Monday, November 21, 2016

Long Story Short: Glenda Chappell (BDPA Baton Rouge Founder)

Glenda Chappell
Glenda Chappell is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and an Information Technology (IT) professional with over thirty (30) years of experience. She is currently employed by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana as an Actuarial Advisory Programmer Analyst.

Each year, the BCBS-Louisiana also honors a "Blue Angel," an employee of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana who has shown extraordinary commitment to children. This year, BCBS-Louisiana selected Glenda Chappell – who, over the last decade, have provided hands-on training, mentoring and career development to Baton Rouge youth through the local chapter of Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) - and will make a $5,000 grant to BDPA in Chappell’s names.

Glenda is a founding member of the BDPA Baton Rouge chapter. Her experience with the organization in other parts of the country since becoming a member in 1998 convinced her that BDPA had worlds to offer the community of Baton Rouge and gave her the drive and desire to introduce the two communities. She now serves as the VP-Finance for that chapter, and organizes its training efforts. Glenda has also served on the National BDPA Board of Directors.

Glenda is also the owner and manager of GDC Consulting. Through this corporation, Glenda offers computer training at discounted rates to the Baton Rouge community, offering training on topics as the need arises in the community. It is her desire that, through this company and BDPA, she can help obtain her goal of “providing training to the community in all things IT”.

Glenda is a 1978 graduate of Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., with a degree in Secondary Business Education and a minor in Computer Science. She serves as secretary of the Scotlandville Hornets High School Alumni Association, where she graduated high school, and coordinator of the Young Adult Ministry at Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church, where she teaches Sunday school, works with the hospitality and membership committees, and sings in three choirs. She is the mother of two adult sons and grandmother to three grandsons and two granddaughters.

This blog wanted to get a more personal look into the personality of this rising BDPA leader. We asked Glenda to give brief answers to some odd questions. We hope you enjoy this new feature that we simply call, 'Long Story Short...'

  1. Favorite food you’d take with you on a desert island? Ice cream. No point in existing without ice cream.
  3. How you kill time in airports? On my laptop/tablet. If there’s work to complete, I complete it; if there’s an e-book I haven’t finished, I read; if there’s nothing else calling my attention, I play card games. Unless, of course, there’s a game on. That is going to get my attention first.
  5. Least favorite chore? Cooking. The purpose of my kitchen in my house is to hold the refrigerator that houses my ice cream and the milk for my cereal. I am from Louisiana, and do have some specialty dishes that I make (i.e., gumbo, banana pudding), but I am no cook. Those things are made at special requests or for special events only.
  7. Simple things that make you happiest? Making others happy. I long ago decided this was my sole purpose in life. I love to see others enjoy my cooking, even though I don’t do it much. I love to see the light bulb go off in the eyes of students when they finally understand a concept they’ve been having trouble grasping. I love to see the relief on a person’s face when they learn that something they needed is being provided. That is what keeps me going.

Nothing wrong with a sistah who likes ice cream!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

BDPA Announces Infosys as a Bronze Sponsor

Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA), the largest African American information technology association in the United States, proudly announced Infosys, a global leader in consulting, technology, and outsourcing solutions, as a Bronze Sponsor of their 2017 National Technology Conference and Career Fair that will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio.

"We are honored to have the support of Infosys, one of the leading global Information technology consulting companies in the world. We look forward to partnering with Infosys in the months ahead," reported Mike A. Williams, National BDPA President.

Started in 1981 by seven engineers, Infosys has a growing global presence with over 85 offices and 100 development centers across the Asia-Pacific, Americas, Europe and the Middle East.
Becky Lowe * Infosys
Becky Lowe, Infosys Human Resources Vice President stated, “Our strength comes from our diversity. Infosys is committed to sponsoring BDPA and its mission to support the next generation of the IT industry. Technology’s influence is deep and wide, and its future relies on a robust, capable and global IT industry with inclusive perspectives and philosophies.

BDPA has 40 chapters across the United States and is a catalyst for professional growth and technical development for those in IT. BDPA continues to bridge the digital divide by providing training and career growth opportunities for its members.

