slow global economic growth, increasing financial regulation and ongoing uncertainty, all of which makes the path forward less clear. This means that innovation is crucial. We need innovation applied well to ensure that we continue to grow and become ever more productive.

These awards are named after one of our country’s most innovative financial thinkers, Alexander Hamilton. As you know, he was the first Secretary of the Treasury and was instrumental in establishing the central bank and a system of tariffs for our young nation. Coincidentally Hamilton was also one of the founders of my company, BNY Mellon.

And so you have this well-oiled machine and then you have these small start-ups that at first have no revenues, they’re not material to Cisco, but yet that require all these exceptions and changes and things from this big machine. It’s a little bit like throwing sand in the gears. Really. Literally.

And so it requires a whole governance and tremendous effort and energy to navigate through all this and emerge on the other end without squashing this new business somewhere in the process.

And as we mentioned, I just want to recognize a couple of the folks who have joined me here today. Sean Folan, who you heard during the green presentation, heads up a corporate finance team, and Maryann Von Seggern, who leads our worldwide channel-financing program for Cisco Capital, which is Cisco’s captive financing arm.

So thanks to both of you. All your hard work for the submissions, but also for the contributions that you make to Cisco on a day-to-day basis. And also an important thank you to Donna and all the rest of theTreasury & Risk team, not only for this fantastic recognition but being such great hosts to us all in the course of this two-day event. We thank you.

And although those were two important examples, they were really just indicative of how we actually partner with all of our key strategic relationships, and that’s because we want to leverage their skill, their expertise, to help us actually manage the complexities I talked about, deepen our relationships, but really, also, that’s what’s enabled us to scale and keep that flat head count that I mentioned earlier.

And being one of the world’s largest technology companies, it’s not surprise that our collaborative efforts move beyond the boundaries of traditional teamwork. We, from the very beginning, internally at Cisco continue to eat our own cooking. We usually say dog food, but we’re also getting close to dinner. And we do that through rational experimentation and disciplined usage of technology.

And at the end of the day, at least at Cisco, we feel that this is the asset that we can least afford to mismanage, our people. So we do all we can to create a challenging, productive work environment, but we also want to make sure that it’s fun and that people are engaged and they’re actually looking forward to coming to work on a daily basis.

And it’s a result of the treasury team that we’ve received this fantastic recognition, so just one more nod to them all and on behalf of everyone on our treasury team, I appreciate it and we humbly accept this award. So thank you, all. 

BROMBERGER:  The only thing I’d add to that is that at Cisco, too, it’s a very top-down effort. I mean, collaboration is in our culture. It’s from John Chambers down; we’ve restructured a whole management approach from command and control to having boards and councils that are just by definition very cross-functional, very aligned.

Territoriality isn’t rewarded at Cisco and ultimately for our innovation and our excellence we actually are encouraged to take risks as well. It’s okay to fail at Cisco. Not on a trade or not anything on the markets, but internally in terms of trying to be creative, trying to kind of move the ball forward, we’re encouraged to take risks and are rewarded and recognized accordingly.

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