Sunday, August 31, 2008

Health Care Service Corporation Named Best Company for Blacks in Technology

Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) has been named the best place in the country for Blacks in technology. The prestigious Epsilon Award is given annually by National BDPA and Finalists for the award included top companies such as Allstate, Merck, State Farm, Wal-Mart, WellPoint and Wells Fargo Bank. Last year's winner was IBM.

"We are very pleased to recognize the outstanding contributions that HCSC has made for Blacks in technology," said National BDPA President, Denise
. "In this economy, many African Americans in technology are concerned about opportunities for both employment and advancement. It is important to recognize those exceptional companies that have provided African Americans with challenging and fulfilling career opportunities in Information Technology."

HCSC is the country's fourth largest health insurer and operates the BlueCross and BlueShield plans in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

"HCSC's commitment to diversity has helped us attract qualified employees and achieve incredible success," said Brian Hedberg, HCSC senior vice president and chief information officer. "We are especially grateful to BDPA and for encouraging us to identify and promote our talented work force. As we progress, we knowdiversity and inclusion will help us accomplish our goals."

To identify the Epsilon winner, BDPA supporters completed a comprehensive survey that rated performance in the areas of demographics, diversity programs, diversity (training, affinity groups), tenure, promotions and terminations, diversity recruiting, career path programs, minority vendor programs, and community outreach.

"Our BDPA survey questions cause reflection on whether programs value diversity and build opportunities at work," said Will Bundy, former national BDPA outside director. "Our winners have demonstrated a commitment to people and an understanding that diversity has a bottom line business case value."

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Grant Declination: The Boston Foundation

We learned today that our $5,000 funding request to The Boston Foundation on behalf of BDPA Boston chapter has been denied.

The Boston Foundation wrote, "The staff reviewed and discussed all of the Pre-Applications submitted and we regret to inform you that the Boston Foundation will not be inviting a full proposal from your organization at this time.

The Foundation's limited discretionary grant budget necessitates some difficult decisions. Please be aware that this is not intended in any way as a comment on the quality and importance of your organization and its programs, but simply reflects the dilemma of a community foundation wit limited resources available to address the myriad of needs and opportunities that exist in the Greater Boston area.

Your organization is eligible to submit a new Pre-Application Form for the July 1, 2009 deadline."

BDPA Boston chapter is working on their business plans for CY-2009. Our hope is that they will decide to participate in the IT Showcase or HSCC at the 31st annual BDPA Technology Conference in Raleigh NC.

Have you made donation or pledge to BDPA Foundation yet? Just reply to this message if you want to do so today!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Why Fear the Fundraising Ask?

By Reynold Levy

Almost every American does it.

In 2007, the population of the United States gave $306 billion to charity. That sum represents 2.3 percent of the average American’s disposable income. Two-thirds of all households contributed funds to nonprofit institutions. For each of the last five years, Americans donated more to their favorite organizations and causes than they saved for themselves. And of that total, corporations gave $15.7 billion, or about 1 percent of their pretax income.

Giving is not a spontaneous act. People, corporations, and foundations donate funds largely because they are asked to do so.

It is a puzzle that while giving funds to nonprofit institutions is hardly unusual, the act of asking seems so universally disliked, misunderstood, and disdained. I’ve written Yours for the Asking for anyone who wishes to overcome the fear or simply the hesitation of asking friends and strangers for money. It is motivated by the conviction that more charitable funds are available by orders of magnitude to prevent and cure disease, eliminate poverty, expand education, and relieve the misery of the bottom billion human beings who find themselves seemingly fated to occupy the lowest rung of the economic ladder.

The capacity and willingness of Americans to support nonprofit institutions has withstood the test of time. Of course, when employment, gross domestic product, corporate earnings, and the stock market are rising at a vigorous pace, so, too, do the prospects for robust giving. But even when the U.S. economy falters, donations to charitable causes can remain vibrant.
Read the rest of this article here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

5 Ways to Live Life Like a Leader

BDPA Foundation blog welcomes guest blogger Heather Johnson. She writes on the subject of California teaching certificates. We are pleased that she agreed to share information about leadership with us. Enjoy her blog post below...

You may think you know what characteristics go into the making of a leader, but unless you don the mantle yourself, you’re never going to know how hard the position really is. Truth be told, a leader has a perpetual Sword of Damocles hanging over his/her head. The mark of a great leader is to be aware of this danger but not let it rule his/her every thought and action.

Come to think of it, we are all leaders in some form or the other – we lead and guide ourselves throughout our lives, from the time we’re old enough to think for ourselves. To be a successful leader, you must:

  1. Think a lot: You don’t have to be active all the time to prove you’re a good leader; thinking and taking stock of a situation and weighing the pros and cons before you act or before you ask others to act is a more effective tenet of good leadership. A focused effort on the problems and issues at hand is what’s needed rather than a trial and error approach to problem solving.
  2. Adapt to situations: To say that a leader must take a few cues from a chameleon is an understatement – changing and adapting according to circumstances is the lifeblood that makes leadership survive. Knowing how to act and take command, especially in chaotic and critical situations, is the true art of leadership.
  3. Accept your faults and admit to mistakes: A good leader is not perfect, but he/she strives to be. The most important thing is not never failing at all, but in remembering the lessons learnt each time you don’t taste success. Ignoring your shortcomings is akin to sweeping the dirt under the rug – a day will come when the mound becomes too large to stay hidden. Leaders must lead by example; what they expect of their followers, they must do themselves.
  4. Hold on to ethics and values: A leader with no sense of values does not earn the respect of his/her team. Ethics and morality are extremely important, especially when you’re in the public eye. One small slip is all it takes to lose all the reputability and respectability you’ve strived to build over the years. It’s not enough to just talk about values; you must put your money where your mouth is and practice those values in your day to day life, whether in or out of the spotlight.
  5. Talk not lecture: A good leader talks to his/her team members, not at them. They don’t lecture or command, instead they inspire and motivate. They accord credit where it’s due, praise in public and punish in private.
Some people are lucky to be born with the traits of leadership while others must acquire the skill and hone it with practice and experience. Even if we’re not leaders in the eyes of the world, there’s much to be gained in adhering to leadership principles in our private lives.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Microsoft Virtual Library for IT Professionals

