“Having an inclusive environment has led to us coming up with some really cool ideas. By having everybody speak up, you hear things you never would have thought of yourself.”
Eguono Onoyovwi’s passion for technology began when she got her first cellphone in high school. “I was so curious about it. I remember thinking, how does this thing work? That’s what got me into engineering. I wanted to understand how phones worked. Not just the hardware, but the network and the software."
Eguono is driven by innovation and change. “I love that my team is like a start-up within a big bank, so not only do we get autonomy and the ability to innovate, but we also have the support of an organization with a lot of resources. It’s empowering because you can make a really big difference. We identify and solve client issues, and we work together as a team to determine how technology can help serve their needs.”
Eguono has a front-row seat to the positive impacts of an inclusive workplace every day. “I get to work with very bright minds, where everyone has an equal say. Having an inclusive environment has led to us coming up with some really cool ideas. By having everybody speak up, you hear things you never would have thought of yourself. Our diverse employees are a subset of our clients, so when we come together, we're able to identify gaps and solve the needs of our clients.”
As a black woman in a technology leadership role, Eguono believes diverse and gender-balanced representation in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields is gradually increasing. She recognizes CIBC is making progress in its effort towards inclusion and diversity.
“The communities that CIBC has, including the Women’s Network and the Black Employee Network, are like a first step in bringing people together to have open discussions about what we need to do to be more inclusive.”
Eguono shared her personal story at an internal event where CIBC partnered with #movethedial, an organization focused on women's participation and leadership in technology. She says senior leadership at the bank came together to take action and assess how CIBC can better attract and develop women in STEM and create a more inclusive workplace. “It was really awesome to see and we need to continue having more open discussions about it,” she says.
A STEM career isn't without its challenges. As a first-time mom, Eguono says to not shortchange your career or settle because you feel the life you want isn't supported. “CIBC is awesome in terms of giving you flexibility and supporting you in all areas of your life. Do your research and know there are companies out there that are cognizant about work-life balance.”
Eguono believes it’s important to foster interest in STEM from an early age and, when women enter an organization, to mentor them and provide the support they need to grow and stay interested. She moved to Canada from Nigeria in 2006 to pursue her engineering degree, and recalls there were only a handful of women in a classroom of men. “My Dad was an electrical engineer and he fostered my interest in math and physics, which gave me more confidence. I think that helped me along the way and so I wasn’t really bothered when there were so few women in the classroom, as I had such good coaching and support from the beginning.”
Eguono says mentorship and sponsorship within the workplace are critical. “I’ve had mentors and sponsors within CIBC who’ve helped me in making the right decisions about my career. I want to stay with an organization like CIBC because I know my voice is heard and there's a bright future for me.”
Stories from our team
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"If you don't take time for yourself, you'll do yourself, your family and the people around you a disservice.”
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