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Global DSM: International Talent Strategy Q&A with Adukwu Samuel Atadoga

Global DSM: International Talent Strategy

January 29, 2020

Adukwu Samuel Atadoga




Current Place of Employment

Wells Fargo

Tell Us About Yourself

I am Adukwu Samuel Atadoga, a Nigerian. I came to the U.S. for studies in 2014 (master’s in public Relations) and subsequently had to apply for asylum here in the U.S. due to political crimes and violence in my home country. I am currently married and working as an Information and Cyber Security Analyst at Wells Fargo. I have more than six years of experience in corporate communications and project management and also have extensive knowledge in IT and corporate technology support. Over the past few years, I have been serving in several contract technical writing roles for both Nationwide and Wells Fargo here in Greater Des Moines (DSM).

What Brought You to DSM?

After rounding up class work for my master’s program in 2016, I got a full time offer as a commercial line’s processor at Nationwide here in DSM. That was the reason I moved from Cedar Falls to Des Moines.

What Unexpected Things Have You Discovered in DSM?

The area is more industrial than I expected. After graduation, I was afraid of living in the state of Iowa due to the popular believe that all of the jobs here are farm-based. I do love to work on the farm, but I was afraid because I wanted to work in a role where I would be using my technological knowledge applying everything I’d learned through my communication classes. 

In the Cedar Falls area, this assumption was proving to be mostly true, but moving to DSM, I discovered that there are a whole lot of corporate opportunities to explore. Yet, as an outsider the challenge becomes how to gain access to these opportunities, which is where networking comes in.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Global DSM program through Sanjita Pradhan included the most useful networking opportunities I could find. The program helped me realign my skills with existing opportunities, which helped me focus more on the things I need to check off to survive the competition.

One of the most outstanding aspects of the program is the mentoring program in partnership with DSM-based employers. I was assigned to a mentor at Wells Fargo who met with me a couple of times to discuss how I was faring as a contractor with the company. My mentor even shared tools I can utilize to navigate opportunities within the company . His knowledge and experience were a valuable asset to my moving to the next phase of my career. He looked over my resume and had a mock interview with me before my interview for my current full-time role and gave me feedback on things to adjust to match the needs of the hiring manager. Having this specialized team assist in cementing my relationship with the management at Wells Fargo helped solve a missing component of my career path. Having that valuable company connection to serve as a reference and gauge your performance before being given the opportunity to serve was essential in advancing my professional life.

Was It Difficult to Adjust to Life in DSM?

It wasn’t the easiest of experiences. I went through a dark period when I felt it would be easier to return home, even if that was going to harm me. I felt like Americans didn’t like me or want to take advantage of my skills. Through Global DSM, I had the opportunity to hear stories of others who had come and conquered, learn from their success stories and realign my energy towards bettering myself and focusing on what I wanted for myself. That mindset was instrumental in adjusting to my reality and stop focusing on what I imagined about living in America. While it is a very competitive, individualistic culture, I had to learn how to survive it. I had to learn to live like an American. I worked on being competitive and more individualistic, while still very compassionate and open to new ideas. I’ve had to remind myself that almost everybody that moved here from another place faced similar situations to mine. If they’ve been able to make it work, so can I.

How Are You Thriving in Your Workplace, Community, Etc.?

I am still learning to thrive within the DSM community. At work, I am becoming more outspoken about my achievements even if it is going to sound like I am bragging. I’ve begun to speak out if others are slowing my work process, am taking ownership and communicating about how much I can and cannot do. I am learning to say no to new assignments if I feel overloaded. In my community, I am being more assertive with other Africans/Nigerians about what they need to do to excel within the local community. I’m continuing to share my story with new people and tell them to keep their heads up and stay focused on their purpose. I’ve also made an effort to learn how to connect with people on a personal level, so instead of focusing on opportunities, turning the focus to relaxing and taking a break.

I Am Just Like You Because …

I came here with nothing. I had a lot of fears about surviving, am still learning how this whole system works and am still missing my family back home every day. I still make those hourlong calls and yell at friends back home over the phone once or twice every week. It wasn’t until recently that I acquired a full-time gig.

To learn more about Global DSM, contact Sanjita at spradhan@DSMpartnership.com.

Through the Global DSM: International Talent Strategy, The Partnership works to establish Greater Des Moines (DSM) as a global community attracting and retaining foreign-born persons to the region. Check out more Global DSM stories.

Sanjita Pradhan

Sanjita Pradhan is the director of diversity and inclusion at the Greater Des Moines Partnership where she leads our internal and external DEI strategies to ensure DSM USA is welcoming and inclusive to all individuals.