Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: 2007 BDPA Chapter of the Year (Philadelphia)

SOURCE: BDPA Foundation Flickr Photostream

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

2012 BDPA Conference Review by Alphonse Porter (Atlanta)

2012 National BDPA Conference:
A Rookie’s Experience

Alphonse Porter
A lot of time has passed since the last time I went to a conference. But years ago, I attended a conference multiple times a year. This year I decided to attend the annual National BDPA Technology Conference for the first time ever. Baltimore was the host city this year, with the conference being held at the beautiful Hilton Baltimore, located across the street from the historic Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles.

The opening presentation was given by Wal-Mart senior vice president of IT strategic services Ben Hasan. Mr. Hasan had a very inspirational story. He dropped out of college and was raising a family. Hasan was being generous to a friend and was helping her with school. As a result of his generosity, the friend decided to help Hasan return to college. Mr. Hasan is now a leading executive with Wal-Mart.

Tom Hempfield
The second morning session was a presentation of “How Emerging Technology is Changing the World” by HP executive Tom Hempfield. The interesting concept regarding this presentation was how servers are used differently. There is so much data being created, minute by minute, that speed and a large space are essential in today’s world. Being able to use multiple servers gives IT professionals the ability to effectively analyze that data. This gives companies the benefit of being able to predict trends in market area. This concept is often called “Big Data”. After these wonderful presentations, it was time for lunch.

The afternoon session kept up the momentum of interesting presentations. The first presentation was 'Word Press: Not Just for Blogging Anymore'. My thoughts prior to this presentation were that Word Press was mainly for blogging websites. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Word Press can be used to develop a technology advanced website. A huge selling point with developing in Word Press is that there are plugins that enhances the website dramatically. The features available with Word Press are beyond amazing.

The second workshop that I attended in the afternoon was 'Managing Your Digital Footprint'. The main idea behind this workshop was that by managing your digital footprint, you can secure yourself in the digital world. This workshop did a great job of scaring me into paranoia. It opened my eyes to the fact that nothing really is safe. You still have to be proactive with your security.

During the evening, everyone was invited to meet the National BDPA Leadership Team. The Leadership team was very accommodating and welcoming. Everyone was also very encouraging when discussing technical skills and careers. The first day definitely had a lasting impression.

The second day started off with a demo of 'Creating Visualizations with the Google API' by Yolanda Davis. This workshop stood out because the attendees were actually able to program. All you heard throughout half of the workshop was the pressing of keys. The workshop was very interactive. I hope this type of workshop happens at every conference.

The next workshop I attended was 'Mobile-First Responsive Web Design' by Rudy Duke. This workshop focused on emerging technology. Mr. Duke did another wonderful job explaining that web design has changed. In the past, websites were seen on monitors; however, that has changed with the increasing popularity of smart phones and tablets. If you’re planning a website you have to cater to these mobile devices. I’m thankful I attended both of Mr. Duke’s workshops. I will definitely use his ideas for future web development.

Another workshop I attended called 'Does IT Certification Matter?' addressed an issue I had been wrestling with for the past couple of years. The panel consisted of three experts in the field of Program Management. They gave very passionate arguments on both sides of the issue. I actually can understand both sides, but I do agree with the side that certifications do matter. The reason being is that there are times that a HR rep will require a certification and not having a certification, will limit your options.

2012 HSCC Champions
The banquet was magnificent. There were some great speakers, but what stood out to me were the High School Computer Competition kids. These kids were very impressive. All of the kids were very competitive and bright. I wish I would have had the same type of contest available to me in high school. The skills the kids are learning will help them to not only do well in college, but look enticing to any IT company’s internship programs. Everyone was on pins and needles waiting to find out who won the competition. I’m pleased to say that Atlanta’s chapter won for the first time ever in history of the competition. The kids received scholarship money, as well as, brand new laptops.

I had a great time at the national conference. The workshops and networking opportunities were topnotch. I encourage everyone to attend this conference to advance their professional development. I definitely plan on being in Washington, D.C. in 2013.

Alphonse Porter, VP-Technology
BDPA Atlanta Chapter

Monday, October 29, 2012

President Profile: Kae Watson (BDPA Hampton Roads)

One of the greatest benefits of BDPA membership is in the area of leadership development. We provide IT professionals with the opportunity to flex their leadership muscles as committee chairs, department directors and ultimately as chapter presidents. This blog is pleased to introduce you to the new chapter president of our BDPA Hampton Roads Chapter -- Kae Watson! Kae will serve as the president for this Virginia-based chapter for 2012-2013.

Favorite Scripture: "Deliver me and rescue me from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful." ~ Psalms 144:11

Kae was born in Richmond, Virginia as the only child of two esteemed educators and military retirees. She is described by those who know her intellectually inspirational, musically gifted, dynamically driven, and creatively unexplainable – a mogul. Kae graduated from North Carolina A&T State University (Class of 1999, Mechanical Engineering). She is currently pursuing a masters in Psychology from the University of Phoenix. Kae is a long-time member of BDPA, American Society of Mechanical Engineers and National Society of Black Engineers. Her corporate career has been focused in the engineering & telecommunications industry.

Favorite Quote: "...impress by the power of our example; not by the example of our power." ~ Bill Clinton

Kae also gave of her time, talent and energy to other areas of interest such as marketing, promotions, entertainment and community development. She spent a number of years working in radio and broadcasting for both Radio One and Clear Channel. At one point she owned a multimedia promotions and marketing company -- Xpect Xsilence Music Group. Today, Kae is the founder and chief executive officer of Black Card Bound.

