Friday, April 18, 2014

Message from BDPA Atlanta Chapter President

Derrick Brown
Cross-posted from The ACTEra Blog

BDPA Atlanta hosted its first monthly meeting at the Alliance Theater. It was an exceptional venue, a truly great place to have our meeting. In a picturesque room of walled glass with an open view of the city Myra Brown presented valuable information to our members on their personal image and brand.

In Part 2 of her dynamic presentation, 'The Business of Being Professional'¸ Myra revisited what was discussed in Part 1, reminding us that a Personal Brand was your unique promise of value, and that quite clearly you must take care of it in all its aspects, your dress, how you talk, your attitude, who you associate with, even how you smell. Hygiene is important friends.

Myra Brown
She reminded us about PIE, from Harvey Coleman’s book “Empowering Yourself: The Organizational Game Revealed,” PIE stands for Performance, Image, Exposure. In Part 2 she focused on Image, reminding us just how important your look can be to your overall success. This is no trite thing, something to be taken lightly. If you want to be a leader, then be seen as a leader, act like a leader, dress like a leader. Myra clarified this concept for us in very clear concise words.

Since visuals make such a powerful expression Myra had two models available to demonstrate her image concepts. Her lovely sister Ashley represented for the women, and interestingly enough Myra drafted your own BDPA Atlanta president to represent for the men. Ashley was great. And hey … I wasn’t half bad if I do say so myself.

To end her presentation Myra conducted a raffle, offering her image services to the winning ticket. We also gave away free tickets to see any upcoming Alliance Theater event. There were many people who left the presentation very happy to have been in attendance. If you were not there, you truly missed out. Everyone was a winner.

Also, please note that proceeds from this month’s meeting went to support the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University's Patient and Family Support Services Fund. The fund provides assistance to families of cancer patients struggling with expenses due to the fight.

But wait … that’s not all.

 This month’s meeting fee bought you a ticket to the play, Maurice Hine’s Is Tappin’ Thru Life.  BDPA Atlanta truly considered what we were doing when we thought of having a meeting in conjunction with a play. We are definitely advocates of STEM, but without question we also supporting adding the A to make STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Math. We will always endeavor to bring a little culture to our organization, and doing so this month was a complete success. The play was amazing.

Maurice Hines brought back vivid memories of his passed brother, Gregory Hines. He regaled us with the magic and majesty of two young boys raised with love from both mother and father, striving through circumstance to become legends in entertainment. He made us laugh, he made us consider, he made us smile with uplifting joy as he guided us through the amazing tapestry that was his life, and the life of his brother. His was a story presented in juxtaposition, word and song, piano, brass, bass, drum, and feet, the wonder of tap, an allegory of race and the American struggle. People, it was a tremendous evening.

If you are a member of BDPA Atlanta and missed it, where were you? And if you are not a member, why not? Membership has its privileges. Go back and reread the above to understand the value proposition. Join us today.

BDPA Atlanta truly thanks Myra Brown for gracing us with her presence, her knowledge, and her passion for uplift.

The Aspiring Critical Thinker,
D.S. Brown, president
BDPA Atlanta
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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Jay-Z and Mom Giving Out Unique Scholarships

The Shawn Carter Foundation has announced that they are now accepting applications for their 2014 scholarship program. The foundation, established by rapper Jay-Z and his mom Gloria Carter, aims to enhance the lives of young people.

The foundation is unique because it offers scholarships to single mothers, children who attend alternative schools, students who have earned only a GED, students with grade point averages of 2.0, and students who have previously been incarcerated, etc. The students, however, must demonstrate a strong desire to pursue higher education.

The program provides individual grants ranging from $1,500 to $2,500 to every student who qualifies and re-applies each year, from admission to graduation. The scholarship grant can be used to pay for tuition, books, lab fees, travel and certain costs of living.

