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School: College of the Pacific

Major: Economics

Student Activities:
Member Delta Delta Delta Sorority

Class Year: 1983

Occupation: Senior vice president of operations for Cisco since July 2015

City: Alamo, CA

Career highlights:
• Joined Cisco in 1995, has held leadership roles in operations, manufacturing, and IT
• Held position of CIO previous to current position
• Inducted 2015 into CIO Hall of Fame by CIO Magazine
• Recognized in 2012 as a "Superstar CIO" by Forbes

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College of the Pacific
Wendell Phillips Center, Office 110
Dr. Rena Fraden
College of the Pacific
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA 95211

Rebecca Jacoby '83, Senior VP of Operations for Cisco

Rebecca Jacoby '83
Hall of Fame CIO and senior vice president of operations at the company behind the "Internet of Everything"

by Katie E. Ismael
Pacific Review, fall 2015

Within the last year, Rebecca Jacoby has been promoted to one of the top posts at Cisco, the worldwide leader in IT, and has received Hall of Fame status for her previous role as chief information officer. Yet Jacoby still remembers being a high school student from the East Bay visiting University of the Pacific for the first time.

She had come with a friend from their hometown of Hayward where, as she remembers, not a lot of people had the opportunity to go away to college. She also remembers it was springtime in April.

rose gardens"I just fell in love with the campus," she said of Pacific. "I loved the brick and rose gardens, and this whole sense of a small community. You feel like you were coming home."

While the school felt like a small community, it was also diverse.

"It's a community that had a lot of different elements," she said, citing the Conservatory of Music, Raymond and Covell colleges, and the law school as examples of that breadth. "The environment was amazing, and the people I met with different backgrounds. It was a safe place to find yourself and learn different perspectives."

And she took advantage of that opportunity. She entered Pacific as a biology major, but later changed direction to economics (thanks in part to the difficulty of organic chemistry). The new experience exposed her to a Fortran class, a technical programming language (some aspects of which are relevant to her career in information technology), and to a department with "big characters." Her advisor, former economics professor Hub Segur, was one of them - someone who opened her eyes to varied points of view, she said.

Today she's asked to give advice on becoming successful, that is one of the two messages she gives: start with being self-aware, and then gain different and broader perspectives.

That's evidently good advice, as Jacoby was promoted in July to senior vice president of operations for Cisco, a company that does $50 billion in revenue worldwide with 70,000 employees in 125 countries, where she has worked for the past 20 years.

As one of 14 members of Cisco's executive leadership team, she oversees the company's massive global supply chain; its global business services, security and trusti and IT organizations. She is also one of five women on that team, which she describes as an accomplished and diverse group, spanning genders, countries of origin and tenure with the company.

"It's really amazing to be part of Cisco, period," she said. "The people are really smart, but also very community minded."

For Jacoby's contributions to the industry, she was recently chosen as one of five CIOs for the 2015 Hall of Fame in CIO magazine, a special honor for those whose work has shown both creative vision and practical leadership in information technology. In 2012 Forbes named her a "Superstar CIO."

"Technology has changed everything - business models, the way governments work. Education is evolving," she said. And it was her responsibility "to drive that technology for its best use for value in a company."

With the changing landscape in education, Jacoby sees Pacific's new San Francisco program in analytics as an example of adapting well. The students aren't confined to a physical location and the program has built-in opportunities for real-life interaction, she noted. Those aspects of the program, and more, are why Cisco, and in particular Jacoby, continues to play an active role in supporting it. Jacoby provided insight and guidance as the program was designed.

While Jacoby has been successful at driving change at a company that is also driving change, she's not far from her college roots. An Alamo resident, she lives close to one of her Tri-Delta sisters and a former roommate. A number of Pacific alumni work at Cisco.

"I'm in very close touch with lifelong friends from Pacific," she said.