For Morenike Adesina, CWB NOBLE has created a community – a safe space to connect with others that have the same lived experiences.
NOBLE is an Employee Represented Group (ERG) that stands for Network of Black Employees and Allies. Tangibly demonstrating CWB’s inclusion has power value, the group is committed to creating a safe haven for Black employees and allies to connect, learn and grow – professionally and personally.
“Looking back at my career path with CWB over the past 11 years, I can say that having the support of this ERG has played a big role in helping me find my voice,” says Adesina, an AVP, Commercial Portfolio Management, based in CWB’s Calgary-Chinook location – and the first to chair this ERG when it launched in late 2020.
“In addition to my involvement with NOBLE, I participate in the bank’s mentorship program as a mentee and, more importantly, I’m paying it forward as a NOBLE mentor to those just starting their careers. We have representation, now more than ever, of Black employees moving into leadership roles. It feels amazing to watch– and be a part of – this evolution, and I am excited for the journey ahead.”
Team members like Adesina who are engaged with NOBLE attest to this ERG’s value and importance –and not just because it exists in the workplace, but because it also has company and executive support to grow and thrive.
Here, several members of CWB NOBLE share their stories.
Eziaku Odimuko, Manager, Broker Support
"I joined CWB in 2021. As part of my onboarding experience, my leader suggested checking out the ERGs to see if I may be interested in any of them. I looked at all the ERGs within CWB, and it was NOBLE’s mission that I connected with most.
My first NOBLE meeting was amazing. I felt welcome. Members shared conversations on topics that were relevant to the Black community with candor and openness in a caring and friendly atmosphere. Topics such as inclusion, racism, bias, and more were shared in a warm, inclusive space.
Being part of NOBLE has helped my personal and professional development. I was invited to be part of NOBLE’s Steering Committee to help organize our programs and events. Overall, NOBLE has enhanced my onboarding, engagement, and productivity with CWB. It’s also helped me improve my organization and collaboration skills.
Through NOBLE, I took part in a career mentorship program that provided me with a unique perspective of CWB’s internal network and leadership development. This ERG continues to provide networking and mentorship opportunities to its members. I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of such an awesome group!"
Marc Barrow, AVP, Compliance Monitoring & Testing
"Growing up in the Caribbean gave me the perspective of seeing professionals, politicians, and businesspeople of Afro-Caribbean and other varying backgrounds generally holding leadership positions. I attended schools with a similar population make up, where the normal expectation was that the students would aspire to and attain professional, athletic, and business pursuits.
Similar perceptions are evolving here in Canada as people’s opinions are reshaped over time by the work of community groups like NOBLE. While working in the Caribbean, my work interactions were largely with Black employees and professionals – there are fewer such interactions in my years in Canada. NOBLE presents an opportunity for Black employees and their allies to connect. In addition, NOBLE allows us to build a professional network within CWB that focuses on realizing and harnessing the potential of Black employees, which I know is possible from the career successes achieved by my school classmates. NOBLE is also a forum to share common experiences and exchange ideas on how best to improve our work and personal lives at CWB.
Many news events over recent years have shone a spotlight on often muted bias, undiscussed hurdles and other exclusionary societal structures which impede or limit the advancement of Black individuals in many walks of life. NOBLE is an outlet for many employees to talk about these issues with a view to developing coping strategies for concerns that come up repeatedly and adversely impact their lives. NOBLE meetings not only assist in moving past unconscious biases, but they also encourage us to rethink and re-assess each individual’s potential.
Inclusive cultures like CWB are making the effort to convey that every employee and their individual potential matters – and that the organization is here to do what we can to nurture and foster positive career and personal development. With the support of executive sponsors and senior staff throughout CWB, there is an underlying theme that there is a seat at the table for everyone willing to work for it. That is apparent in NOBLE's mentoring programs. As a past mentor, I was fortunate enough to see my mentee successfully move on to better career prospects here within CWB.
NOBLE supports employees in finding the right tools and connecting them with appropriate people who can provide coaching, mentoring – and often too, a listening ear."
Maame Tandoh, Senior Loan Monitoring Specialist
When I first heard about NOBLE, I thought it was a neat idea – a place where I will feel safe to share my personal experiences as a Black person, and also hear about the experiences of others and learn. I have had the privilege of leading one of our getting-to-know-you sessions, being a panelist on a podcast about dealing with mental health, and providing feedback on Black mental health that was featured on CWB’s employee intranet.
NOBLE has had a great impact on me. I have learned a lot from stories shared, especially speaking up respectfully and seizing the opportunity to educate when the opportunity presents itself. Professionally, I have been inspired and challenged to push myself beyond my comfort zone.
I believe at CWB everyone is celebrated for the unique perspective they bring to the table. The existence of NOBLE and other ERGs attests to the bank’s commitment to making CWB a safe workplace for all employees.
My first NOBLE meeting was very welcoming, I felt at home immediately. People shared freely and openly, and I immediately felt this was a safe environment. The meetings keep evolving and I am always excited to learn from others. I really enjoy anytime we have a guest speaker sharing on various topics.
Having one of CWB’s executives as a sponsor shows me that NOBLE is making an impact – it tells me we have the backing of leadership. Seeing NOBLE featured on CWB’s employee intranet also makes me feel very proud to be part of this ERG.
Through NOBLE, team members are provided with networking and mentorship opportunities on top of what CWB offers. Being mentored by people who look like me and have risen to where they are regardless of the limitations and challenges inspires me to know that I can do the same.
I am thankful I work for CWB, where ERGs like NOBLE exist. It is a safe place where I can be my authentic self, share openly and learn from others.