Sunday, September 30, 2012

Grant Award: Cigna Foundation ($10,000)

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) worked with BDPA New York chapter grant coordinator Shawn Reid to submit a $15,000 grant proposal to the Cigna Foundation earlier this summer. We just learned that Cigna Foundation approved partial grant funding in the amount of $10,000!

The grant notification message read as follows:

We are pleased to inform you that application 806623, submitted by BDPA Education and Technology Foundation and requesting Cigna Foundation support for Student Information Technology Education & Scholarships (SITES) program, has been approved in the amount of $10,000.00. We anticipate that this award will be disbursed within four weeks of the transmission date of this e-mail.

This Grant will be sent via U.S. mail to:
Wayne Hicks, Executive Director
BDPA Education and Technology Foundation
4423 Lehigh Road, #277
College Park, MD 20740

If you have any questions about the timing or processing of this disbursement, please contact Cigna Giving at 1-866-865-5277.

This is great news for 2-time defending 'Chapter of the Year' BDPA New York. They have wonderful programs for young people and for IT professionals. It is nice to see Cigna Foundation recognized the successful implementation of those programs under the leadership of BDPA New York chapter president Renetta English.

Share some love with BDPA New York chapter if you have time or inclination!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

GE Foundation

GE Foundation provides grants and invest in initiatives that work to solve some of the world’s most difficult problems. In coordination with their partners, they support U.S. and international education, the environment, public policy, human rights, disaster relief and community success around the globe.

GE Foundation also supports GE employee and retiree giving and involvement in GE communities through employee programs such as the GE Foundation Matching Gifts Program.

GE Foundation does not encourage unsolicited proposals. If you have not received an invitation to submit a proposal or are not currently receiving funding, please explore GE Foundation eligibility requirements.

Does your chapter have any GE employees in it?

Friday, September 28, 2012

McDonald's Corporation Grants

The late McDonald's founder Ray Kroc, built his company on a foundation of ethical business conduct and involvement in our local communities. McDonald’s owner/operators and company-operated restaurants fulfill these vital commitments every day in many ways.

McDonald's Corporation Grants support eduction through nonprofit organizations on a national basis, particularly in areas where they operate. Contact your local McDonald's for their funding priorities and how to access them.

Program areas for these grants focus on: Adult literacy, arts, community involvement, volunteerism, disabilities, general education, health, math, reading, science, environment and technology.

These grants are available in all 50 states. Call (630) 623-7048 if you questions about this funding source.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

HP Corporate Foundation

HP Corporate Foundation provides grants to U.S. universities, low-income and ethnically diverse K-12 school districts, national non-profit organizations that align with HP's goals to increase achieivement in math and science, and underserved communities working to address their most pressing issues through reinvention and collaboration.

HP only accepts grant proposals by invitation.

HP supports kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12) education programs that enhance math, science, reading, and computer skills; professional development activities that emphasize teachers using technology as a tool in the classroom; or programs that provide educational enrichment and assistance to students before, during or after school (for example - homework centers, mentoring, or science programs). HP also supports programs and partnerships that are national or regional in scope.

Email for more information.

There is no point in approaching this corporate foundation without a strong employee champion. Do you have such an employee champion in your BDPA chapter?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

America's Dangerous Tech Gap

The digital divide in this country is accelerating, with poor and minority kids still less likely to have access to critical tech tools, from laptops to the Internet. Chelsea Clinton on why this threatens all our futures—and how to tackle it.

Read the full Daily Beast article

Monday, September 24, 2012

Matching Gift Award: McKesson Foundation ($2,500)

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) is proud to inform you that the McKesson Foundation awarded us a $2,500 matching gift on behalf of one of its employees. The check came with a letter that read as follows:

Dear Mr. Hicks,

We are pleased to offer the attached donation to BDPA Education and Technology Foundation in the amount of $2,500.00, which was made possible by McKesson Foundation Matching Gift Program.