Microsoft Press has developed a virtual library for IT Professionals, developers and information workers who want to learn about Microsoft products and related technologies. Click here to learn more about the E-Reference Library.

The IT Pro library lets you search across over 100 technology books (New books are added every month!) published by Microsoft Press with one click to locate just the information you are looking for – by topic, keywords, problems, etc. You can also create your personal bookshelf, bookmark, make notes, and download up to five chapters per month.

Culminis members are entitled to 25% discount on the subscription of the IT Pro Library. Follow this link. If you are ready to purchase, please use this link to get the discount.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Social Network as a Career Safety Net

I am a strong believer in the power of social networking. You can find me on CollectiveX, Facebook, LinkedIn Network and Twitter. In fact, my 15-year old daughter thinks I'm too old to be on Facebook.
Perhaps you are like my daughter. Maybe you have avoided social-networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook with the excuse that they are the domain of desperate job hunters or attention-seeking teenagers. If so, it’s time to reconsider.

In a world of economic instability and corporate upheaval, savvy professionals epitomize the benefits of brushing up your online image and keeping it polished.

Click here for the rest of the story.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Abbott Sponsors 75 BDPA Student Members

Soul-clap to Blacks Gone Geek for letting us know that Abbott purchased 75 BDPA student memberships as part of their sponsorship package. They seek any interested college student looking to be part of the BDPA experience.

Click here to apply. Memberships will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

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.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

President Profile: BDPA Detroit Chapter (Anquanette Clegg)

Anquanette Clegg, President
BDPA Detroit Chapter

Address: 440 Burroughs Street
Detroit, MI 48202
Phone: (313) 438-3519

Anquanette Clegg is a Process Improvement Project Manager and Software Technical Support Analyst at Compuware Corporation, where she supports a networking solutions product and lead product and projects implemented to improve product deliverables. She has been at Compuware since 2000.

Anquanette has been an IT Professional for more than 10 years. She started her career at Federal Mogul serving as a Systems Supervisor providing technical support for 150 systems and supervision for a team of 25 employees and also served as Senior Systems Analyst examining new software to improve current technology. One of her career highlights include leading the Y2K Customer Service Information Technology project ensuring all customer service systems were properly tested and able to handle the date change 1/1/2000.

She is the founder of a young women’s mentoring group, STIC (Sistas Trusting In Christ), dealing with spiritual matters and academic matters to aid with career decisions. The organization’s mission is to equip young women with the necessary tools to advance spiritually and professionally.

Anquanette obtained a bachelor’s degree from Lawrence Technological University where she served as a Board member for the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). One of her accomplishments, include helping implement an academic reward system that praised students for maintaining a 3.0 GPA Average and also organized a Study System to help those students to maintain a healthy grade average.

In 2006, she obtained a Project Management Professionals (PMP) from Project Management Institute.

"My goal is to motivate and lead the Detroit Chapter, into one cohesive unit that uses their professional talents to fulfill the mission and vision. The BDPA Detroit Chapter will set the tone for all chapters throughout BDPA. I am a hard worker, love challenges, teachable, determined, self motivated, goal-oriented, and believe in the power of change."

Motto: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” – Philippians 4:13

Monday, August 18, 2008

Scholarships and Other Opportunities

"Planning and Preparing for College (Scholarships, Internships, Etc)"

PLEASE NOTE THAT NOW IS THE TIME TO APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS, INTERNSHIPS, FELLOWSHIPS, ETC. Class of 2009, please register for your ACT/SAT Now!!! There over 200 postings currently on the blog.

The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS ) - Deadline: January 12, 2009 at 11:59 est (click link)

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program (GMS) has opened the online scholarship application for the 2009 selection process. Scholarship applications must be submitted online by January 12, 2009 at 11:59 p.m. EST or the paper application postmarked on or before January 12, 2009.

More Recent Articles

The Al Neuharth Free Spirit Scholarship and Journalism Conference -- Deadline: October 15, 2008
Horatio Alger Scholarship Programs --Deadline: October 30, 2008
2008 Ron Brown Scholarship -- Deadline: November 1 2008 and Janaury 9, 2009
Scholarships for African American Food Studies-type Students! -- Deadline: September 15, 2008
Terry O'Banion Student Technology Awards -- January 10, 2009
2009-2010 U.S. Student Fulbright Competition -- Apply Now
Dr. Gerald A. Soffen Memorial Fund for the Advancement of Space Science Education - October 1, 2008
Outstanding Students of America -- Postmark Deadline: October 10, 2008
Millions of Students Will Have Access to Cheaper Interest Rates on College Loans
2008-2009 Teach Grant Program
Neuroscience Nursing Foundation (NNF) Grants -- Deadline: Various
Black Students

Sunday, August 17, 2008

2008 First Tee Fall Program

The First Tee, an initiative of the World Golf Foundation, has as its mission: To impact the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character-development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf. Their goal is to provide the golf learning facilities and the experience that will enable kids from every walk of life to partake of a game that teaches values for life and which can be played for a lifetime.

