Looking at the statistics on gender and diversity gaps in the technology industry, it’s not surprising women still feel like it can be tough to build a career in this space – let alone rise to a leadership position.
But there’s a growing number of successful women role models and leaders in tech. They’re sharing advice and guidance to help others take their careers to the next level.
And there’s one consistent theme at the forefront: Choosing a supportive, inclusive company to work for is the cornerstone for success.
We spoke with Mine Avci Biligic, Senior Virtual Sales Leader at Cisco Meraki. Meraki makes IT easier, faster, and smarter for customers by simplifying their digital workspaces. Mine leads sales for EMEAR Emerging Markets in London, with a team of twenty great sellers. Together, they cover more than 100 countries!
With a technical background and degree in computer engineering, Mine has a fantastic career development story. She shares five ways Meraki is helping her succeed, both personally and professionally.
Before joining the company, Mine knew Meraki was a large company with great products, technology, and culture. But she didn’t understand the specifics until her first few months on the job.
“During my second month, I was trying to close one of the biggest deals in my pipeline. My team waited with me into the late evening to support me mentally. They weren’t getting compensated from the deal, but they didn’t leave me alone in such a stressful moment. When the deal closed, everyone celebrated with me. I felt like I was surrounded by people who shared my values, and I knew Meraki was the right place for me to grow.”
For Mine, one of the best things about working at Meraki is the way they value diversity. When you walk into any office, you’ll often hear people speaking several different languages.
“Everyone brings different values to the table, and that’s an incredible experience. You’re not sidelined because everyone sees things differently. The culture is extremely supportive, and Merakians are the centre of the company. Everything at Meraki is built around our people. You’re encouraged to be your authentic self, and this creates a great harmony.”
Cisco Meraki champions a number of employee-led diversity groups
Learn more about these groups and other employee benefits.
Mine describes herself as an extremely growth-focused person, both in her work and personal development. It’s a good thing then, that Meraki facilitates this in a number of ways.
“When I started, I was introduced to many mentoring programs. This helped me to grow incredibly. I received so much support, both personally and professionally, through several structured and growth-oriented trainings. I also have relationships with three mentors and sponsors from the senior leadership team.
“People around you don’t offer support just to check a box — they genuinely mean it. Also, you’re encouraged to do more for yourself.”
The company celebrates team members’ achievements, whether it’s an event you’ve organized, activities you’re running, quota achievements, values awards, or something personal.
“We keep having great success on the business side, so we’re always celebrating our team’s incredible achievements. We also celebrate personal achievements, like marriages, buying a house, and extended family events — any happy milestones in our lives. I think this is what makes Meraki feel like home.”
Being able to make a positive impact can make all the difference and give you greater meaning and value from your work. Mine believes Meraki has two major impacts on changing the world.
“Firstly, we provide a technology which simplifies IT, allowing businesses to focus on their true mission rather than solving IT problems. Secondly, we provide connectivity to give people access to education and governmental resources. We’re making technology a bridge to the future, to possibilities.”
When your personal values are aligned with a company’s, it can make a huge impact on your ability to achieve success in your career.
As Mine shares, Meraki has four core values. Two of them resonate with her most.
“The first is #BeBrave. If you don’t have enough space or encouragement to push boundaries, you can’t grow. At Meraki, you’re encouraged to bring new ideas, try new things, and grow. The second is #EverybodyIn. My passion is to add value to people’s lives and create a fair world for everyone. Meraki has a ‘bringing everybody together’ mindset, ensuring everyone is supported.”
She also values the company’s fast-paced decision-making, and the way it quickly applies new initiatives.
“This surprised me because you typically expect long implementation cycles in a corporate environment, but it’s super fast at Meraki.”
Her final thoughts?
“Working here is like working with family. You know everyone will have your back and you’re allowed to try new things. My biggest advice is to be yourself — you don’t need to fake it till you make it! Your authenticity is so valued here.”