This offer will remain open for 180 days. To accept this offer, please cash the attached check within 180 days. Any donation not accepted by cashing the check will be revoked and the McKesson Foundation will send those funds to the American Cancer Society.
Part of the McKesson Foundation mission is to support our employees' community involvement efforts, and we are proud to be among your current supporters.

The McKesson Foundation

Suffice it to say that the check is being cashed right now! Christopher is the president of our BDPA Richmond chapter. He made a $2,500 donation to BETF earlier this year to support the efforts of the 2012 High School Computer Competition (HSCC) team trained by his chapter.  He worked with BETF and his company to get them to make a 100% match of his gift ... and the company cut this check in support of BDPA programs, scholarships and services.

Have you checked to see if your employer as a matching gifts program yet? If not, please do so right away!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Spoken Word: 'I Am Nerd' by Omar Holmon

I saw this young brother doing his thing recently on TV-One's 'Verses & Flow'. His name is Omar Holmon and he is a 4-time Spoken Word Grand Slam champion. I listened to this poem and thought of all of the young brothers and sisters that BDPA works with each year. This could be our anthem in BDPA -- 'I Am Nerd'

Do you have any nerds or spoken word artists in your chapter?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Status of STEM in Your State

Change the Equation recently unveiled its 2012 Vital Signs, which measure the health of K-12 STEM learning, state by state. Created in collaboration with the American Institutes for Research, Vital Signs offer the most comprehensive available picture of STEM in your state:
  • demand for and supply of STEM skills
  • resources schools and teachers have to do their work
  • students' access to learning opportunities
  • what states expect of students
Vital Signs was made possible by generous support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Top Giving Foundations: California

The The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The David and Lucille Packard Foundation and The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation are the top three giving foundations in California as determined by the Grantsmanship Center. [SOURCE]

There are 37 other top giving foundations listed. All of the listed foundations have a staff, issue RFPs, or otherwise indicate an interest in receiving proposals.

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) is willing to work with our BDPA Bay Area chapter or BDPA Los Angeles chapter leaders if they want to pursue grant proposals to any or all of these 40 funding sources!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

'The Business Landscape of Cloud Computing' by Daryl Plummer

Daryl Plummer is a past member of the National BDPA Board of Directors. He served as our outside director for a couple of years. Daryl is a Gartner Fellow responsible for that companies research into Cloud Computing and Emerging Technologies. He is one of the highest-ranking African Americans in the consulting realm of the IT industry.

One of the things I always appreciated about Daryl was his ability to break down high-powered technology and leadership concepts into practical language and images that everyone could understand. He continues to demonstrate that skill with the publication of a new eBook, The Business Landscape of Cloud Computing.

He breaks down the concept of 'Cloud Computing' in the following way:
"Cloud computing means someone else runs your computers and software while you use what they deliver and focus on delivering value."
All of the most important cloud computing topics are covered including security, ROI, Cloud Services Brokerage (third party intermediaries), and the ever present question of private vs. public. Mr. Plummer even ventures into macro economic territory in looking at the impact of cloud computing, job creation, and as more companies move into the cloud, the question of whether or not some cloud infrastructure providers become Too Big to Fail?

If you are new to cloud, this is a must read. If you have been working with the cloud for a while now, it is a great reminder that the real value of the cloud is what is possible because of the cloud, or to use Daryl’s words the cloud allows you to focus on value [rather than technology].

I encourage all BDPA members to check out this eBook.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

BDPA Sponsor CincyTech Invests in Black-Owned Lisnr

CincyTech became a BDPA corporate sponsor as part of their commitment to increase the level of investment in the minority community within the IT industry. As such, BDPA is very happy to report that CincyTech has invested in the interactive audio start-up company Lisnr and referred it to Centrifuge, where it is the first tenant of the new innovation hub.

The founder of Lisnr is a brother ... Rodney Williams! His company is a mobile-based application that allows artists/labels to create exclusive content and for fans to change their otherwise passive listening experience into an experience that is interactive and engaging.

