Saturday, August 6, 2011

Reflections on BDPA Dignitaries Reception

I spent a few hours yesterday at the BDPA Dignitaries Reception sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. It was a remarkable gathering of IT talent. BDPA founder Earl Pace began the evening with a poignant toast to the work being done by BDPA volunteers and Corporate America in the efforts to advance the careers of African Americans in the IT industry.

Next we met the leaders from the 2011 Best Companies for Blacks in Technology award-winning corporations. One of these 11 companies will win the 2011 BDPA Epsilon Award being announced later tonight.

National BDPA had a new twist to the Dignitaries Reception this year. A comprehensive panel discussion with five outstanding chief information officers was added to the agenda. The focus of their discussion was on business intelligence, social media and cloud computing. The panel members were: Barbara Hoffman (US Navy), David Weick (McDonald's), William Flowers (Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport), Paul Eddy (Walgreens) and Garth Marciel (Johnson & Johnson). The panel was both entertaining and informative!

National BDPA president-elect Monique Berry took time to honor BDPA's Silver Level corporate sponsors: CIO Forum, Compuware, Freddie Mac, JPMorgan Chase, Merck & Company, State Farm Insurance and WellPoint.

The highlight of the evening came at the end when the Conference Honorary Chairpersons shared their personal story and encouragement with the audience. We heard from LaVerne Council (Johnson & Johnson, Brian Hedberg (HCSC), Trudy McKnight (HP), David Weick (McDonald's) and Mark Di Francisco (Premier Event Management).

The audience was full of BDPA leaders and Information Technology leaders. All of us were inspired to keep doing what we do in our local chapters by the corporate leaders who spoke at the Dignitaries Reception.

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