In January, Fortune magazine named Brocade one of its 2010 Best Companies to Work For. In my YouTube video, I credited this extraordinary achievement to our culture of high-performing, smart, bold, innovative and hard-working employees. They are the engine behind our thought leadership and product innovation and make us the great networking company that we are.
On Feb. 5, we held a graduation ceremony for the first class of 2010’s University Development Program (UDP) students. These individuals join a growing list of Brocade university hires who represent the future workforce of Brocade. Founded in 2007, the goal of the program is to attract the highest-caliber students and give them the training and support they need to make an impact in one of the most exciting sectors of the high-tech industry. Last year, the San Jose Business Journal and ABC News recognized the program for energizing the company’s culture and providing a constant flow of new employees coming into the company.
With a focus on communication skills, teamwork, financial acumen, and organizational agility, the upfront full-time UDP training program provides those new to corporate life a toolkit that will last a lifetime. UDP coursework includes interpersonal communications, public speaking, team-building, finance, goal-setting, career planning, project leadership, negotiation, along with an overview of Brocade’s industry and products. These courses all occur before the new hires plunge into their day-to-day roles.
UDP participants span every department: engineering, global services, sales, marketing, corporate development, finance, legal, HR, IT, operations, and facilities – and across multiple geographies: North America, EMEA, APAC and India. Every UDP class incorporates a volunteer component at local charities and completes a capstone project based on real-world Brocade projects. The team assignment for the recent UDP7 class focused on green initiatives at our new Bay Area campus that we will begin occupying this spring. Their challenge was to investigate and develop plans to change employee behavior around alternative waste management, energy usage, alternative transportation, and use of office supplies. The ideas and enthusiasm this group brought to their research and presentations are innovative, inspiring and offer a new perspective on old problems.
One unforeseen bonus of UDP has been the strong personal and professional networks that have been built between UDP grads. With friends throughout many departments of Brocade, the grads leverage this unique network to share technical and business knowledge and to get things done. This type of collaboration sets Brocade’s UDP program and employee base apart from its rivals.
As Brocade grows and expands its markets, partnerships and customer base in the networking space, we will continue expanding the UDP program. A total of 8 UDP classes are scheduled for 2010 in London, Bangalore and San Jose, with the goal of hiring even more of these highly talented individuals this year than were hired in 2009.