August - 1999 - issue > Cover Feature
Jayshree Ullal - Cisco
Sunday, August 1, 1999

Daughter of a physicist, Jayshree Ullal always had a knack for physical sciences. In her nearly twenty-year career she has had plenty of opportunities to put that aptitude to the test, as an engineer, as a marketing executive - and, most recently, as vice president and general manager of Cisco System's Workgroup Business Unit, Enterprise Line of Business.
In the early '80s Ullal began working in the high-tech field at Fairchild, a semiconductor company, designing high-speed memory chips for IBM and Hitachi. When the networking industry started to take off in 1983 she left to design networking chips for Advanced Micro Devices, where she developed a flair for marketing. She moved on from there to Ungermann-Bass in 1988, a company that was making $40 million a year developing and selling networking products that directly competed with Cisco, then in its early stages of development. With a taste for adventure, Ullal decided to join startup company Crescendo Communications, which was soon acquired by Cisco, where she's been working ever since. At Cisco, Ullal oversees the company's business in key enterprise markets including wiring closet switching, datacenter backbone for increasing layer 2-3 convergence, and Customer Premise Equipment for remote WAN access. She led Cisco to the top position in LAN switching and continues to drive efforts to secure it a leadership position in new areas.

Ullal is admirably humble, attributing her success to three succinct factors: in talent, timing and good fortune. "Decisions in Silicon Valley are based on results and talents," she says. Ullal is a true role model for the new millennium for many reasons, not the least of which is her ability to hold her ground in a typically male-dominated field. "My background and sex have never been limitations," she says.

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