The deadline to apply is Wednesday, April 30, 2014.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Where Are They Now: 2003 BDPA Leaders

One of the things that I love to do with this blog is highlight the legacy of our organization. In the past, we have asked 'Where Are They Now?' about:
Today, we ask the question about the brothers and sisters who served as BDPA leaders in 2003. I would love for these powerful brothers and sisters to come visit with us on this blog. Perhaps we can get them to POST A COMMENT to let us know what they are up to now. Here are those 2003 leaders:

  • Vercilla Brown, executive director
  • Milt Haynes, national president
  • Wayne Hicks, national president-elect
  • Rick Giraudy, national VP-Finance
  • Donna McKay, national VP-Strategy & Planning
  • Reggie Gardner, national VP-Member Services
  • Brooks Baker, national VP-Membership Management
  • Renee McClure, national immediate past president
  • Earl Pace, founder
  • Bob Blackwell, outside director
  • Will Bundy, outside director
  • Michael McCrimmon, outside director
  • Anita Vega, national conference treasurer
  • Janice Coleman, national conference planner
  • Cris Levy, national conference planner
  • Jeffry Kimble, national parliamentarian
  • Ricky Penick, chapter president liaison

These are remarkable brothers and sisters. I hope that you will share your thoughts and rememberances on the 2003 BDPA leadership team down in the POST A COMMENT link down below. What say u?
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Alcoa Foundation

Alcoa Foundation is a nonprofit U.S. corporate foundation with assets of more than half-billion dollars. Its mission is to actively invest in the quality of life in Alcoa communities worldwide. Throughout it history, Alcoa Foundation has been a source of positive community change and enhancement, with over $570 million invested since 1952.

A significant percentage of their grants originate in Alcoa communities. The Foundation's focus for funding is around four distinct Areas of Excellence: Conservation and Sustainability, Safe and Healthy Children and Families, Global Education and Workplace Skills, and Business and Community Partnerships.

They give priority consideration to programs and organizations in or near communities where Alcoa plants or offices are located. Organizations interested in applying for a grant should contact the Alcoa facility nearest them. Local Alcoa contacts in their communities will then make recommendations to Alcoa Foundation for funding.

Unsolicited proposals are discouraged and are not likely to be funded.

For all grant inquiries, it is recommended that a concept paper be submitted via e-mail to the local Alcoa grant contact or to Alcoa Foundation before a formal grant proposal is prepared. The concept paper will be reviewed by the Alcoa location contact or by an Alcoa Foundation staff member, and they will contact the organization.

If the local Alcoa contact or Alcoa Foundation staff member is interested in the proposed project, a discussion will be initiated with the organization in order to agree on the specific project and grant amount which will be recommended for funding to Alcoa Foundation. Once agreement is reached on these items and all other details of the grant request, the organization will be given specific instructions on how to submit an on-line application to Alcoa Foundation.

The submission of a concept paper does not guarantee funding from Alcoa or Alcoa Foundation.

Let us know if you are interested in partnering with BDPA on grant proposal to Alcoa Foundation. It would be helpful if your chapter has Alcoa employees in its membership *or* if you are co-located with an Alcoa facility.
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Monday, April 14, 2014

Long Story Short: LaDonna Crum (BDPA Greater Birmingham)

LaDonna Crum is an applications support analyst. She took on another critical role last year as the president of our BDPA Greater Birmingham chapter and she has been lighting things up in Alabama with a fervent roar about the benefits of membership in BDPA. She is attracting new volunteers and funding ... and she is planning an aggressive schedule of programs and services for both students and IT professionals in Birmingham. Her chapter is currently the 34th largest in the nation.