For more details on the BDPA corporate sponsorship program, contact the corporate sales support team at (301) 584-3135 ext. 108 or

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Cincinnati State Technical College Champions BDPA Cincinnati Programs

Cincinnati State Technical College
Cincinnati State Technical College champions BDPA Cincinnati to fulfill its mission to deliver Information Technology (IT) programs within the global technology industry for the next generation of IT leadership. BDPA is the largest African American IT Association in the country and has over 40 chapters across the United States.
Karen Lipscomb, BDPA Cincinnati Chapter VP of Member Services said, "Cincinnati State Technical College has been a staunch champion of BDPA for a number of years, contributing to the chapter financially as well as through the gift of people and equipment resources. We look forward to a continuing relationship in which, through this partnership, we develop and retain IT talent for the greater Cincinnati area."
Cincinnati State Technical College offers more than 130 associate degrees and certificates in nursing and healthcare, engineering technologies, culinary arts, business and information technologies, environmental technologies, humanities and sciences, and a wide range of specialized area.
"We at Cincinnati State are thrilled to help with the technical skill development of Cincinnati Metro area high school and college students. We continue to see students exposed to BDPA Outreach training, then progress and become highly productive members of the local community and society. We enthusiastically embrace the BDPA Motto of “Advancing Careers from The Classroom to The Boardroom," reported Frank Hill, Cincinnati State Adjunct Professor.

For more details on the BDPA corporate sponsorship program, contact the corporate sales support team at (301) 584-3135 ext. 108 or

Friday, November 11, 2016

Rod Robinson Wins 2015 BDPA Epsilon Award for Outstanding Technical Contribution

Rod Robinson * ConnXus
National BDPA annually selects and awards the BDPA Epsilon Award to recognize and celebrate key contributions and accomplishments of its members. Nominations are accepted across three categories and they are evaluated by a team of National BDPA members. One of the categories is Outstanding Technical Contribution. This honor is reserved for individuals who have pioneered new or leveraged existing technology to solve a critical industry, business or technical problem.

BDPA is pleased to announce that Rod Robinson has won the 2015 Epsilon Award for Outstanding Technical Contribution. His nomination was submitted by Information Technology manager Feoshia Davis (ConnXus). Feoshia wrote,

"ConnXus’ Founder and CEO Rod Robinson takes a holistic approach to the supplier diversity arena. By providing a full suite of solutions, this business model acts as a one-stop-shop for corporations looking to find, communicate with, engage and measure their supplier diversity initiatives.

For procurement officers, it’s difficult and expensive to find qualified diverse suppliers. For minority- and women-owned business, it is difficult to make the right corporate connections. And it’s nearly impossible for both groups to find high quality, reliable and forward-thinking technology solutions.

ConnXus is solving those problems through our SaaS-based procurement platform that provides major corporations with a fully integrated supplier-diversity technology solution. The ConnXus platform provides organizations with a turnkey solution for efficiently managing all aspects of their corporate supplier diversity processes. From targeted supplier outreach, validation and data management to spend tracking & reporting. Our scalable platform also matches buyers and qualified suppliers based on profile compatibility.

Our patent-pending software-as-a-service platform TierTracker that allows a ConnXus client to aggregate the diversity spend of identified Prime vendors for the purposes of reporting supply chain activity with diverse vendors."

BDPA is very proud to honor the works of Rod Robinson! We are glad that he won this 2015 Epsilon Award!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Bemley Scholar Isaac Gullickson Continues STEM-Based Education at University of Minnesota

Isaac Gullickson * University of Minnesota
BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) proudly announces that a Dr. Jesse Bemley Scholarship has been awarded to Isaac Gullickson. Isaac earned the Bemley Scholarship as a result of participating in 2013 (1st place); 2014 (3rd place) and 2015 (fourth place) won by the team trained by BDPA Southern Minnesota chapter at the National High School Computer Competition (HSCC) championship.

Isaac is now a freshman at the University of Minnesota majoring in Computer Science. He is passionate about programming and web development thanks to the experiences he received in BDPA. He seeks to be a computer programmer or a full stack web developer. Isaac has a host of experiences with web development that he learned in high school. He was on a mentorship with Mayo Clinic and IBM. He also participated on his first robotics team.

We asked Isaac to share his insights about BDPA, and he wrote,

"I had a friend in 9th grade who I thought was the bee’s knees when it came to anything technical. I’d ask some vague question about recent inventions or coding and he’d answer, narrating the tale of how programming languages were developed or describing the latest tech from Google, for instance. He’d do so with a passion that was contagious. It was from him that I heard of BDPA and the weekend class that taught some of this wondrous programming that he had told me about. I took the leap and signed my Saturday mornings away. I could not have imagined the impact that my experiences in BDPA would have. BDPA defined my future goals and gave me the skills to achieve them.

