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[$$] Cisco’s Guillermo Diaz Jr. on His Trusted Advisers

As a teenager in Pueblo, Colo., Mr. Diaz faced a choice: earn his college degree by studying telecommunications with the U.S. Navy or by becoming a jet engine mechanic for the U.S. Air Force—his “Coke-bottle glasses” disqualified him from his dream of piloting fighter jets. Stints at Intelligent Electronics and Silicon Graphics in the late 1990s led to another decision in 2000: become CIO of a startup or join Cisco as a senior manager to redesign the whole web architecture. At the urging of his wife, Gema, whose energy he credits as a source of inspiration throughout their marriage, he picked Cisco and its established reputation.