The First Tee programs are seasonally based and last for nine weeks each quarter. They are designed to promote life skills and leadership to youth ages 8-18. All participants start at the Par I level and progress from level to level (i.e., Par II, Birdie I, Birdie II, Eagle I, Eagle II, Ace) over time.

First Tee is located throughout the country. The Memphis location is currently accepting applications: (click link below to retrieve)

First Tee Memphis

Click link below to view Chapter locations:

Chapter Locations (If your location doesn't have a program, check with the national headquarters to see if you can start a program in your area.)

As a testimony this is a great program. My youngest son started the program in the 3rd grade and is still in the program. He is now in the 7th grade. The program has helped him tremendously and is a "must" for those looking for a great sport and character builder. There are many golfing scholarships that go untouched due to students not being able to apply for them.

BDPA IT Institute Fall Enrollment Opens

The Fall 2008 enrollment period is still open for the BDPA IT Institute. The courses scheduled for the Fall term, beginning September 8th through December 13th, are the IT Professional Certification taught by Will Bundy, Ph.D. and the PMP Exam Prep taught by Gregory Brown, PMP.

Key Benefits of Certification:
  • Career advancement, progression and promotion from sponsoring corporations/employers
  • Increased technology business acumen and leadership skills
  • Respect and prestige of being "certified"
  • Publication opportunities in field
  • Leadership, management and project management skill development
Now is the time to take control of your future in the IT industry. Apply now for Fall 2008 courses! For more information, you can contact the BDPA IT Institute leadership by phone (800.727-2372) or email.

Click here for the BDPA IT Institute brochure.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Message from Philadelphia Chapter President

BDPA Philadelphia chapter is the back-to-back BDPA Chapter of the Year! One reason for their success is the relationship built by the chapter president, Monique Berry, with members, sponsors and other stakeholders. She issues her personal message to the membership each month. Here is what she had to say to them in August 2008:

"When prospective members visit or attend BDPA events, I try to meet personally with as many of them as possible. I think it makes a good statement about the organization and underlines our willingness to speak about the BDPA experience. It also reinforces our approach to building relationships, and demonstrates the benefits of networking in the middle of this highly energetic small technology community.

But I have to admit that I also think it's a lot of fun.

I like trying to get a clear picture of exactly who is checking us out. I also like to make my pitch about why we are different than other professional organizations: "... hey, at BDPA, we're all about the professional development of the members."

However, what I am passionate about is finding out how the visitor heard about BDPA. When I hear that they found us through a word from one of our very own, a member, well that's the best. That lets me know that there is real pride involved. Having one friend tell another to check us out is a very personal and very real stamp of approval. This lets us know that we're doing something right.

I hope that BDPA members (students and professionals) recognize how important personal referrals are to BDPA. You are our best voice and our best hope for continued growth and success.

Please keep 'em coming.

I look forward to seeing you next week."

Monique F. Berry
President, BDPA Philadelphia
Vision: Partnering for Continued Growth!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Gift to the Class of 2009 and Others

I want to make a special contribution to the "Class of 2009" and those that are currently preparing their child or children for college (9th-12th graders or younger) to give you a head start on the college preparation process. It is my goal that no child or parent is left behind in the college preparation process. It is important that parents/students learn the process properly and not wait years trying to catch up. The information I am providing is for any one wanting to prepare his or her child for college regardless of what age or race they might be.

I have a concern and passion for the African American group, because they need assistance with the process. I find that so many of them don't know the proper way to prepare for college. As with anything, we must take the time to teach properly and then allow experience to follow. In the end, "knowledge is power, if used properly."

Please click the link below to understand the college preparation process:

Gift to the Class of 2009 -- more

Also, check out the many scholarships and other opportunities on my the blog: Planning and Preparing for College (Scholarships, Internships, Etc). The blog is located at

As always, share this information with others.

WellPoint Associate Giving Campaign

BETF proudly accepted pledges through the WellPoint Associate Giving Campaign made by Yiddy Chaves, Corlon Ford, Wanda McGee, Eric Wingate and Annette Yates during the 2nd quarter of this year. WellPoint's mission is to improve the lives of the people it serves and the health of its communities. The donations made by these five BDPA members will be used to support programs and services put on by our BDPA Richmond chapter. WellPoint leveraged the generosity of these BDPA employees with an additional 50% matching fund donation.

Our hope is that other BDPA members will consider making payroll deductions during annual giving campaigns put on by United Way, Combined Federal Campaign or the company itself. Others may simply want to make a one-time donation directly to BETF in support of the youth education programs taking place all over the country.

Please share some 'BDPA-Love' with Yiddy, Corlon, Wanda, Eric and Annette!

5 Ways to Use Web 2.0 Technologies for Mentoring

by Jim Neusom
Founder, BDPA Nevada Chapter
Owner, City Lights Software

Greetings Family,

It's your friendly neighborhood "Digital Drummer"

I receive hundreds of emails daily, and believe me when I say...I read them all! I may not always reply, but truly I love hearing from my friends and supporters.

Jessye Bemley, a student at North Carolina A&T State University, sent me an email that I thought many of you working in the community, and trying to build grass-roots networks might appreciate.

