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CRN Exclusive: Cisco Americas Sales Chief Gleeson On Her Spiritual Journey, The Power Of The Channel And Her Decision To Leave Cisco

Alison Gleeson, a 22-year Cisco veteran with a sterling reputation as an advocate for the channel, announced in late May that she would leave the company. She spoke with CRN about what led to that decision.

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What drove your decision to leave Cisco?

It's okay for an executive to leave for the sake of change, and that's what I did. I had 91 quarters with Cisco, and four years running the Americas. In February I let [Chairman and CEO] Chuck [Robbins] know that it was time for me to take on some of my own advice, which was owning your moment of clarity. I talk about this a lot when I do different speaking engagements. It was just time. For the last year, you just kind of know. It's time for you to do something else. Chuck and I are really, really good friends, and it was probably the toughest career decision. It was one of those conversations I'll remember for the rest of my life. Everybody assumed it would be this straight ladder, but life is not about a straight ladder and careers are not about a straight ladder. They're more like a jungle gym. We decided in February and I told him I would help him and work through the transition to who that next leader was going to be.

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