Even before I had any goals, I always liked computers. Though this was mostly because of the games I played on them as a kid, the science behind how they worked intrigued me. My only goals at the time for this interest were to wait until college, where I knew I could take courses on coding. This remained my mindset and I never took advantage of the wealth of information the internet could have provided, as I didn’t have the drive to take advantage of it. BDPA changed that very quickly. Creating website applications - tangible products of my work - was immensely rewarding. I worked on projects in class on weekends, at home, in school, whenever I could. BDPA transformed my dormant interest into an active passion. My goals became to teach myself more about web development, to take it further in college, and then a career in programming. However, skills are essential to achieving any goal.

BDPA taught me many skills, including the technical skills of web development programming, to using IDEs, CPanel, and database manipulation. Equally if not more important however, are the soft skills that are transferable to any career. These include public speaking, people skills, networking. Developing these made for some of the most memorable experiences. The experiences of preparing many summers with a team of fellow BDPA students for the competition, developing our communication, programming, and teamwork skills, but more importantly, bonding and becoming friends. Some of my favorite memories are sweating over the programming problems each year at the competition, slowly figuring them out, and implementing the solution with my friends.

2013 HSCC Champions from Southern Minnesota
In 9th grade, I never thought I could have programmed in part a complete web application that created routes for a lawn care company, or a bus routing service, or any of the professional grade problems that we worked on at the national competition. I never would have believed that I would have the focus and passion to be a part of technology and programming so soon, or to realize my childhood interest. Now in college, I find myself trying to keep building on the impact BDPA has had on me, to continue developing the skills and chase the goals I found in that Saturday morning web development class with my friends."

BETF is proud to support young people like Isaac! However, we need your support. Please take a moment to make a secure online donation in support of the Dr. Jesse Bemley Scholarship Fund so we can help more young squires like Isaac!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Grant Disbursement: BDPA Baton Rouge ($930)

Baton Rouge, LA
BDPA Education and Technology Foundation approved a $930 grant for BDPA Baton Rouge chapter. Midwest Regional vice president Michael Wulf created an online fundraiser to raise money to support BDPA members impacted by the Baton Rouge floods earlier this year. His efforts were successful!

The funding raised by Michael & Elizabeth Wulf is for BDPA members in the Baton Rouge area where the funds would help defray some of the expenses occurred by people who were displaced. We successfully raised enough funds that we were able to provide BDPA Baton Rouge chapter president Kamilah Stroy with $930 to support her members.

BDPA Baton Rouge is currently seeking support for its youth computer program and they need donors!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Supports BDPA Greater Columbia Chapter

BDPA has a strong relationship with BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina as three of our past presidents from our BDPA Greater Columbia chapter were employees of the company. As such we are pleased to announce that BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina made a donation of $4,000 to support our BDPA Greater Columbia chapter.

Elizabeth Nkuo Johnson (Community Relations Manager) wrote,

Enclosed is BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina's donation in the amount of $4,000 for the BDPA Greater Columbia Youth Computer Program grant ... We extend our best wishes to you for continued success and look forward to hearing about your accomplishments during the year."

This funding will support BDPA Greater Columbia efforts to bring more young people to the annual BDPA Technology Conference!

Monday, October 31, 2016

BDPA Vice President Teresa Williams Named Top Ten Business Women of the Year

Teresa Williams
The American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) named Teresa Williams, as the 2017 American Business Woman of ABWA.  ABWA is a national program that honors 10 outstanding members for achieving excellence in career, education and community involvement. From those 10 honorees, one is selected to represent the Association, and all workingwomen, as the American Business Woman of ABWA.

Top Ten candidates are a paradigm for ABWA members who strive for excellence in their careers, their communities, and in the Association,” says René Street, ABWA Executive Director. “It was a privilege to recognize these outstanding women this year at the National Women’s Leadership Conference in Chattanooga, TN and to gain inspiration from their accomplishments.”

Teresa is a Program Manager at NASCO, Inc. Teresa has over 30 years of experience in the Technology field. She joined NASCO in 2009 as a Sr. Project Manager and has held various leadership positions. In her current role as Program Manager, Teresa reports directly to David Weeks, NASCO’s Chief Technology Officer. Teresa is responsible for the overall program/project management & financial administration for the IT Strategy, IT Architecture, IT Data Management, & Information Security teams.