Jessye asked...How can Web 2.0 technologies be used for mentoring?

First for discussion sake, let's define Web 2.0. For those that are not up on the latest tech jargon, Web 2.0 is essentially the combination of Rich Media applications across mutable web platforms.

Let me explain, social networks such as MySpace or FaceBook are not new. What's new, is how simply they integrate Rich Media such as pictures, videos, music, and widgets (think slide shows) into an online presentation based primarily on social interaction.

The end result of any individual profile, is to enhance personal creativity, information sharing, and, most notably, collaboration among users/friends. Mentally compare a personal website of the 90's with even the most basic social networking profile today....and you have Web 2.0.

Secondly, a Mentor is defined by Webster's dictionary as a trusted counselor or guide. Mentors provide their expertise to less experienced individuals in order to help them advance their careers, enhance their education, and build their networks.

Now the most overused term in social networking (Web 20) is "Friend". When you find a friend that is willing to help you with your goals (be they business, education or whatever), you have found a "Mentor".

So functionally speaking How can Web 2.0 technologies be used for mentoring? Let's take the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) youth programs hosted by BDPA as an example.

The BDPA is one of the nation's largest and oldest Black professional tech organizations. With tens of thousands of members, in chapters located in every urban center, they maintain a major online presence. So how does the BDPA use Web 2.0 technology?

  1. Contacts/Introductions

    The BDPA provides mutable sites where students and potential mentors can meet and connect. For example run a search in Yahoogroups, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other site and you will find the BDPA. Within these sites, students can search out others with similar interest and objectives, who might be willing to help them with their STEM project.

  2. Personal Interaction

    At every step of the STEM program, the BDPA provides on and off line volunteers to guide students through the process. These students are able to speak directly to these volunteers and team members (think Friend) utilizing Web 2.0 tools such as chats, forums, IM's, and yes even land line phones.

    They can use Web 2.0 tools like, bulletins and graphics to keep their team updated and motivated. Social networking sites create a primary location for team information to be shared and commented on.

  3. Resources

    Mentors and STEM alumni have a wealth of knowledge and experience. Utilizing bulletins boards, forums, and Blogs, members have access to links, white papers, templates, and info specifically targeted to their STEM project.

    This info never goes away. You can look back through years of discussions and advice on STEM subjects given by experts in their field. More in likely, your questions has been asked before...and someone posted a answer.

  4. Promotion and team building

    Mentorship, like Web 2.0 is not a linier or static concept. Mentorship is a personal, every changing life experience. As such, there will be many off line contacts and events that can be promoted and celebrated within the social networking site.

    Success breads success. Through videos, and webcasts STEM members can highlight their accomplishments and tell the world their story. Many curious visitors will read their profile and be motivated to join or help.

  5. Mentorship

    Now even though in this discussion I use the term "Friend" lightly, never forget that being a Mentor is serious business. It is not a relationship to be entered into by just clicking a mouse.

    Being a mentor is not for the faint of heart. The responsibility requires knowledge, solid communication skills, and a great deal of patience. At the same time, being a mentor can be extremely rewarding, as there is a great deal of satisfaction in watching your former charges grow.

    Before choosing a Mentor, do your homework. Make sure they are not just text on a screen. You can normally determine this by watching their interactions with others, reading their posts and opinions, and using common sense. Mentorship is ideally a long term and personal relationship.

Remember, We Must Share The Knowledge (Network)... To Share The Dollars!!!

Jim Neusom

2008 National BDPA High School Computer Competition (HSCC) Rankings

The 2008 National BDPA High School Computer Competition (HSCC) championships were held in Atlanta GA. We had 23 teams competing in 2008 ... highest chapter participation since the 2004 competition.

The tension during the 2 days of the competition centered around the team trained by BDPA Southern Minnesota chapter. This chapter won 2 of the past 3 national competitions and arrived in Atanta as the defending champions.

The talent and training of the Rochester MN team proved to be unstoppable ... BDPA Southern Minnesota earned and all-time record score of 1,038 points to win the 2008 National HSCC championship ... their 3rd championship in the past 4 years. In fact, the same five students (Yaa Kwansa, Ahmed Mahamad, Lauren Pemberton, Kunle Roberts and Adwait Walimbe) came back to win their second consecutive national HSCC championship under the direction of their coach (Zack Garbow) and chapter president (Nat Calvert).

BDPA Washington DC scored the best score in chapter history with 892 points to come in second place. BDPA Chicago scored 873 points to earn the bronze medal. The rest of BDPA-nation will need to step up their game in order to compete with Southern Minnesota, Washington DC and Chicago in the 2009 competition.

Here are the rankings for all 23 teams that competed in 2008 national HSCC championships with the scholarship winnings for each student in parenthesis:
  1. Southern Minnesota ($2,500 Bemley Scholarship for each student)
  2. Washington DC ($2,000 each)
  3. Chicago ($1,500 each)
  4. Northern Virginia ($1,000 each)
  5. Atlanta ($500 each)
  6. New York
  7. Cleveland
  8. Dayton
  9. Twin Cities
  10. Detroit
  11. New Jersey
  12. Cincinnati
  13. Los Angeles
  14. Hartford
  15. Richmond
  16. Charlotte
  17. Chattanooga
  18. Middle Tennessee
  19. St. Louis
  20. Greater Columbia
  21. Columbus
  22. Indianapolis
  23. Philadelphia
Our foundation seeks to increase the number of students that receive Bemley Scholarships in 2009 and beyond. To do so, we need your help. Please consider making an online donation to help us interest young people in science and technology.

