As part of my well-being journey, I’ve picked three Microsteps that help me prioritize my physical and mental health. The first is to drink a glass of water every morning. I picked a beautiful glass that I fill every night and I have it next to my bed when I wake up. That way I don’t have to think about it; I can simply drink out of my beautiful glass first thing in the morning. My second Microstep is to close my eyes and think of a person, place, or activity that brings me calm. I use this practice to start my 30-minute focus block on my calendar. My third Microstep is to start one-on-one conversations and Team conversations by asking questions about the other person or people. I’m trying to be more deliberate with this practice to ensure that my colleagues and team members know that I care about their well-being as well as what they’re working on.

After attending Thrive’s Leader Journey with Cisco, one of my takeaways was how Joey shared the stark difference between a Corporate Athlete and a Professional or Sports Athlete. Whatever kind of athlete you might be, you need to build in time for recovery. I shared this insight with my leadership team, asked them to be aware of their own boundaries, and encouraged them to take some Microsteps for self-care.

I am also sharing my learnings with my family. Working on well-being is contagious it seems! One thing that I’ve shared with them is to find one small thing to celebrate every day. Gratitude is a powerful tool, and I find that this practice really lifts my spirits and reduces any stress. Some of the other things I do to reduce stress are to be out in nature. I love spending time in my garden, with my loved ones, dogs, horses, and bees. I truly value the little things, and being grateful for all of it has become essential for me.


  • Cecile Willems

    Director Global Industry Marketing


    My name is Cecile Willems and I am the Director of Global Industry Marketing at Cisco. The approach to my life is all about passion, dimension, and purpose whether personally, professionally, or in my leadership style. My 21 years at Cisco have been an amazing ride — it’s been an opportunity to learn, give back, and make a difference. Having been in leadership roles in partner organizations and the sales teams in Germany, I was asked to take on a global role for Cisco in 2012 and moved to the US. I am super passionate about healthy living, organic gardening, and cooking for my family, which includes a dog and two horses. I also call myself the Mom of about 150,000 bees the beehives call the RTP campus their home. This initiative is fully embedded into Cisco’s Corporate Sustainability Plan.