I am ND: Meet Mary Adeniyi


Mary Costume

Mary AdeniyiMary Adeniyi, learning and organizational development consultant in Human Resources

Mary Adeniyi is a Learning and Organizational Development consultant in Human Resources. It’s her job to come up with workshop topics (and speakers) that inspire employees to maximize their potential. The courses and series offer training on anything from capitalizing on personal talents to positive conflict resolution to appreciating generational differences to
managing people. 

“I love being a consultant, especially on interpersonal and organizational development topics, and I love teaching. My role right now is a good hybrid of those two areas.”

Her CV reads like a road map to her current position. 

“My undergrad is in psychology, my master’s is in human resource management and my doctorate is in human and organizational learning,” Mary shares. “I have purposefully pursued roles that were in line with my education and career interests.”

She quips that she took career counseling in high school very seriously, but it’s no joke.

“I researched different kinds of careers that would be an amalgamation of my interests, which even then was the intersection of psychology, business and teaching. Rather than choosing one of those areas in isolation, I chose all three.”

Before joining Notre Dame in 2016, Mary worked in HR, training and consulting roles in North Carolina and Washington, D.C. over the course of nine years. She applied to work at Notre Dame because she has family here.

“I lived in Michiana as a teenager and left in 2000. My parents still live in Granger. They had been urging me to move back. However, I only wanted to if I could find a job at Notre Dame. My sister, who is an alumna, saw this position and forwarded the job posting to me. A few interviews later, here I am!”

Mary spent her adolescence in Berrien Springs and Niles and credits the close-knit Seventh-day Adventist African community as helping to raise her. But Mary calls several places home. 

“I was raised in Nigeria and London before moving to the U.S. when I was 10. My cultural identity is an aggregate of these cultures,” she says.

“At Notre Dame, I strive to help people have positive cross-cultural experiences.”

Mary, who also is an instructor with the Moreau First Year Experience program and president of the Notre Dame Staff of International Descent Employee Resource Group, says she is happy to work here. 

“I like the inclusive and respectful culture.” 

She sees diversity as important to Notre Dame. 

Referring to a quote found in President Rev. John Jenkins’ 2005 inauguration address, she notes, “Father Jenkins wants Notre Dame to be a ‘healing, unifying, enlightening force for a world deeply in need.’ How can that not include diversity?”

Perhaps because teaching is in her blood, Mary sees interactions as opportunities to educate. “I feel like
I can be a catalyst/an influencer
for people to gain cross-cultural awareness, especially those who
do not have much interaction with diversity.”

A certified Myers-Briggs Type Indicator practitioner, Mary is proudly an ISTJ, which stands for introversion, sensing, thinking and judgment. The characteristics of an ISTJ are quiet, serious, dependable, matter-of-fact, practical, realistic and responsible. She portrays all of these, but do not mistake her introversion for shyness. Even someone just getting to know Mary would likely describe her as sunny and confident.

“I learned to be comfortable and confident in my own skin and in who I was,” Mary says, noting that she has always felt different from those around her, even when growing up in Nigeria. 

“My parents say that I was always the leader amongst the other village children and my cousins. I exhibited confidence and poise from a young age, and I was also very comfortable being by myself and doing things on my own. I didn’t always need to be in a crowd or be around people. I think I am still exactly that way now as an adult.”

On a personal level, Mary has a creative side. She writes poetry, gardens, draws, paints, crochets, makes jewelry and sings. 

 “My creative side may surprise those who don’t know me very well, because the personality they see on the surface is serious, very analytical, contained. But if you pay careful attention, you can see my creativity in the way I dress and in how I design and facilitate my workshops. I also have a side business where I pour all that creativity into making African accessories. I believe this yin-and-yang duality in my personality balances
me out.” 

If you see Mary on campus, feel free to say hello. There is so much to talk about.

“There are 7.6 billion people in the world, and at least one of them is waiting for someone exactly like you to make that giant and courageous leap to do, be or say what needs to be done, lived or said. It’s not so they can walk in your footsteps, but so they can create their own footsteps beside you.”

Editor’s note: “I am ND” is a new series showcasing the rich diversity of the faculty and staff at the University of Notre Dame. 

Originally published by Gwen O’Brien at news.nd.edu on August 24, 2018.