This blog has shared LaDonna's profile with its readers in the past. This time we wanted to get a more personal look into the personality of this rising BDPA leader. We asked LaDonna to give brief answers to some odd questions. We hope you enjoy this new feature that we simply call, 'Long Story Short...'
LaDonna Crum
  1. Favorite way to exercise? - My favorite way to exercise would be to ride the bike. This is the only exercise that motivates me to 'keep going'. This is the exercise that I benefit the most from in terms of 'no pain-no gain' and at the end of my workout, I always go back to the bike to finish the workout.
  2. How do you kill time in airports? - I kill time at the airports by preparing myself for any future events and organizing my professional life. I will updating my 'to-do' list, create mental notes to remind myself of deadlines or think of creative way to approach my professional life. Sometimes, I just read the new 'Around The World'.
  3. Least favorite chore? - My least favorite chore is cleaning the bathroom, despite the fact that I am very proud of myself afterwards. It appears to be the sloppiest cleaning job in existence based on the sheer number of cleaning tools and cleaning solutions for different parts of the bathroom.
  4. Simple things that make you happiest? - The simple thing that makes me the happiest is when people say, 'thank you'. It makes my day when I help someone and I receive a sincere 'thank you'!
  5. Who you'd like to meet? - I would like to meet Taraji P. Henson. Several people have said that I resemble her and over time I have come to admire her.

Hey LaDonna --- THANK YOU!

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

BDPA Brotha on Promoting Your Chapter to Local Media

I have been in BDPA since 1988. Some of y'all refer to me as the BDPA Brotha! One of the constant concerns that I hear expressed by most local chapters is that they are the 'best-kept secret' in their community and industry. Perhaps it it time to remember that there are still ol' school marketing opportunities with your local media.

Media are constantly looking for new stories and information that will interest their audiences. Chances are, your town has at least one major newspaper, several smaller papers, a few TV stations, a bunch of radio stations, and at least one cable company. Here are a few things to consider:
  1. Local media like to cover local stories. You have a much better chance of getting free publicity from a reporter in your area than from national media.
  2. Local talk radio stations and programs are constantly in need of interesting guests. Watch for times when your area of expertise fits with a breaking story, holiday, or issue the media is covering.
  3. Send your local media a press release when you have something new to announce: a new board member appointment, new chapter service, public service program, or alliance with another business.
  4. Local chapters often make good feature stories. Work up a sheet of helpful tips related to your chapter. Make sure they are things the media audience will be interested in.
  5. Work with local charities and blow your own horn.
I hope that these chapter marketing tips are helpful to you. Feel free to contact me by email or phone (513.284-4968) if you would like to discuss additional ways to market your nonprofit business.

In the meantime, You I will continue to share these 'BDPA Brotha' tips on a semi-regular basis!
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Rockwell Collins Charitable Corporation

Rockwell Collins is known around the world for its quality, reliable aviation products. They are also known as a corporate citizen with a commitment and involvement in education, especially supporting science technology, engineering and mathematics. Whether it's mentoring a FIRST LEGO League team, tutoring a disadvantaged student or donating computers, Rockwell Collins and its employees are making their communities better places to live and work. They believe in inspiring the next generation of engineers and innovators and building strong, vital communities as a way to ensure the success of our business.

Rockwell Collins makes charitable contributions to a variety of nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and around the world. The Rockwell Collins Charitable Corporation was established for the exclusive purpose of supporting qualified non-for-profit organizations in the communities where their employees live and work. These grants are targeted for major projects and programs and generally total $5,000 or more. Priority funding areas include Education, especially Math, Science, Engineering and Technology, and Arts & Culture, especially projects involving youth.

Grants are available in geographic areas of the United States where Rockwell Collins has facilities and a substantial number of employees (generally 100 or more). All grant requests submitted for regions outside of Rockwell Collins' headquarter community should be coordinated though the local Rockwell Collins Human Resources manager.

Budgeting for these grants is done annually, with approval in October. They request that grant applications are submitted prior to September 1, preceeded by an email or phone call notification or inquiry. Approved grants are paid quarterly.

My research of Rockwell Collins locations shows that they are co-located with BDPA chapters in Atlanta, Bay Area, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, No. Virginia, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Seattle, So. Florida, St. Louis, Triangle (Raleigh), Twin Cities and Washington DC.

