Pamela O. Abalu is the Global Head of Design and Construction for MetLife Inc. She is one of roughly 300 African-American women who are licensed architects in the United States. “I’m proud of the work I do. I love the opportunity to go out to high schools to meet with people who are trying to figure out what they’re doing and to share with them what I do so that maybe we can raise the statistics to more than three hundred,” says Abalu, who oversees all design and construction activities involving MetLife properties.
Prior to joining MetLife, Pamela handled a wide range of national/international interior and exterior architectural projects as a Senior Project Manager at Perkins+Will. She was also Senior Project Manager at Callison and a Project Architect at Vollmer Associates in New York City. Her diverse architectural experience includes numerous rehabilitation and architectural design projects for retail, corporate, residential, educational, institutional, historic and public transportation facilities for public and private clients.
Abalu graduated from high school at 16 and had acquired her architectural license by the time she was 25. Like many young professionals on the fast track to success, she found that she often had to prove to others that she was up to the tasks at hand. “One of the things that I learned from that is to be strong about where you’re going and what you want to do. And if you’re being put in a box, you open the box and step out of it,” she reflects.
The daughter of a diplomat, Abalu was born in Nigeria but considers herself a global citizen. “I’ve been really blessed with the opportunity to see how the rest of the world lives and experience the cultures with them, and then appreciate mine even more,” she says. She is fluent in many languages, having lived and worked in several countries, including South Korea, Turkey, Egypt and China.