Community Relations is celebrating a busy year of social impact, as highlighted in our newly released 2022 Giving Impact Snapshot. SDG&E does more than donate to local causes, we go above and beyond to be an integral part of the work that will create a stronger, safer, and healthier future for our region.
Kazeem Omidiji, Director of Community Relations, sat down with us to talk about his vision for the future of SDG&E’s community investments and reflect on the achievements made in 2022.
What are your thoughts on the impact Community Relations made in 2022?
When you look at our values as a company -- do the right thing, champion people and shape the future -- all three values resonate and ring true in the continued impact that we make as a company within the community on a daily basis. Community Relations is an extension of these values and is just one of the many levers we utilize as a company to help achieve them. Creating real change in our community means influencing a true cultural shift that constitutes a deeper and long-lasting outcome, and we do that through the resources we provide to community-based organizations – time, treasure, talent.
What are some of the initiatives that make you most proud?
There are variety of initiatives that make me very proud to be a part of SDG&E Community Relations. A few notable ones are:
I am proud of our employee volunteerism efforts, providing employees with a direct path in supporting the causes that resonate, align with their passions, and that they care about most. These opportunities consist of our two-decade long tradition with Coastal Cleanup Day, the 50+ SDGivE projects our team supported in 2022 alone, local habitat restorations, and much more. Seeing the sheer number of employees at Coastal Cleanup Day, bringing their families and kids, and getting to connect with them all on a personal level, made me incredibly proud and grateful to be involved in this. SDG&E has fostered a culture where employees are eager and willing to be a part of the change that is needed in our communities.
Also, as part of our Economic Prosperity giving pillar, SDG&E provided an investment to support the Competitive Edge program, which gives underrepresented populations skills training and guaranteed placement in a career in that trade upon completion. A program graduate, David, reached out to me and said, “This has been the most life-changing experience. I have a kid on the way and needed three jobs before, now I have quit them all. Kazeem, this is amazing! I have a job that pays well and will lead me to a real career.” It was rewarding to hear how we touched his life and demonstrates the long-lasting impact we aim to achieve as a company.
Learn more about the Competitive Edge program by watching this video.
You have held many roles at SDG&E, tell us about your career journey.
I started my career at SDG&E as an intern in the Energy Procurement department, helping power and gas traders procure commodity. I loved it because it provided such a fundamental foundation for me within the utility industry, and it was an experience that still helps in my role today. Afterwards, I was involved in the engineering rotation program and began my career in operations at Kearny Construction & Operations Center, where I learned how our transmission lines were constructed, maintained, and operated. As a result, I have subsequently been involved with many engineering and construction projects, primarily in the East County of San Diego that have helped shaped my utility experience and knowledge base entirely.
After operations, I had the opportunity to engage and assist our large commercial and industrial customers as an Account Executive within Business Services. I learned so much about our work with large business customers in the areas of energy efficiency, customer rates, and infrastructure improvements. These relationships we have with our large business customers are pivotal to our success as a company and make a difference within the business community. I have truly been fortunate to work with amazing friends and colleagues throughout my career thus far and have valued every role I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of. I can certainly say I have never had a dull moment here at SDG&E!
Lastly, what is your vision for the future of Community Relations?
One of my priorities within Community Relations is the amplification of the work we do within the community as a company, and helping raise awareness both internally and externally of the charitable work we do. This goes back to the “why” we do what we do as a company, and it’s simply the right thing to do. Our charitable investments within the community create long-lasting positive change for our customers, and it’s critical we continue on this path. I also look forward to working with our team to continue to be innovative in the ways we collaborate with our community-based organizations, and to be committed with our initiatives geared at making a difference in the communities we live and work in.