After “being involved” for so many years in various community activities while also volunteering and serving as a board member for local affiliates of several national non-profit organizations, I decided to take a break back in 2006 when I moved to Atlanta. I just didn’t realize then that the break would be so long.
Although I continued to participate in community-based initiatives and joined several professional associations in Atlanta during that time, I never actually got involved. To me, getting involved is going all in! That is contributing my Time, Talent and Treasures (3Ts).
With some encouragement from the past BDPA Atlanta chapter president Teresa Williams, I decided to seek election to become the very first South Regional Director and National Board member for BDPA. I was elected in the summer of 2011 during the BDPA National Conference that is held every year. Today, I believe my decision to get involved and go all in with BDPA was clearly one of the best decisions I made all year.
For me the decision was not difficult. BDPA’s mission and values easily aligned with my own. BDPA is a technology focused organization with a commitment to developing its IT professional members and young minorities while promoting and caring about community based initiatives. There could not be a better fit for me.
BDPA is a national organization which was founded in 1975 by two very visionary men: Earl Pace and the late David Wimberly. They both shared a common interest of wanting to insure that minorities were fairly and adequately represented in the Information Technology field. Today, BDPA has a large membership base through its 40+ local chapters located throughout the United States. The organization prides itself on developing current IT professionals and helping them advance their careers while introducing our youth to technology and other soft skills that not only prepares them for today, but tomorrow as well. BDPA’s leadership and members include some of the best and brightest African American IT professionals from Fortune 500 companies across the country.
Through its Student Information Technology Education and Scholarship (SITES) and National High School Computer Competition (HSCC) Programs, BDPA introduces minority students to Information Technology at an early stage in their lives while providing marketable web development and other computed related skills. Every year, close to 1000 students learn Java, PHP, CSS and other web programming skills while participating in the SITES and HSCC programs. As a bonus for all of their hard work throughout the year, students also get to test their skills against other chapter HSCC programs through regional and national computer competitions. Additionally, through its fiscal sponsor: BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF), BDPA provides scholarship grants to the winning HSCC teams that can be used for post-secondary education. More gratifying is that many of the HSCC students go on to become successful IT professionals and even local and national leaders of BDPA.
Led by Executive Director Wayne Hicks, BETF has been able to provide close to $400K in funding to local BDPA chapters over the past three years alone. Such contributions are made possible due to the generosity of our corporate sponsors, partners and individual donors.
So, with all the continued excitement around the standing programs like SITES and HSCC and a reinvigorated energy toward membership growth, member development, and building brand awareness for BDPA and its value proposition, there is no better time than now to become either a member of BDPA or support its mission. If you can, I encourage you to do both.
Join us. Go to BDPA and become a member today. If you can’t join, consider making a donation.
For me, based on BDPA’s commitment to African American IT professionals, youth development and community in general, I am all in!
Mike Williams, Director
BDPA South Region