Finally, I encourage you to share your thoughts and memories of the 2008 National BDPA Conference held in Atlanta GA with others in this online community.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Message from Charlotte Chapter President

BDPA Charlotte is the 21st largest chapter in the nation. The chapter was very active in the recently-concluded national conference. BDPA Charlotte chapter president Charles Moore shared some insights on the 30th annual BDPA Technology Conference with his members, sponsors and supporters. Here is what he had to say:

BDPA Charlotte Friends and Family,

Greetings! For those of you who had the pleasure of attending our 2008 National Conference, I am sure you will agree that our time in Atlanta was amazing! I hope you found your way back to Charlotte safe and soundly. From the technical sessions, career development seminars, to the opening and closing ceremonies, and the networking opportunities, the conference had something to offer everyone in attendance. If you take a moment to read the highlights from this year’s conference you will see why I am excited and pleased to announce that the 2009 National Conference will be held in Raleigh, NC!!!!

National Board of Directors Meeting
As president of the Charlotte Chapter, I had the opportunity to participate in the National Board of Directors meeting. Chapter Presidents from around the country as well as our National President, Denise Holland, and her executive committee focused on matters related to keeping this beloved organization moving forward. These topics ranged from redesign of the national and local websites, to the offering of new programs and services. Expect great things to come out from our national leaders over the next few months and quarter.

Opening Ceremony – Ephren Taylor
BDPA corporation of the year, Johnson and Johnson sponsored the opening ceremonies featuring the humorous Mario Armstrong as master of ceremonies. Our founder Earl Pace Jr., told us that in order to advance our careers and move our community forward, we simply need to “Cast Down Our Buckets Where We Are” in the BDPA to gain the resources needed to propel us forward. We also had the honor of hearing Ephren Taylor inspire and motivate the crowd as the key note speaker. Ephren, known as the “Wealth Engineer,” shared with us his amazing journey to becoming the youngest black CEO in history. Ephran, who created his first video game at the age of 12 and a millionaire by 17, told the 1500 in attendance that perseverance and hard work are the keys to success and to always seize opportunities when they are presented, no matter your age or situation.

Career Development & Technical Seminars
This year, the BDPA national conference offered over 50 career development and technical sessions were offered to help members advance their careers and enhance their technical capabilities. Also a 2 day PMP Certification exam preparation series was conducted. Like our monthly program meetings, all of the sessions at the national conference were eligible for continuing education credits needed to maintain professional certifications such as PMP, CISA, and CISSP. These topics included topics such as Business Intelligence, Enterprise Architecture, Off-shoring/Outsourcing, Career Networking, and The Art of Persuasion.

I want to extend a word of thanks and appreciation to our presenters from the Charlotte Chapter who presented excellent topics:
  • Kimberly GreenADKG Worldwide
  • John HofflerWachovia Corporation
  • Evan HilliardNovant Healthcare

High School Computer Competition
Several HSCC teams assembled in Atlanta to participate in the 23rd year of this esteemed competition. Students from around the nation participated in a 2 day competition where they were quizzed on several technical topics. They were also given 7 hours on Friday to build an online banking program from the ground up using ASP.NET. I want to thank our local Charlotte team for their hard work, participation, and effort. They continued the legacy here in Charlotte of participation in this marquee event. The team members listed below were led by Aaron Johnson and Markus Beamer as trainers and sponsored by Wachovia:

  1. Trevor Williams (captain) - Vance High School
  2. Mykel Pendergrass - Sequoia Academy
  3. Sheldon Abrams - Harding University High School
  4. Jerron Jamerson - Berry Academy of Technology
  5. Brett Bailey - Berry Academy of Technology

Women in IT Breakfast – Sponsored by Wachovia
On Saturday morning, the women of BDPA had the privilege to join Wachovia’s Sharon Murphy for breakfast to discuss the issues and challenges facing women in the field of Information Technology. Sharon is the newly appointed director of finance technology for Wachovia. This session was inspiring and gave women the opportunity to converse on issues and tactics used to overcome issues faced in our industry. This was also a great beginning of a strong network that will yield wonderful benefits to the women members of the BDPA. I am proud to announce that the Charlotte chapter will be launching quarterly lunch and learn seminars to continue this initiative locally. Please stay tuned for more details!

Technology Career Fair
Top employers from around the country assembled in Atlanta to recruit top IT talent at this year’s national conference. Several companies were pleased with quality of candidates attending the career fair. It is obvious that members such as yourselves should be among those advancing their career at such a wonderful event. Let’s be sure to take advantage of this in Raleigh during 2009!

Awards Gala – Dr. Randal Pinkett
The week’s activities were closed on Saturday evening with our annual gala and awards ceremony.
During the evening’s events, we honored top achievements in the field of Information Technology. Our keynote speaker was the winner of NBC’s Apprentice, Dr. Randal Pinkett. His topic for the evening was “Is Success Your Objective, or is Greatness Your Goal?” This excellent speech reminded us all of the differences between success and greatness and that while completing a task is the definition of success; greatness comes from going above and beyond the call of duty. Success is quickly forgotten, but Greatness endures the test of time. Join BDPA Today!!!

Dr. Pinkett, and Ephren Taylor are 2 of the BDPA’s newest members. They see the value in belonging to this esteemed organization, and we ask that you take the time to join them. Membership is a simple 2 step process!

Take a moment to review our benefits, programs, and services. Once you are ready to become a member, you may do so by clicking here to join the BDPA!

