Shari Slate, Vice President and Chief Inclusion and Collaboration Officer for global tech leader Cisco Systems, Inc., is the University of the Cayman Islands’ (UCCI) keynote speaker at its Commencement Ceremony on Thursday, 7 November 2019.
Respected and highly regarded as a leader in the areas of diversity and inclusion, Ms. Slate is a first generation American whose family hails from Cayman Brac and Jamaica. She readily accepted UCCI’s invitation upon learning of this year’s theme, “Nation Building: Transforming the Future,” saying, “President McAfee had me at hello.”
Known for her mantra, “Dream Big”, Ms. Slate also took time out of her vacation this week to tour the campus along with colleague Dr. Cynthia J. Temesi, Cisco’s Innovation Advisor within its Country Digital Acceleration Team. Both engaged with UCCI’s leaders, members of the faculty and the Student Representative Council, leading brainstorming sessions and planning collaborative projects.
“Shari’s passion for making a difference in the lives of others, her excitement about UCCI’s commitment to nation building and her dedication to lifelong learning energised us all and fueled our resolve to fulfill our big dreams for Cayman,” said Dr. Stacy McAfee, UCCI President and CEO.
Ms. Slate is responsible for leading Cisco’s Office of Inclusion and Collaboration, as well as global Community Relations. Slate has been widely recognised for her visionary leadership and transformational views on the business value created at the intersection of diversity, inclusion, collaboration and technology. Guided by her thought leadership in this area, Cisco is embracing new models of inclusion and collaboration to fuel innovation, accelerate market leadership, and reimagine workplace practices in the digital era.
In her previous role, Ms. Slate served as Chief Inclusion and Collaboration Strategist for Cisco’s sales organisation. She was responsible for increasing inclusion in the revenue-generating arm of the business and incubating new strategies for fostering full spectrum diversity. Slate joined Cisco in 2010. Prior to that, she served as Chief Diversity Officer and Director of Global Community Affairs at Sun Microsystems.
Ms. Slate’s recent honours include the Catalyst Award from the Information Technology Senior Management Forum, The Network Journal’s 25 Influential Black Women in Business Award for 2019, Savoy Magazine’s Most Influential Women in Corporate America list for 2019, and Black Enterprise’s Top Executives in Corporate Diversity list for 2018.
Prior to these, Ms. Slate was named a 2017 Diversity Leader by Profiles in Diversity Journal, and one of the Top Influential Women in Corporate America for 2016 by Savoy Magazine. In 2014, the YWCA named her a “Tribute to Women in Industry” honoree. In 2013, she was named one of Diversity Woman Magazine’s “Stars Who Mean Business”.
She has also been recognised as one of the “Most Influential Women in California” by the California Diversity Council and a “Woman Worth Watching” by Diversity Journal Magazine, as well as the recipient of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women 2010 Corporate Leader Award and The Network Journal's "40 Under Forty" Achievement Award.
Slate holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political, legal, and economic analysis from Mills College.
UCCI’s Commencement Ceremony celebrates the achievements of some 200 graduates receiving technical-vocational and professional certificates, associate, bachelor and master’s degrees as well as post graduate diplomas.