Teresa received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied Behavioral Science from National Louis University and a Master of Science in Technology Management from Mercer University. She is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

Teresa is a 25-year member of the American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) and is a member of Pyramid Chapter, Atlanta, GA. She has served the association in many local chapter leadership roles including chapter president of Hidden Hills Chapter and Chairman of the Atlanta Area Council. She served on the 2002-2004 National Board of Directors as District I Vice President and National Secretary-Treasurer. She is currently the Atlanta Area Council 2016 Woman of the Year.

To be selected as one of the 2017 Top Ten Business Women of ABWA is definitely an honor. When I joined ABWA in 1991, I was looking for opportunities to grow my professional leadership skills and to meet other like-minded women”, states Teresa.

ABWA provides women with a safe place to grow their leadership & team-building skills and provides opportunities to step out of your comfort zone. The members of ABWA champion each other which results in producing women leaders who are confident, resilient, and take the concept of women leaders “Leading In” seriously.

Teresa is currently the VP-Member Services for National BDPA. In the past, Teresa has been South Region Vice President since 2012 and she served as BDPA Atlanta chapter president in 2008-2009.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Joshua Silas Uses his Monsanto Scholarship at Tuskegee University

Joshua Silas * Tuskegee University
BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) is proud to announce that Monsanto awarded a $2,500 college scholarship to four (4) students. One of those students is Joshua Silas of Tuskegee University.

We asked Joshua Silas to share his thoughts on BDPA.

"I participated in STEM summer programs at Tougaloo College and Lawson State Community College. Also, I attended a Summer Finance program at The University of Alabama-Birmingham. I have a passion for mathematics and sciences, especially physics. I am an analytical and critical thinker, who possesses strong leadership abilities. In addition to these qualities and skills, I am motivated and hard working. These attributes have aided me in accumulating a long list of academic honors and achievements.

I have demonstrated excellent leadership skills and is an active participant in academics, curricular activities, and the community. My curricular activities involved track, choir, scholar’s bowl and math team. I participated in service projects held by Habitat for Humanity, which is a charity that provides refurbished homes to those who cannot afford them.  The Relay for Life is a foundation that helps raise monies for cancer research and treatment in order to defeat the disease. I provided musical services for the foundation fundraiser held at Chelsea High School. The Village Creek Society is geared toward improving the environment within the 44 miles of its creek location that benefits residence, businesses, schools, and churches in its watershed.  The Fellowship House is a facility in Birmingham, AL that rehabilitates substance abusers.  In addition, I assisted fellow classmates with projects, homework assignments, and tutored students in math and science, upon request. This experience has given me the opportunity to learn from others, give back, and assists with important causes.

I desire to study electrical engineering. I first became interested in engineering when I visited E-day at Auburn University. I toured the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and saw the robots that were created and programmed by students. In that moment, I decided I wanted to study, research and potentially design robots. In addition, I have a very keen interest in developing video game consoles. Both of my interests incorporate physics and mathematics. I selected this major because I believe it will provide me the overall knowledge to assist me in pursuing my interests.

After high school graduation, I entered the FASTREC program at Tuskegee University. FASTREC is a pre-college summer session held for eight weeks that strengthened my knowledge and study skills in math and engineering.
I plan to pursue a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and minor in computer science at Tuskegee University. The Engineering program will offer a vast amount of valuable information that will provide me an educational experience that will enhance my career opportunities. As I continue my undergraduate studies, I will participate in internships or co-op opportunities to apply my learned skills. Thus, providing me a competitive advantage in the job market. Upon completion of undergraduate, I will pursue a master's degree and doctorate in Engineering, while maintaining a job at a consumer electronics company that will provide me experience in robotics and hardware. With enhanced knowledge and skills, I plan to pursue a lucrative career that will allow me to innovate and experiment with new ideas in the electrical engineering field."

Joshua enjoyed the BDPA Mobile Application Showcase. The Showcase was a nationwide competition that displayed applications created by students on their mobile devices. He hopes to participate in this Showcase in coming years.

BDPA is blessed to have such a young and talented student a winner of the Monsanto Scholarship. We look forward to supporting Joshua's career as he seeks to advance in the technology industry!