Over the next few weeks, you will be receiving communications about events, activities, and opportunities that have been planned for you as members going forward. As always, we look forward to serving you and continuing to meet your professional and technical needs as well as having you involved in any capacity you wish to serve. If there is anything myself or anyone else in the chapter can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact me and using the information below.

Charles Moore, President
BDPA Charlotte
Phone: 704-654-8114

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Free Microsoft Certification Exam

Microsoft wants you to know that a FREE Second Shot at Microsoft Certification is Back!

Starting August 5th, you will be able to get a free second chance to pass your Microsoft Certification Exam. Limited offer, plan NOW!

2008 Best Black Blogs recently completed a 3-step process to determine the Best Black Blogs.

The first step involved identifying the top 50 Black owned/operated blogs as measured by Technorati authority. The second step was a popular vote from anyone in the blogosphere to narrow the finalist down to 20 blogs. Finally, used seven criteria to determine the Best Black Blogs.

The Best Black Blogs according to (with current Black Blog Ranking in parenthesis) are:
  1. Oliver Willis (BBR # 5)
  2. What About Our Daughters (BBR #15)
  3. Black Looks (BBR #37)
  4. The Field Negro (BBR #13)
  5. Ill Doctrine (BBR # 106)
  6. Undercover Blackman (BBR #38)
  7. Pam's House Blend (BBR #1)
  8. Electronic Village (BBR #25)
  9. Black and Missing But Not Forgotten (BBR #46)
  10. AngryBlackBitch (BBR #19)

Yobachi Boswell is the owner of I just want to thank the young brother for taking time to conduct this process! Goes without saying that we are honored to be on this list.

Electronic Village and BDPA Foundation blog are both the creation of Wayne Hicks. We invite all BDPA Foundation blog readers to check out our other blog if you have time or inclination!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Grant Recipient: BDPA Rhode Island ($8,860)

The BDPA Foundation approved $ 8,860 grant funding to BDPA Rhode Island chapter. The funds will support participation for chapter HSCC students, chaperones and coordinator at the national competition in Atlanta, GA on August 8-9, 2008.

This request was supported by funding from Bank of America.

Right now we need others to step-up and make tax-deductible donations to the BDPA Foundation so that we might continue to fund these programs in the future. It is important for us to have funds necessary to advance the careers of African Americans in the IT industry from the 'classroom to the boardroom'.

Please make a small donation right now!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Black Web 2.0 Interviews Wayne Hicks

Markus Robinson and Angela Bennett are powerful technologists who are doing all that they can do to educate African Americans on Web 2.0 tools. I met them both during the recent Blogging While Brown conference. Here is interview conducted during that conference:

Black Web 2.0 Speaks with the Electronic Village from blackweb20 on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

2008 National BDPA High School Computer Competition Winners

BDPA trained hundreds of students this year. Some of the top students from all over the country converged on Atlanta for the 23rd annual National BDPA High School Computer Competition (HSCC) in August 2008.

These students attended technology workshops at the Youth Technology Camp before beginning the 2-day HSCC event. The first day focused on an oral exam and a computerized individual written exam answering on topics such as database, HTML/Internet, general computer knowledge and BDPA History.

On the second day, the students were asked to develop an online bank loan application. Each team had a choice of technologies to use in the programming part of the competition -- JAVA, PHP, .NET or ASP. The judges provided them with the specifications at 8:00 am. The students then have seven (7) hours and one computer to complete the task.

Did I mention that the students don't have the luxury of any cool tools commonly used to create web pages. They used text editors like note pad to design their solutions.

These students did an outstanding job. However, only the top five teams were eligible for Bemley Scholarships. The top five teams in the 2008 national competition are:
  1. BDPA Southern Minnesota - This team defended the national championship that they won last year. In fact, the young men and women from Rochester MN won the championship in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008. Each member of this year's team won a $2,500 Bemley Scholarship!

  2. BDPA Washington DC - For the second year in a row the young men and women from our nation's capital took home the silver medal along with $2,000 Bemley Scholarships!

  3. BDPA Chicago - This is the only team in the past five years to beat Southern Minnesota for the championship .... they won it all in 2006. For the second year in a row, the young students from the Windy City are bringing home the HSCC bronze medal and $1,500 Bemley Scholarships.

  4. BDPA Northern Virginia - This chapter participated in the national HSCC for the first time ever. They came correct! Their fourth place finish earned each member of the team a $1,000 Bemley Scholarship.

  5. BDPA Atlanta - How cool is it to be the host chapter of the annual conference and also have high school students winning $500 Bemley Scholarships! That is the experience of the team from Hotlanta this year.

Have you watched or worked with the HSCC program this year or at some point in the past? Care to share your observations on the HSCC program or these remarkable students? What say u?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

BDPA St. Louis Wins T-Shirt Design Contest

An optional component of the 23rd annual BDPA High School Computer Competition (HSCC) is the T-shirt design contest. The teams have an opportunity to show their creative side by designing a t-shirt that includes the conference theme.

Danna Sturdivant, HSCC coordinator, announced that BDPA St. Louis chapter won this contest for the 2nd year in a row. BDPA Twin Cities (2nd place) and BDPA New Jersey (3rd place) showed their creative side as well in this design contest.

Here is the front and back of the winning design from our St. Louis chapter.

Friday, August 8, 2008

7 Great Reasons to be a BDPA Member!

I have been a BDPA member since 1988. Currently, I serve as the executive director of the BDPA Education & Technology Foundation. We are trying to raise $2,000,000 for our Bemley Scholarship Fund and another $5,000,000 for our Endowment Fund.