Using Lisnr's patent-pending technology, the app will hear the track and unlock exclusive content for the fan. Lisnr has identified three verticals in which its product can be used: in music, in live performances, and in broadcasts, and in three different types of interactions: with consumers, with brands, and with advertisers.

Founder and CEO Rodney Williams (shown above) left Procter & Gamble to launch Lisnr with Blackbook HR founder Chris Ostoich and developer Chris Ridenour. For more information about Lisnr visit Lisnr.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Top Giving Foundations: North Carolina

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Foundation for The Carolinas and The Duke Endowment are the top three giving foundations in North Carolina as determined by the Grantsmanship Center. [SOURCE]

There are 37 other top giving foundations listed. All of the listed foundations have a staff, issue RFPs, or otherwise indicate an interest in receiving proposals.

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) is willing to work with our BDPA Charlotte chapter or BDPA Triangle chapter leaders if they want to pursue grant proposals to any or all of these 40 funding sources!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Volunteer Grant Award: McKesson Foundation ($500)

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) is proud to inform you that the McKesson Foundation awarded us a $500 volunteer grant on behalf of one of its employees. The check came with a letter that read as follows:

Dear Mr. Hicks,

We are pleased to offer the attached donation to BDPA Education and Technology Foundation in the amount of $500.00, which was made possible by McKesson employee Christopher Parker's involvement with your organization. Part of the McKesson Foundation mission is to support our employees' community involvement efforts, and we are proud to be among your current supporters.

This offer will remain open for 180 days. To accept this offer, please cash the attached check within 180 days. Any donation not accepted by cashing the check will be revoked and the McKesson Foundation will send those funds to the American Cancer Society.

The McKesson Foundation

Suffice it to say that the check is being cashed right now! Christopher is the president of our BDPA Richmond chapter. He let his company know about his volunteer efforts as a member of the chapter's board of directors ... and the company cut this check in support of BDPA programs, scholarships and services.

Have you checked to see if your employer as a volunteer grant program yet?
If not, please do so right away!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Grant Alert: Computing Education for the 21st Century Grant

The National Science Foundation has published a request for proposals on its 'Computing Education for the 21st Century Grant'. The Computing Education for the 21st Century program aims to build a robust computing research community, a computationally competent 21st century workforce, and a computationally empowered citizenry. The grant deadline is March 13, 2013.

Go to grant.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Comerica Charitable Foundation

The Comerica Charitable Foundation funding priorities support community needs in their primary markets within Texas, Michigan, California, Arizona, and Florida. They accept applications for cash grants to support program and capital expenses of nonprofit organizations whose mission meets the foundation’s priorities for giving.

Review Process - Each request is individually reviewed for eligibility. Requesting organizations will receive notification of a funding decision during the Grant Season schedule described below.

Giving Priorities - The Comerica Charitable Foundation regularly reviews needs in each of their geographic focus areas to ensure grant allocations are directed to support the most critical needs in our communities. Their giving priorities include:

Education including "Financial literacy programs (K-12 and adult)" and Programs supporting Diversity and Inclusion.

Funding Schedule - Four Annual Grant Seasons

To help them better respond to community needs as they emerge, and to maintain ongoing outreach with their community partners, Comerica established four Grant Seasons during which charitable organizations may apply to receive support from the Comerica Charitable Foundation:

411 W Lafayette Mc 3415
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 222-6325

Jan. 1 – March 15 (Grants announced April 15)
April 1 – June 15 (Grants announced July 15)
July 1 – Sept. 15 (Grants announced Oct. 15)
Oct. 1 – Nov. 15 (Grants announced Dec. 15)

It appears that we have local BDPA chapter co-located with Comerica Charitable Foundation markets in: Austin, Bay Area, Dallas, Detroit, Gr. Tampa Bay, Houston, Los Angeles, Orlando and South Florida. Anyone interested in seeking funding from Comerica Charitable Foundation?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

BDPA Job Board -

Have you visited the BDPA Job Board yet?

