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Omobolanle Giwa

Head, Engineering Services Contracts & Portfolio Services

Shell Nigeria Exploration & Production Company

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STEM opens an unimaginable world of possibilities for you. I look forward to seeing you in STEM! I am cheering for you.

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WHAT DO YOU DO?

I manage the day to day running / operations of about 20 contracts with a combined contract value of over US$300 mn and workforce of over 150 third party contract personnel working across different functions / units in the company with main goal of ensuring that the contractual terms and conditions are fully adhered to and all contractual obligations are met, ethically, safely and responsibly. I also am the Capability Manager for Deepwater Projects Nigeria - ensuring capability of the Community to thrive while delivering projects that align with business promise of schedule, cost and quality.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

I have always had Mathematics and Chemistry as my strongest suits. I had passion for data analytics and problem resolution thus Engineering was a natural path for me to choose. Also, my support system (mainly my parents) have always encouraged me to pursue my dreams; not minding the stereotypical “Engineering being a man’s field” narrative. Growing up, my role model was my uncle who not surprisingly is a Civil Engineer.

Based on my strongest suits, Chemical Engineering was a natural fit. Studying Chemical Engineering affords one the opportunity/ overview of the entire Engineering spectrum and is often the starting point for Engineering. Chemical Engineers are versatile and relevant in the entire Engineering industry and many business dimensions.

Upon finishing University, I worked for over 10years as a Process Engineer on Deep water Projects across various phases of the Opportunity Realization Standard including but not limited to Identification and Assessment of Opportunities, Selection and Definition of Opportunities for maximum value creation and realization, Execution of materialized projects and Operation of resulting asset including Wells, Reservoir and Facilities Management with a view to improving, optimizing and maximizing the Production value. From experience, Chemical / Process Engineers also easily transition to Project and Portfolio Management as well as broadening to non-Technical areas; which is the route that I have taken.

HOW DO/DID YOU TACKLE OBSTACLES?

My parents have always been an amazing support system. My husband has also been very understanding and supportive - as my biggest cheerleader and critic.

Early on in my Engineering career, I had to leave home for a 1-yr intensive training where attendance was a critical success factor and the virtual option was non-existent. The long-term residential requirement could have been a blocker as I was newly married at the time.

To tackle this, I had to carry out adequate stakeholder mapping - getting my husband to my side, who then got my parents and in-laws to our side. Communication was open and honest. Expectations were shared and periodic visits / trips were planned accordingly with budgets allocated.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"

I wish my younger self would have spoken up more, leveraged the wealth of experience around me and put myself out there more outside of my core competencies and comfort zones.

Since I finally started working with a mentor and a coach, I have seen the significant difference in my career growth including personal development and progression. I have taken a bold step by putting myself out there more through volunteering for professional societies such as the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) to mention a few. I also coordinate an online hub of over 100 women in Engineering in my organization. It has been amazing seeing the level of growth I have observed in these group of women - having a haven with women of like minds and similar issues who can offer opportunities to learn from one another and become better persons.

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

Working in STEM gives me the opportunity to contribute to the development of my country. As an Engineer in the Oil and Gas Industry, I see the direct impact of my work on the Company's bottom line and by extension the Country's GDP. Working in STEM affords me the opportunity of lifelong continuous improvement and gives me an Innovations mindset. I am constantly looking for ways to improve on past achievements with the mindset that “every kobo (and by extension dollar) counts”.

 

Outside of work, my volunteer activities in the NSE as Head of the VI Branch Pervasive Innovations Committee and in the APWEN enables me to share my expertise with other professionals in the Industry while following my passion about the girl child - contributing to the development of the next generation of Engineers, particularly female Engineers as a mentor and Committee Lead.

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

To the next generation of girls, STEM opens an unimaginable world of possibilities for you. There is currently a huge disparity in the gender numbers between males and females; and STEM needs the diversity and inclusiveness that YOU can bring to the table for the development of the various industries. Worry not about work-life balance as there are several successful women (in family and in work/business) in STEM and undoubtedly, with the right support system - you can be one of them.

 

I look forward to seeing you in STEM! I am cheering for you.

INSPIRATION

My favorite quotes from two respected individuals are: "I am the value, so I bring the value" and "Always be happy to stay but good to go".