"I studied Computer Engineering in Nigeria, worked as a network engineer, but faced stereotypes and limitations. I'd show up at a work site, and they'd ask, 'Where is the Engineer?' I decided to break through those barriers,” Pele explains.
Pele's transition from Computer Science teaching and research assistant to the corporate world led her to a role of a HR Technology Advisor at Suncor, bridging the gap between HR and IT. Her career took various turns, from representing HR to becoming the face of IT on strategic projects. Pele found her passion in Enterprise and Solution Architecture, where she could apply her broad understanding of Computer Science and Engineering infrastructure to plan the big picture.
"Now, managing the digital portfolio for our Refineries I apply my knowledge of Digital Architecture and IT-Business translation to the delivery and operations of digital solutions. It's about transforming ideas into reality, a journey that started with breaking through stereotypes," says Pele.
Through her career at Suncor, Pele felt supported and that amplified when Mosaic, the employee inclusion network for Black employees and allies, was formed. She joined Mosaic when it was first launched in 2022, and through it, she and the other members are building a strong community within Suncor. “The Mosaic network is a space where members of similar identities connect, network and find mentors, resulting in a strong sense of belonging within the organization. Mosaic has played a key role in building my strategic and developmental network at Suncor in the last few years,” she says.
Pele has been with Suncor for 15 years in diverse roles across multiple functions. "Joining networks like Mosaic offers valuable connections, shared experiences and opportunities for personal and professional growth, fostering a more inclusive and supportive workplace culture." Annual celebrations like Black History Month help to achieve this.
Beyond the knowledge shared during Black History Month, it’s important to learn about Black history and hear the voices of Black people year-round to build diversity and embrace inclusion. Pele stresses the significance of awareness, making connections outside one's immediate work group and always seizing an opportunity to learn. “Mosaic has increased my awareness of the importance of celebrating Black History Month," says Pele. “I encourage people to explore various Black History Month events during February. Learning about the experiences of others is extremely important because it helps to create a community amongst diverse cultures, encourages authenticity and builds empathy.”
As we celebrate Black History Month, Pele’s journey and insights serve as an inspiration for employees to actively engage in diversity networks, foster connections and contribute to a more inclusive future at Suncor and beyond.
The Suncor Energy Foundation (SEF) contributes toward enhancing the social and economic well-being of Black community members in Canada. The Black Opportunity Fund and the Foundation for Black Communities, are both SEF partners that are Black-led, and involve community members in the decision-making process for distributing donations across Canada . Their most recent donations were $250,000 and $200,000 each.