Congratulations to 2024 UK & Ireland and Europe Inspiring Workplaces Awards Winners!
See Winners
Date posted: 16th February 2021

16th February 2021

Stories from an Inspiring Leader – Tony Colon

Stories from an Inspiring Leader – Tony Colon

Tony Colon, SVP, Engineering & Product Incubation, Cisco Systems

Tony is always aware of how his teams are feeling and immediately responds to their needs. To demonstrate this, Tony implemented “No Interruption Thursdays” as his employees expressed the difficulty of getting work done during the week with so many meetings to attend. Not only does Tony express his care for his employees, but he reminds everyone to take care of themselves and each other.

With the challenges posed by the pandemic, Tony dedicated a day called “Do Something Good day” where employees were given the chance to do something kind for either themselves or the community. Regularly, Tony conducts small meetings of no more than 15 employees throughout the entire organization from new grads to senior technical talent, where every attendee can ask questions or provide comments about their employee experience.

Outside of work, Tony is dedicated to giving back to the community. Tony currently serves on the advisory boards for the March of Dimes and the Hispanic IT Executive Council.

Especially with the countless challenges 2020 has thrown our way, Tony has demonstrated courage on numerous occasions. With the many instances of racial injustice this year, it has become important to be able to openly and considerately talk about race. Nevertheless, race is a challenging subject to discuss, especially in a work environment. However, Tony has honestly and thoughtfully discussed topics relating to racial injustice and has encouraged others to learn more and to join the conversation. He has done this by hosting regular meetings where the first question is “How is Everyone Doing?” This time for employees to speak up has surfaced a lot of challenges employees are facing, which allows Tony and all his leaders to be more empathetic and compassionate.


“At a recent meeting of mine, a colleague had to report the results of a project they had worked tirelessly on. However, despite their best efforts, the project was received poorly by others in the organization and ultimately ended up having a small ROI. Since the project missed the mark, my colleague lost motivation and expected to be reprimanded by Tony. Instead, after reporting their results, Tony applauded them for their effort and reiterated the importance of the project and gave suggestions. Tony’s response ultimately inspired them to make a few adjustments to their approach, which resulted in a successful second iteration of the project. Great leaders do not condemn failure but applaud it, glean learnings, and use these insights to guide future projects.”

About Inspiring Leaders

The extract above is taken from the Inspiring Leaders 2020 initiative which recognised exceptional leaders during the Covid-19 pandemic. You can download the full eBook with all the leader stories here.

Inspiring Leaders was created as a vehicle to recognize people who stepped up to help individuals, teams and organizations navigate personal and business challenges, and make a contribution to make their business, their community and the world a better place.

Due to the success of IL 2020, we have brought it back in 2021. We are now open for nominations. For more information about how to enter Inspiring Leaders, dates and fees – click here.