Over the past few years, we’ve heard from a lot of business and hiring managers that they find it hard to find qualified IT professionals and IT-minded businesspeople to fill vacant jobs in their organizations. We’ve also heard from IT pros who say that, in a world where anyone can claim to be able to “do IT,” it’s hard to stand out from throngs of job seekers on high-volume sites such as and

BDPA is pleased to announce that we’ve launched a new jobs board to connect diverse IT talent with progressive employers in Corporate America. We believe that BDPA’s strong reputation in and focus on the IT community, coupled with the very high traffic volume our site receives, will mean our jobs board will be valuable to job seekers and employers alike.

Visit the BDPA Job Board Today

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Get Your STEM Learning Program Noticed by Major Funders and Foundations

STEMworks is the latest initiative in efforts by Change the Equation to mobilize the business community to improve the quality of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning in the United States. The STEMworks database was developed to help business leaders and other funders identify and support programs that boost STEM interest and learning. Any STEM learning program that serves PK-12 students and teachers, in or out of school, may apply for inclusion in the database.

Open solicitation includes three deadlines. Programs can apply early to respond to feedback and reapply, if necessary. Apply:
  • Apply by September 15, 2012, for inclusion by November 1, 2012.
  • Apply by October 15, 2012, for inclusion by December 1, 2012.
  • Apply by November 15, 2012, for inclusion by January 15, 2013.
The BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) plans to submit the national Student Information Technology Education & Scholarship (SITES) program into this database for posterity.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Blacks In Technology Podcast #32: Ronnie Hash (Ubisoft)

Soulclap to Greg Greenlee (Blacks In Technology) for continuing his tradition of creating podcasts that help each of us advance our careers within the IT industry. On the following audio podcast, Greg sits down with Ubisoft development operations engineer Ronnie Hash to talk about the Cloud, CouchDB, MongoDB, Puppet configuration manager, DevOps, upcoming technology-related conferences and the mysterious happenings of the PidginIM client.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Should BDPA Help Put Computers and Internet Access Into the Homes of Low-Income Families?

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) is engaged in discussions about a new strategic alliance that would allow us to place personal computers and Internet access into the homes of many of the students that participate in our Student Information Technology Education & Scholarship (SITES) program.

It turns out that Redemtech, a world leader in IT Asset Disposition, joined with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski and Connect2Compete (C2C) to launch PC Pledge 100, a nationwide campaign to close the digital divide through corporate donations of used computers. Redemtech kicked off the drive by pledging 200 computers to the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and an additional 100 computers for nonprofits focused on digital literacy.

C2C is a $4 billion public-private initiative, launched by the FCC in December 2011 to narrow the digital divide by providing free digital literacy training, discounted high-speed Internet and low-cost computers for low-income Americans. Redemtech is the exclusive provider of Good PCSM refurbished computers, complete with Genuine Microsoft software, warranty, technical support and free shipping to all eligible families. Redemtech additionally provides free asset recovery and recycling at end of life to ensure responsible disposal and mitigate corporate donors from environmental liability.