Is your chapter interested in partnering with BETF on a grant proposal to Rockwell Collins Charitable Corporation? Are there any Rockwell Collins' employees active in BDPA?
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Friday, April 11, 2014

Happy Birthday: Diane Davis (Past National BDPA President)


Today is the birthday of past national president Diane Davis!

Diane Davis will be one of the charter members of the BDPA Hall of Fame when it is created. I went to my first BDPA program meeting in 1988 while living and working in Detroit. Diane Davis was president of the BDPA Detroit chapter. She sat up in the front of the meeting and shared her insights on BDPA. I was hooked. I joined BDPA that day ... attended my first national conference later that year in Chicago. Diane appointed me as Program Committee Chairperson for the BDPA chapter ... and recommended me for National BDPA Membership Director a few months later. BDPA Detroit chapter won back-to-back Chapter of the Year Awards under her leadership. Suffice to say I think Diane is a major part of the BDPA story...

Diane has over 25 years experience in the technology industry. Her work as a consultant with Hewlett-Packard’s Managed Services Division utilized her knowledge of local and global engagements in the manufacturing, government, and health care industries. She advised C level management teams of Fortune 500 corporations on infrastructure support practices, organization design, and the implementation of strategies, technology and principles to meet their specialized business requirements. Before this position, Diane was a Program Manager for multi-million dollar worldwide accounts and served as the CIO for a major automotive supplier.

Diane has lived and traveled throughout the United States, Canada, and South America as a software engineer and consultant in the design and implementation of management systems. Her technical career began developing robotic systems for the automotive industry. Later, she led the artificial intelligence development and implementation teams responsible for the support of corporate executives with “state of the art” technology including voice activation and annotation.

In 2003, Diane established her own consulting firm that provides strategic, organizational, and leadership services. In 2004, she expanded her business to include a robust Wellness Program established to help people improve their health, quality of life, and become financially independent. Diane has volunteered her time and supported several professional, community based, and educational organizations during her career, including BDPA. She has worked as an instructor at University of Detroit Mercy, led numerous strategic, leadership, quality, and team building workshops internationally for both profit and non-profit organizations.

Diane Davis was ol' school BDPA. Please share your remembrance of this powerful sister if you have time or inclination to do so.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Subrena Robinson (State Farm) Wins BDPA Epsilon Award for 'Community Service'

National BDPA annually selects and awards the BDPA Epsilon Award to recognize and celebrate key contributions and accomplishments of its members. The 'Community Service' award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated, by meaningful results, strong partnership and collaboration with entities in the communities they reside. One of the 2013 Epsilon Award winners in this category is Subrena Robinson, IT director with State Farm.


Subrena used her leadership skills to add structure to the BDPA Central Illinois chapter. Her efforts led directly to the chapter becoming a more effective organization. As a mentor to BDPA members, she willingly shared her knowledge ... particularly with those who were new to the IT industry.

Subrena played a lead role in the facilitation of a health, drug prevention and self-esteem enhancement program for girls aged 8-17. The program was designed to encourage healthy attitudes and lifestyles that would enable early adolescent girls to reach their full potential

After the success of the girls program, she implemented a similar program for young boys. The program was aimed at boys aged 11-18 and helped them deal with many of the challenges they faced on a daily basis. Each young man was provided mentors from the community who served as positive role models.

Partnering with her Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Subrena established an annual scholarship program that provided scholarships to deserving students including a single parent pursuing a four year degree.

Community involvement includes:
  • National African American Women’s Leadership Institute, Fellow * 2008;  Application committee * 2011
  • Mount Moriah Christian Church,  Trustee * 2004-present
  • Project Management Institute, Central Illinois Chapter, Monthly Meeting Facilitator * 2004-2009
  • SMART Girls,  Program Leader * 2003-2011
  • Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Soror * 2002-present
  • Central Illinois Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter Chapter, Committee Chair * 2001-present
Soul clap to Theonnie Shields, founder of our BDPA Central Illinois chapter, for submitting the 2013 Epsilon Award nomination for Subrena Robinson.

You can follow State Farm on Twitter: @StateFarm
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