Charity begins at home.

I am hopeful that all BDPA members or supporters reading this post will take a moment to make a tax-deductible donation. Your donation demonstrates your commitment to our non-profit organization.

After all, ain't it great to be a BDPA member? Here are 7 great reasons to be a BDPA member:
  1. Impact - Be part of a national movement and make a difference in the lives of African American IT professionals as we work together to create diverse work environments and supportive communities.
  2. Leadership - Advance your career by building leadership skills from people who care about your future. Participate in volunteer opportunities that match your professional goals and strengthen your existing skills.
  3. Networking - Exchange ideas, share common goals and explore opportunities with African American IT professionals across the nation. Connect with mentors, colleagues, entrepreneurs and senior level managers that can assist you in advancing your career.
  4. Youth Education - Help in the educational and professional development of BDPA student members through our mentoring and SITES programs.
  5. Career Enhancement - Participate in programs and certification courses that are designed to advance your career. Gain access to the BDPA Career Center or the BDPA IT Institute to upgrade your position or skills.

  6. Benefits & Discounts - Receive discounts on computer equipment, business services, telecommunications, car rentals and hotel rooms! Also, complimentary subscriptions to major magazines and much more.
  7. Extensive Information Network - Obtain quick and easy access to relevant up-to-date information about topics essential for advancing the careers of African American IT professionals.

Feel free to ask for more details on any of these 7 benefits. You can join or renew your BDPA membership here.

Also, I truly hope that you took time to make your tax-deductible donation!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

BDPA Conference: Chapter Award Winners

BDPA handed out chapter awards at the Opening Ceremony sponsored by Johnson & Johnson. The awards presented to chapters that demonstrated excellence in the area of Professional Development, Membership, Community Service and Chapter Management.

And the winners are:

Professional Development Award * Cincinnati
L-R: Gina Billings, Denise Holland, Milt Haynes
Membership - Richmond
L-R: Norman Mays, Annette Yates, TBD, Denise Holland, Earl Pace

Community Service - Chicago
L-R: Norman Mays, Rhonda Boyd, Yvette Graham, Denise Holland, Milt Haynes

Chapter Management - Philadelphia
L-R: Earl Pace, Curtis Jenkins, Monique Berry, Denise Holland, Milt Haynes

Take a moment to share some love in the COMMENTS section for each of these award winning chapters!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

BDPA Conference: Compuware Reception

Compuware sponsored the Opening Ceremonies reception this evening. Over 250 people demonstrated the concept of 'power networking' at this event. Lori Walker, Compuware's global diversity officer and Anquanette Clegg, Compuware associate and BDPA Detroit chapter president greeted everyone as they entered into the reception area.

Earl Pace (founder), Norman Mays (past national president) and Dr. Jesse Bemley (IT Showcase coordinator) were networking hard in the reception.

The only HSCC students in attendance were those from BDPA Detroit chapter. They took advantage of the opportunity to thank Compuware executives and associates in person for the financial support that got them to Atlanta.

I had opportunity to talk with Compuware president/COO Bob Paul about the strength of the realtionship between BDPA and Compuware. My understanding is that Compuware as invested more in BDPA over the course of our existence than any other corporation in the universe. As such, we were pleased that Mr. Paul was able to fly in this evening to address the audience.

Mr. Paul came to the podium after a video presentation showing the evolution of Compuware into its current-state as a worldwide leader in the IT industry. Mr. Paul emphasized two major realities that we face in the IT industry.
  1. First, he noted the declining number of college graduates from North America with degrees in the technology, computer science or related industries. Many college students worry that IT jobs are going offshore and that fear contributes to less students in this critical field of study.

  2. Second, he pointed out that the curriculum being taught in North America at our high schools and colleges as it relates to technology and computer science does not adequately match up with the needs of Corporate America
Mr. Paul noted that Compuware plans to hire 1,000 IT professionals over the next year. He looks forward to seeing BDPA conference participants at the Compuware career fair booth later this week.

Finally, he concluded by thanking BDPA for the continued work that is done with training high school students, mentoring college students, and providing professional development opportunities for IT professionals.

Personally, I hope that we are able to see Compuware featured prominently at the 2009 BDPA Technology Conference that will be held in Raleigh, NC. I would love to see Mr. Paul and his boss, Peter Karmanos giving keynotes!

Raffle winners at the Compuware Reception were Michael Williams (BDPA New Jersey) and Anthony Garrett-Leverette (BDPA Detroit).

BDPA Conference: Kraft Foods Youth Technology Camp Luncheon

The 8th annual Youth Technology Camp (YTC) Luncheon sponsored by Kraft Foods was a resounding success. Capacity audience for the food, speeches and treasure hunt!

Mildred Allen, YTC Coordinator, gave tribute to John Harris for his personal support over the past 8 years to the Youth Technology Camp.

John Harris is Kraft's Global Information Systems manager. He noted that this is the 8th year in a row that Kraft Foods sponsored the opening day student luncheon. He is very proud of the association. It would be great for some of the YTC participants from the past 8 years to share some love for John in the COMMENTS section of this post.

Anyhow, John introduced the luncheon's keynote speaker, Markell Bridges. Markell is Kraft's IS Strategy Planning & Operations director. The brother noted that he graduated from high school 25 years ago ... and at the time of his graduation he had a small fraction of the information and tools available to students today.