Through PC Pledge 100, businesses and other organizations can donate 100 or more computers to provide much-needed technology for low-income Americans who participate in C2C. Companies interested in donating can visit BDPA has over 90 corporate sponsors ... many of whom may want to participate in this program.
While a home computer is essential to full participation in today’s society, more than 60 million U.S. homes lack a PC,” said Jill Vaské, Redemtech executive vice president. “Through PC Pledge 100, the business community can help C2C participants enjoy a better education, a brighter future and a world of possibilities.”
More than 17 million used-but-still-useful corporate PCs in the U.S. go to waste annually due to premature disposal or storage. While this equipment may be outdated by corporate standards, it remains useful to low-income families that need computers but cannot afford new technology.
I am so pleased by Redemtech’s announcement today that it is launching a PC Pledge Drive to encourage computer donations,” said Genachowski. “This effort will help ensure that more Americans get affordable computers so they can get online and become full participants in our digital economy and culture.
Giving ROI: Streamlined Donation Process Helps Businesses Reap Returns on Donations
With more than a decade of experience in refurbishing and redeploying large volumes of corporate, Redemtech is uniquely qualified to provide the refurbishment and deployment services to support C2C. The company’s Serious Good® initiative streamlines the donation process for businesses and other organizations. Microsoft plays a key role in the program through its Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher (MAR) program that enables large refurbishers like Redemtech to supply PCs preinstalled with genuine Microsoft software at only a nominal cost to schools, nonprofit organizations and other specially approved recipients. This essential software has a retail value of approximately $500 – and adds tremendous value to the C2C computers.
Microsoft recognizes the importance of technology access for under-served communities and supports Redemtech and Connect2Compete through our program that provides low-cost Windows and Office for disadvantaged groups. Redemtech is one of the largest members of this program and consistently develops innovative ways to reach new users of technology,” said Sean Nicholson, worldwide manager for Microsoft Registered Refurbisher program.
When corporations fund the refurbishment of donated PCs, they can realize a Giving ROI of $5 - $7 for every dollar invested, as documented in the Redemtech white paper “Giving: The Most Strategic IT Asset Disposition.” A leading analyst firm wrote last year that “Redemtech Re-writes the Rules on IT Equipment Donation” with Serious Good. The program is up and running. The question on the table is whether this is a program that would be of interest to BDPA at the local, regional or national interest.  
What say u?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Story Behind the Creation of the BDPA Logo

This blog tries to document the evolution and history of BDPA whenever possible. We hope that we can be a repository of information about the organization well into the next millennium.

We thought that you might be interested to learn the story behind the current BDPA logo. We asked BDPA Chicago past president Ricky Penick (@RCPenick) to share the story with us. Here is what Ricky had to say:

At the stroke of midnight, January 1, 2000, the twenty first century began. That is, according to some. Others believe it began exactly one year later. What is not disputed is that it marked the beginning of my term as president of BDPA Chicago Chapter.

My chapter members had spent the last nine years preparing me for the job and my mandate was very clear. My predecessor, Milt Haynes, had left the chapter in great shape when he moved into his new role as national president elect and we wanted to help the national organization while continuing to build our chapter which was, had been, and remains the largest chapter of BDPA. One way that we could do that was to host the 2001 national BDPA conference.

As a new member of the National Board of Directors, I volunteered to become the National Director of Organization Development under the auspices of National Vice President (Strategy and Planning) Donna McKay. In that role, I was tasked with two major issues: the name of the organization and the logo.

Although the name was constantly being debated from the time I joined BDPA in 1991, I chose a simple and straight forward approach to the issue. I conducted a survey of one, our founder, Earl Pace. I only had one question. “Do you think that we need to change our name?” Of course, the short answer was "no", but he went on to explain that from the beginning, it had been anticipated that the organization would be referred to by its acronym, BDPA rather than the formal legal name, Black Data Processing Associates. Since every single one of those words is controversial to somebody, let’s leave that for a separate discussion. Earl’s answer was good enough for me so

I went back to my battle to stop us from using the awful tag line, “Information Technology Thought Leaders”. Earl had also pointed out that it had also been anticipated that multiple tag lines would be used with our acronym. Thank goodness for that.

The logo was a different kind of issue. The original logo was a stylized tape reel. I don’t really know whether it was actually the original logo or who designed it, but it was the logo when I joined and I thought it was pretty cool. Sometime in the 90s, it was decided that the technology professionals of the day were no longer familiar with tape reels so an attempt was made to modernize the logo by adding a CD (I know, some of you are going “Oh, so that’s what that was.” and some of you are asking “What’s a CD?”. Welcome to the future).

Back in Chicago, our Corporate Advisory Council (CAC) was busy working with our chapter leadership on planning for our conference and how the chapter would participate and support the national organization. When I reported on my national responsibilities, someone suggested that the chapter give the national organization the gift of a new logo at the 2001 national BDPA conference.

