Wale Soluade, a Nigerian-born American citizen, is the Corporate Inclusion and Diversity Manager for Commerce Bank, a Missouri-based full service financial institution with headquarters in Kansas City and St. Louis, currently the 32nd largest bank in the country and recently ranked eight on Forbes’ 2013 Best Banks in America list.
After graduating from high school in Nigeria at 16, he began researching colleges stateside and in the United Kingdom. He attended the University of Central Missouri (formerly Central Missouri State University) near Kansas City, where he earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration. He then obtained his M.B.A., with an emphasis on Leadership and Management, from Fontbonne University.
Finding enthusiasm for leadership early on, he strongly believes in the value of community leadership development programs. Soluade is an alumnus of two such programs, the St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative Fellows and the FOCUS St. Louis Emerging Leaders Program. He is a member of the Urban League Young Professionals of Metropolitan St. Louis and the Regional Business Council’s Young Professionals Network – Leadership 100 cohort for which he serves on the steering committee, among numerous additional affiliations.
Upon graduation, he worked briefly for Wells Fargo Financial before moving on to serve as Assistant Vice President – Branch Manager at PNC Bank. It was at PNC Bank where he developed a passion for inclusion and diversity. He led PNC Bank’s African-American Employee Business Resource Group for Missouri and Downstate Illinois, representing the region at the corporate level. He also served as the bank’s liaison on the St. Louis Regional Unbanked Taskforce steering committee, as well as the St. Louis Metropolitan CRA Association. He engaged the bank with the community, with a focus on educating low-to-moderate income communities on financial literacy. He facilitated the roll out of the Bank On, Save Up initiative on behalf of PNC Bank in an effort to foster relationships between the Bank and traditionally under-served communities, and reduce dependence on pay-day lenders and check-cashing facilities.
After spending five years with PNC Bank, he took on the role of Corporate Inclusion and Diversity Manager at Commerce Bank. His responsibilities include providing leadership, coordination and strategic planning for inclusion and diversity with an emphasis on alignment between employee engagement, business drivers and competitive position, as well as managing strategic partnerships in the inclusion and diversity community. He has facilitated diversity related training sessions for and worked with organizations such as the Diversity Awareness Partnership, FOCUS St. Louis and the Academy for Human Resource Development.
Community Involvement & Recognition:
Vincent Home for Children – Board Member
International Institute of St. Louis – Junior Board Member
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis – Young Friends Board
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. – Member
Big Brother’s, Big Sister’s of Eastern Missouri – Big Brother
Louis Business Diversity Initiative Fellow
FOCUS St. Louis Emerging Leaders Alumni
Urban League Young Professionals – Member
Regional Business Council – Leadership 100 – Steering Committee Member Recipient – 2015 St. Louis American Foundation Salute to Young Leaders Award