As a child growing up in Nigeria, only a few career paths were emphasized – doctor, lawyer or engineer. I wasn't going be a doctor. My father was a mechanical engineer, and my brother and sister are engineers. So, sciences and entrepreneurship were early influences in my life.
There is some truth to the notion that your hobby can eventually become your career. When I was a child, I had a fascination with sneakers. I wanted to be the one to have the “in” shoes, but didn’t want to ask my mother for money to purchase Air Jordans. So, I became curious about how to use technology to get what I wanted. The more I recognized how accessible sneakers were via technology, the more I realized that I was actually chasing a passion and building up my core skill sets that aided me today. The way I think about security, and technology in general, have been given to me by how I engaged in the sneaker practice.
I first joined Goldman Sachs as a consultant on a security transformation project in Technology Risk, where I helped develop one of the firm’s first implementations of continuous control monitoring. Upon completion, I was asked to help manage what I built, and I took that opportunity to move positions internally. This recruiting process allowed me to meet individuals with diverse expertise and introduced me to areas across the firm that gave me a wealth of knowledge about what a potential career in Engineering would look like.
I am the chief risk officer for the Core Engineering business unit, where I head Security Platform Engineering and Core Engineering Risk Management. Our mission is to aid in developing the firm’s security strategy to improve the quality of our platforms and implement corrective actions across the firm. We are currently developing a new initiative with specific cloud services and guardrail controls that expedite development to the cloud. This project has been an excellent opportunity to work with a diverse group of engineers who are passionate about the developer experience, while also ensuring that security is a first-principle standard.
I am also co-head of the firm’s Black Engineers (BE) Network. One thing that I am particularly proud of is being able to give back through recruiting efforts. A signature program for us is the Africa Recruiting Initiative (ARI), which has expanded into Ghana and Kenya, enabled me to go back to Nigeria to recruit talented engineers to Goldman Sachs. I’m excited about the amazing talent we have recruited from the region over the last four years, many of whom are self-taught.
Outside of the office, I enjoy working out, hanging out with my daughter, and I have loved to channel my inner creativity through interior design while renovating my home.
My advice for young engineers: Develop your skillset and put yourself in challenging positions that will allow you to grow as an individual. Surround yourself with friends, mentors and sponsors who contribute to your development. Ultimately, understand the uniqueness of who you are and run your own race. A large part of your success will be how you can bring your own diversity in thought, acumen and personality to influence and drive change.