As luck would have it, Bill Dunn of Dunn Solution Group (then known as Dunn Systems) announced that his company had recently acquired a graphic design firm and he volunteered their services to work with me to design a new logo. This was indeed fortuitous because graphic design is not in my skill set.

My criteria were simple and straight forward, at least to me. I asked for a design that was non-literal, so that it wouldn’t be made obsolete by changes in technology. It had to suggest “technology”, “association”, “boldness”, and “freshness”. The designers presented dozens of sketches. I made the initial selections based solely upon visceral response. Then we discussed each remaining selection and narrowed them down to three finalists to be presented to the CAC for a final recommendation, although all three would be presented to the National Board of Directors for the final choice of the new organizational logo. I decided that each should be rendered in red, black, and green.

As it happens, the logo that was recommended by the CAC and which eventually became the official logo of BDPA was my first and only choice among those designs that were commissioned. That was a good thing, because the approval took the better part of two years and would never have happened if I had been ambivalent. It was a lesson in consensus building and all of the strengths and weaknesses of the leadership structure of the organization came to the fore during this process. At some point I had to call upon all of my experience with decision support, project management, negotiation, facilitation, and more than a little anger management, but it eventually happened.

Along the way, there were those wanted “none of the above”, those who thought that because they weren’t around at the beginning of the process that everyone should start over, and those who didn’t want it because Chicago offered it. There were even some who thought that red, black, and green were too “militant”. Oh for crying out loud…

Eventually, the logo was approved and adopted. I tried to disseminate usage guidelines and a style book but I didn’t want to be too “corporate” about it. You have to leave some room for innovation. My favorite “deviation” to date is a black oxford shirt with black on black logo. Unfortunately, they sold out before I could get my hands on one.

Every few months I hear from some new kid who earnestly informs me that the “problem” with BDPA is marketing and we need to start with a new name and a new logo. Don’t be mad. I’m not laughing AT you, kid. More power to you. Go for it.

The number one question that I have been asked about the logo is “But what does it mean?”. My answer to that is it means whatever you want it to mean (and remind me not to invite you to the Museum of Contemporary Art). I can tell you what it means to me; “E Pluribus Unum-- From many, one”.

Asante sana to Ricky for sharing this story! Perhaps you would care to share what the current BDPA logo means to you?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Take Five: Deborah Chambers Chima (Chambers Consulting Group)

This blog is proud to continue the 'Take Five' Interview Series with an experienced Information Technology executive -- Deborah Chambers Chima.

Deborah has a combined experience of over thirty years as a human capital developer. She spent 23 years serving as a corporate trainer and team leader both internationally and domestically. For the last seven years she has been a successful business owner. Her goal is to help leaders improve their collaborative style when leading others in order to achieve the level of influential leadership that is so needed in today's challenging workplace. She is a published author with book called, Choose To Lead. She is a powerful advocate for the Executive Protégé Program between BDPA and the Information Technology Senior Management Forum.

Deborah gave an outstanding presentation at the 2011 National BDPA Technology Conference on topic of “21st Century Leadership Skills for Technologists.”

  1. How did you get involved with BDPA? - In 2004 I joined the BDPA Career Coach group and soon became the lead coach. We have offered workshops, resume reviews, and career coaching services over the years. Although the group is no longer in existence, I have found tremendous value in continuing to serve as a coach and workshop presenter to the BDPA membership.
  2. What do you see as the biggest benefit of your BDPA membership? - I have been afforded the opportunity to help people realize their goals by becoming a recognized, valued and trusted partner at all levels within the organization.
  3. What future evolution or change would you like to see in BDPA? - I would like to see BDPA truly become the premier association for IT career professionals by implementing a 3 year strategic plan that strengthens every chapter in the areas of membership and financial stability. A regional linking of thriving chapters will allow the national voice of the organization to be a greater hiring resource for corporate partners.
  4. What would you like Corporate America to know about BDPA? - BDPA is a great resource for sourcing talented IT professionals who have a passion for demonstrating innovative and insightful solutions to business challenges.
  5. Any advice for people considering donation to BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF)? - A BETF contribution allows the organization to support, mold and shape the minds of young people who are hungry for an opportunity.

