Authenticity, Squared

Cisco's Joseph M. Bradley (at right, alongside his son, Joseph '20 and wife Laurie.


Joseph M. Bradley has an impressive job title at Cisco, the multinational technology conglomerate: He is global vice president of the Digital and IoT (Internet of Things) Professional Services Organization.

So when Bradley, the parent of accountancy major Joseph J. Bradley ‘20, learned that USD’s Career Development Center was planning one of its popular Torero Treks to Silicon Valley in 2017, he knew he wanted Cisco involved. Connecting through the Parent Career Network, he saw the trek as an opportunity to not just expose USD students to Cisco, but to echo the positive impression USD made on him, his wife Laurie and their son during Joseph’s college admissions process.

“I’ll never forget the genuine care and knowledge that every faculty member we met had for their students,” Bradley recalls. “You could see that, just as in business, the customer was first. At USD, the student is at the center of that experience. It was incredible.”

It stands to reason that Bradley, a member of USD’s Parent Association Board, was excited, alongside key Cisco leadership colleagues, to host 40 undergraduate students for the trek. Students heard from Cisco’s Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer Fran Katsoudas, from Bradley and from leaders for the Cisco Hyper Innovation Living Labs (CHILL).

But for Bradley, the biggest takeaway was the caliber of the audience.

Cisco's Joseph M. Bradley (at right, alongside his son, Joseph '20 and wife Laurie.

Cisco’s Joseph M. Bradley (at right, alongside his son, Joseph ’20 and wife Laurie.

“What stood out was the quality of the questions that the students asked,” Bradley says. “They showed their ability to listen, to adapt and to learn on the fly. It was one of the most impressive student interactions I’ve ever had.”

Coming out of the trek, Bradley’s team leaders were also impressed. They worked with USD’s Career Development Center to create four internship opportunities, two each in data-centric services and strategy organization. Students worked at Cisco’s corporate headquarters in San Jose on projects before flying to Chicago to present them to the company’s leaders.

“They did an incredible piece of work on engaging and driving new IoT solutions,” Bradley says. “Some of their analysis will lead to a new service offering that we’ll bring to market. Everyone said  that they brought a different, unique perspective. They brought the voice of a different customer set that we weren’t necessarily in tune to, and they asked a different set of questions that ultimately challenged our core beliefs.”

“But you know what?” he continues, “We should not necessarily be worried about what we don’t know. We should worry about what we believe to be true and let’s start challenging some of those core beliefs. Their analysis allowed us to debunk at least three core beliefs we had in the marketplace that, through the work they did, we no longer hold.”

What’s next? “This year, every one of my leadership team wants USD students. We’re going from two or three in data services to 10.”

Bradley’s connection to USD and the Parent Association Board has resulted in more than internship experiences. Midyear graduating electrical engineering major and entrepreneur Kheperah Ray ’19 expected to begin a job at Cisco as a network engineer in January 2019.

Bradley and parent executives at other companies who want to tap into the deep talent pool of USD students understand the importance of what’s at stake.

“The cost of a bad hire is tenfold,” Bradley says. “If we can invest in a student early, I’ll do it all day long. It’s well worth it.” — Ryan T. Blystone

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