Many of the people in the room cannot remember what is was like back in the day when we didn't have cellphones, IPods, MP3 players, Internet, personal computers, laptops and so forth

Markell remembers that his favorite television show back in the day was 'Get Smart'. He used to love the mobile phone in Maxwell Smart. That was the future. Fast forward to 2008 ... Over 40% of the world’s population carries a telephone. More than twice as many as own television. More than 3 times the number connected to the Internet.

He thinks it is important to continue to advance into the future with the abundance of information and technology available to youth today. He encouraged the young people to take advantage of the technology.

He focused on the power of mobile technology for personal shopping, geographic location, use to get real-time product reviews and such; scan barcodes using your mobile phone; use to enhance personal safety; convert text information into voice information for seniors or visually-impaired people. These are ideas about the future…

He hammered home the use of the mobile phone to solve issues at work on a local or global basis … or to keep in touch with photos and messages from family members.

What are tomorrow’s technology? What role will young people play in future of technology … you are creating your history, what do you want it to look like? Learn a foreign language was one of the tips he shared with the students.

Markel shared his personal bio. He grew up in single-family household on the south side of Chicago. He wanted to learn how to use technology. He made choices that allowed him to follow towards that future.

He closed out his remarks with six strategies the young people should consider as they move towards their future:

  1. Strive for success - You must not JUST PAST the test; ACE the test. Always do your best. Do not settle for being average. It requires study, reading and exercising your mind.

  2. Persistence: stay focused and never give up! Do not let laziness and procrastination. Do it now!

  3. Honesty – Do what is right for you and those around you. What makes you a good person…morals and character.

  4. Use Good Judgement – the choices you make today have influence on the rest of your lives. Surround yourself with others that have good judement. Who you associate with becomes who you are.

  5. Create Energy – have fire in your stomach, passion in your heart. Create energy with positive attitude.

  6. Do Not Let Anyone Deter You from Your Dreams: get link to the ‘A Friend’ poem about you cannot do it now…

The audience of students, coordinators and chaperones were very appreciative of the remarks from Markell.

Next to the podium with words of encouragement from National BDPA president Denise Holland. Denise demonstrated her skills with the French language while recognizing Kraft Foods for being a BDPA silver-level corporate sponsor.

The luncheon ended with a massive Kraft Foods treasure hunt. Literally hundreds of Kraft products were on display in the front of the room. An adult and student member from each BDPA chapter were invited to the front table. They were allowed go grab as much as they could hold and take it back to their tablemates. I was amazed at how many potato chips, nuts, crackers, fruit juice pouches and other Kraft products could be carried by these happy BDPAers!

Grant Recipient: BDPA Richmond ($3,900)

The BDPA Foundation approved $ 3,900 grant funding to BDPA Richmond chapter. The funds will support participation for chapter HSCC students, chaperones and coordinator at the national competition in Atlanta, GA on August 8-9, 2008.

This request was supported by funding from Bank of America.

Right now we need others to step-up and make tax-deductible donations to the BDPA Foundation so that we might continue to fund these programs in the future. It is important for us to have funds necessary to advance the careers of African Americans in the IT industry from the 'classroom to the boardroom'.

Please make a small donation right now!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

BDPA Conference: Nat'l Board of Directors Meeting

Day 1 - National BDPA Board of Directors (NBOD) meeting held all day. NBOD membership includes 50 chapter presidents and a dozen elected or appointed officers make up the NBOD. This is policy making body for the organization. Morning sessions focused on finance and business management.

Abe Joseph, Nat'l BDPA VP-Finance ran the numbers for the board. Indications are that the conference will be financially success!

Yvette Graham, Nat'l BDPA President-Elect provided an update on her business area using the balanced scorecard metrics. Focus of her presentation dealt with national website, branding excellence and corporate sales. Yvette agreed to take on responsibility for the 2009 conference operations and national headquarters operations.

The NBOD luncheon sponsored by Electronic Data Systems (EDS). The guest speaker was Ron Griggs. He is an executive with 27-years of experience in the IT industry. He is the executive at the company responsible for the funding of EDS' Silver-level sponsorship. The sponsorship included conference registrations and corporate memberships for 30 EDS associates. Ron shared some insights on career growth and based on his personal experiences at IBM, EDS and elsewhere. He made a number of observations including:
  • complete college degree
  • be willing to accept laterals or pay cut to gain necessary experience
  • be willing to relocate if necessary
  • be willing to tackle difficult jobs at your company
  • critical to have balance in life (family, career, health, relationship and so forth)
  • important to get a mentor (e.g., his mentor gave him tips on getting exposure in his company that helped get him into the executive level at his company)
  • be prepared; prepare yourself
  • stay cool under pressure
  • keep things under perspective
  • whereever you are ... be there! Don't focus on future goals at the exclusion of delivering outstanding performance at your current position

The Q&A session was very active. Ron discussed EDS buyout by HP, mentor vs. coach, suggestion for improving BDPA and much more. He provide some good reminders on things to consider for career growth and advancement.

I lost wireless access in the afternoon. There were excellent presentations made by Kimberly Davis (VP-Member Services), Eatonia Williams (VP-Membership Management), Paulette Johnson-Davis (Chapter President Liaison) and Denise Holland (National President). The meeting adjourned with much information and camraderie. I do have .ppt version of all the presentations given at the NBOD meeting today. Respond in the COMMENTS section if you want copy of any particular presentation.

I hope that we can get wireless connection available for tomorrow! In the meantime, I invite you to follow our conference updates on Twitter as well.