Deborah can be found in a number of cyberspace locations including her own blog, Facebook and Twitter. Reach out and let her know what you think of her 'Take Five' interview answers!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

BDPA Marketing Tips Shared by Atlanta Chapter President Felicia Jones

How often have we heard the statement that 'BDPA is the best-kept secret in the Information Technology industry' or 'BDPA is the best-kept secret in the Black community'. I've noticed that BDPA Atlanta chapter has stepped up their marketing over the past year and as a result the chapter is one of the fastest-growing in the nation.

I reached out to BDPA Atlanta chapter president Felicia Jones with this question:
If you had to share insights into the 'best practices' of marketing experienced by your BDPA Atlanta chapter this year ... what would they be? What are the top 2-3 things that you would suggest for other local chapter leaders to think about or do in their efforts to raise the level of marketing and awareness of BDPA in the other 44 chapter cities around the nation?

Her answer provides a road-map for all of us in BDPA:
  1. Social media; the #1 marketing tool...period! From FB to LinkedIn to Twitter and all the other tools, you can reach millions of people in an instance. With today's technology & devices, people are always connected and plugged in. Atlanta was already using social media, but we had to come up with attention grabbers & catch phrases that would get people's attention to make them want to know more.
  2. Website; current with substance. Using social media to market your chapter is meaningless if you don't have a website, but a website with info, events, programs, etc. If you don't have one for your local chapter, use Nationals; every chapter has the capability to create a site within national's website. Atlanta had to update our website; the look, the feel, the info. We needed to tell a story and have people wanting to learn more about the organization and to also want to be a part of it. You must have events listed even if you are sharing events from another chapter (like webinars) or partnering with another organization on their event.
  3. Email Communication; tried & true. Email is the best form of communication to send out detailed information, but watch the frequency of emails, you don't want to be categorized as spam. Atlanta changed the look of our emails to incorporate better graphics, catch phrases & the frequency for which we sent out the info. We actually have people responding to the emails with great comments! We send out an email at the beginning of the month that summarizes all the upcoming events for that month, as the date gets closer to the event, we send out another email.
  4. Word of Mouth; the best form of communication. If you are providing great programs & quality events, people will begin to talk and spread the word for you. Atlanta introduced several new programs for its members along with having several networking events. There were several new faces & they said they heard about us from a friend, friend of a friend, co-worker, etc.
  5. Within all of those four avenues of marketing, we had to change our look and approach. We had to be creative and come up with new marketing material such as video. You can write, tweet, blast, and list as much info as you like, but there's nothing better than actually seeing/hearing someone give a testimonial, tell a story or provide info so we got creative with video. We have our own YouTube channel where you can view our Real Talk Series, The Speaker Behind the Topic, testimonial videos, interviews of our HSCC students & instructors, and much, much more.

What are your thoughts on Felicia's marketing tips? Do you have other 'best practices' about marketing of BDPA programs that you want to share with us?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

OURstory: Blacks Who Made Technology History in the Silicon Valley

Soulclap to Black Digerati for pointing out an important part of the Digital Revolution that has been left untold. Technology historian John William Templeton shares OURstory in the form of a documentary called 'Freedom Riders'. This documentary chronicles prominent African American Silicon Valley technologists from the 1950s and 1960s.

Roy Clay Sr., Dr. Frank Green and the late Ron Jones were inducted into the Silicon Valley Engineering Council Hall of Fame in 2003. This video shows these men being honored earlier this year for their accomplishments in an exhibit (created by John William Templeton) at the Palo Alto City Hall.

Props to Black Digerati and Bro. Templeton for sharing the soul of technology with us. Are there other aspects of OURstory that have been left out of his-story?