Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Business Area Meeting * Member Services (Aug 2008)

Kimberly Davis is the national BDPA vice president of member services (VPMS). She hosts a bi-monthly conference call that is open to the VPMS from each of the 50 local BDPA chapters. I was on the call this month as a guest speaker.

Kimberly let us know that her business area handles a wide variety of programs and services that include career services, community outreach, college student programs, chapter leadership training, technical/professional development programs, international programs, adult/student workshops at annual conference and so forth. She noted that her business area deals with 'active' member benefits that require members to join or sign up.

Kimberly reports the key performance indicators (KPIs) on a monthly basis to the National Executive Committee. She promised to share copy of the KPIs with the attendees on the phone.

Updates were given on a number of national member service initiatives such as BDPA IT Institute, Business Analyst Certifications (led by Jacqueline Sanders) and Black Family Technology Awareness Week.

Portia Westbrook, national professional development department director, reports to Kimberly. Portia informed us that the Entrepreneur Speed Networking event exceeded expectations for both the corporate sponsors and the MBE-certified BDPA entrepeneurs. She also noted that interviews are being concluded for a person to serve as a liaison with Information Technology Senior Management Forum on the Executive Protege Program in 2008-2009.

Kim noted that there are a number of volunteer opportunities within her business area. The full list of volunteer opportunities can be found by doing a search for 'BDPA' on the BDPA Talent Management System.

I shared information on CollectiveX Groupsite with the attendees. CollectiveX is owned and operated by an African American entrepreneur in the Washington DC area. The BDPA CollectiveX Groupsite is a remarkable example of the 'One BDPA' philosophy. It is a way for us to promote BDPA in a proactive manner.

Our groupsite currently has over 1250 subscribers. There are active discussion areas for BDPA Chapters, Member Services, BDPA Foundation and so forth. I encouraged the chapters to take advantage of the BDPA Calendar to promote their monthly program meetings. You can check it out here if you haven't done so yet!

Kim asked me to share some information on blogging. Of course, my initial reason for creating a blog was the cost of entry -- IT IS FREE! My first blog is now the 25th-ranked Black blog. This blog is currently ranked #629 amongst all Black-owned blogs in the universe.

Any current or future blogger needs to fill in the blank for the following statement: "After looking at my blog, I want my readers to __________".

Currently, I'm aware of BDPA-specific blogs hosted by Detroit and Philadelphia chapter. I suppose that the other 48 chapters are comfortable with their current marketing and communication strategies. If not, then creating a blog may be something to strongly consider. Blogs are much more interactive and real-time than the traditional BDPA-specific website. It goes without saying that I think blogging should be part of any future BDPA communication strategy on local or national level.

The next part of the meeting focused on some local chapter initiatives:
  • Milwaukee chapter VPMS Yolanda Klem noted that her chapter was focused on growing membership by encouraging corporations to pay for 5-10 memberships.

  • Atlanta chapter president-elect Carter Hill noted that his chapter decided to follow-up on the challenges expressed in the Wachovia Women in Technology conference reception by creating a mentorship and role model program to encourage greater engagement by female IT professionals in his chapter's programs. Carter also noted that the chapter wants to appoint a college campus coordinator to reach out to the many HBCUs located in the greater Atlanta area.

  • St. Louis chapter VPMS Lois Ingrum noted that her chapter is looking to grow membership by focusing on programs to attract additional high school students. She is working with a representative on the St. Louis Board of Education to create a pipeline from the public schools to the BDPA student IT education & scholarship programs.

  • Evelyn Poole (New York chapter VPMS) was also on the call.

It energized me to see the effort of this national BDPA officer tonight. She provided an environment on her conference call that encouraged open dialogue and candid exchange of information. It also encouraged me to see the engagement of the chapter leaders from Atlanta, Milwaukee, New York and St. Louis. I hope that more chapter leaders take advantage of the next MS-area conference call in October.


Martin Lindsey. said...

How does one join the BDPA? Can I be a member as a student join or do I have to be a professional in the field? Can I be an at large member if there isn't a chapter close by?

Villager said...

Marty - Follow this link ( to join BDPA. Student membership ($15) is for anyone carrying a full educational load. If you are not full-time student, then you would pay the professional membership rate ($75). We have 50 chapters. Where are you located?