Profiles: Joe Pinto

Joe Pinto

Joe Pinto

BS Management 95, LHD 11

SVP Technical Services at Cisco Systems


"It took me 17 years and five colleges on two coasts before I finished my bachelor's degree at Golden Gate."

Pinto is a friendly people person, rare in an industry known more for high-tech innovations than high-touch interactions. If you ask Pinto why he's so good with people, you'll hear about his family and the working-class Brooklyn neighborhood they called home. Pinto has come a long way from that 900-square-foot, second-floor railroad flat over a shoe store on the busy street. Along the way, his sharp mind and determination smoothed the way. He was selected at age 13 to attend Brooklyn Tech, one of the top public high schools in the country and after graduation, enrolled in what is now Poly Tech of New York, part of the New York University system. He moved to California enticed by the demanding labor market and abundant tuition-reimbursement programs the west coast had to offer.

He credits a GGU professor for his introduction to Cisco, where he has spent 23 years and most of his career. After finishing his bachelor's degree at Golden Gate, his wife suggested he thank John Chambers and John Morgridge for the opportunity to finally finish his degree through Cisco's tuition-reimbursement program. He left each of them a note thanking them for the incredible employee benefit. To Pinto's surprise, each executive called him the next day to congratulate him. Both marveled at how he found the time, given his heavy work schedule. Pinto's achievements at GGU ultimately caught their attention, helping to advance his career. Within a few weeks, he was promoted to director.

As SVP of Cisco Technical Services, Pinto leads worldwide employees who provide Cisco customers and partners with support services, ranging from technical assistance to on-site and spare-part logistics, to Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification, corporate quality and a wealth of web-based resources. He's often the friendly face of Cisco at trade shows and the unabashed cheerleader among his employees. The reason the system works so well, Pinto explains, is because it starts at the top with the Cisco CEO and Board Chair John Chambers, considered one of the country's most dynamic and innovative chief executives. His team-oriented management style and customer focus helped Cisco become one of the world's most powerful and important corporations. He strives to be a synergist, a leader who balances creativity with order, restores vitality and ensures future growth as described in his favorite book Barbarians to Bureaucrats. Pinto believes the Cisco culture that prioritizes customer interests is a big part of the company's success. Each quarter he meets with dozens of customers, even sharing his personal cell phone number with them -- and he's spent plenty of family holidays on the phone trying to solve a customer's problems. He personally monitors the satisfaction of customers; the company has a real-time customer-satisfaction dashboard that is available to the entire workforce.

Since joining Cisco, Pinto has guided the services group to anticipate and address the changing business needs of Cisco customers and partners. He and his team created and implemented "Cisco Smart Services" that enable the company and its partners to help customers predictably manage the health and stability of their networks, reduce costs, mitigate risk and promote innovation. They also support Cisco's overall services strategy by bringing its knowledge of the industry, its tools and expertise to more customers and partners. Cisco remains a leader in advocating and implementing interaction-based customer support.

Under Pinto's leadership, Cisco Services has received many industry accolades, including the JD Power and Associates Certified Technology Services and Support program award and Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) Star awards. "Their commitment to customer satisfaction, continual quality improvement, partner success and innovation sets a high bar for the global marketplace," explained Tom Pridham of TSIA. Innovations in customer service have won Cisco and Pinto's teams other awards, as well. They received the 2011 Stevie American Business Award in the New Product/Service of the Year category. Cisco also received the Forrester Groundswell Award in Business- to-Business Support for its mobile and support communities, as well as the Association of Support Professionals' "10 Best Web Support Sites" competition.

Pinto says that over the years one of the enduring lessons he's learned is that "life is full of things that you do control and a lot of things you don't -- and both can greatly affect your success."