Motto: "Say what you mean ... mean what you say." ~ Kae Watson

BDPA Hampton Roads is blessed to have Kae Watson coming on-board as its chapter president. She will use resourcefulness, charismatic personality, experience, talents, and energy along with creative - innovative - next era thinking to uplift the fortunes of the young chapter. We look forward to seeing the community development and technology initiatives implemented by Kae and her BDPA leadership team over the coming weeks and months.

You can reach Kae by email or phone (804.677-3579).   We also encourage you to take a moment to reply to this blog post with your comments and good wishes for Kae Watson!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

This Week in BDPA (Oct 28 - Nov 3)

BDPA offers strong programs in 45 cities around the nation. Are you taking advantage of these programs? Here is a weekly preview of upcoming events gathered from the centralized BDPA calendar :
Please let us know of other BDPA events that we may have missed!

You can always find BDPA programs, services or networking activity online at places such as:
BDPA supports your efforts for career advancement in the IT industry. Our hope is that you find reasons to provide tax-deductible support to our Causes, our HSCC Scholarship Funds or Your Causes!

We encourage all BDPA leaders to take advantage of the centralized BDPA Groupsite Calendar to post your upcoming events!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Minority Technical Organizations Join Together to Enhance STEM Opportunities

Did you know that there are more than 40 minority technical organizations (MTOs) working independent of each other on initiatives to diversify the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce? These groups represent a large segment of the demographics of the next generation of scientists, technologists and engineers. Unfortunately, these MTOs are unable to fully implement their mission because too often they are underfunded and are not recognized as full partners in the national STEM effort.

As a result, we are very happy to report that representatives from a number of these MTOs held a luncheon meeting in Washington DC on September 24, 2012. At the conclusion of their summit the MTOs agreed to work together to strengthen their influence on STEM development and to help each other more effectively reach mutual goals and objectives.

The organizations at this meeting included:
  1. American Association of Blacks in Energy
  2. Latino Scientists & Engineers
  3. National BDPA
  4. National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers
  5. National Organization of Minority Architects
  6. National Society of Black Engineers
  7. National Society of Black Physicists
  8. National Technical Association
  9. Society for Advance of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science
  10. Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
The MTOs agreed to work collaboratively on ways to push forward the agenda for STEM development that would positively impact on people of color. Some of the ideas that came forward were:
  • Combine expertise to support projects of mutual interests and benefit;
  • Collaborate on outreach and marketing activities;
  • Meet at least annually to discuss and select collaborative activities;
  • Pursue collaborative strategies that strengthen the MTO influence on STEM development;
  • Share their common interests and support each other's mission, purpose and activities through information exchange using various communications media;
  • Unite their voice to support STEM policies that promote diversification of STEM and to oppose policies that hinder diversification.

I think that it is wonderful that these groups are finding ways to work together. Kudos to National BDPA president Monique Berry and vice president Craig Brown for representing BDPA at this event.

If you're reading this blog post ... then we would love your thoughts. Are you part of any of these MTOs? Do you have other suggestions for them to consider?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Overview - BDPA Washington DC (2012)

BDPA Washington DC chapter president Perry Carter is understandably proud of the community outreach initiatives put in place this year. He shared a 20-page deck that I thought would be of interest to many of our blog-readers.

This is the type of publication we would love to see created to document successes and progress for BDPA all around the nation. What did you think about this BDPA Washington DC community outreach overview?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Take Five: Jeffry Kimble (BDPA New York)

BDPA New York is the 2-time defending 'BDPA Chapter of the Year' because of its demonstrated excellence in delivering programs, scholarships and services to its stakeholders over the past two years. The untold story of this remarkable local chapter is a quiet leader named Jeffry Kimble. Jeffry served as president for more years (2000-2005) than anyone else in the 30 year history of BDPA New York chapter.

I served with Jeffry during the six years he was on the national BDPA board of directors. I always admired him because he came prepared and he was willing to roll up his sleeves and do the work. In his corporate career Jeffry is an experienced Capacity Planner with a record of innovation who is known for versatile performance resulting in enhanced organizational effectiveness.

This blog was pleased when Jeff (Twitter: @jeffryk) agreed to be part of our 'Take Five' Interview Series!

  1. How did you get involved with BDPA? - I was invited to participate early in my career by a co-worker. She was was one of three African Americans at a fortune 100 company working in 'data processing' (now called 'information technology'). Her IT career was a beacon for many of us because she wasn't relegated to working at the Help Desk or in the print pool or the tape library. Anyhow, she was a member of the Northern New Jersey Chapter when I joined BDPA in 1984. The chapter used to meet in East Orange, New Jersey during those days.
  2. What is your favorite part of working with BDPA? - There is a tremendous diversity of experiences among BDPA members. This allowed me to live one of BDPA's earliest themes, 'Growth through Professional Association'. I have met people who helped me shape my career. It is through BDPA program meetings that I learned about a wide range of technologies that enabled me to excel with new job responsibilities in comparison to my co-workers who were not BDPA members.
  3. What future evolution or change would you like to see in BDPA? - BDPA has to embrace newer technologies sooner. I would like to see local chapters aggressively embrace new technology. History has shown over and over how early adopters of technology have been rewarded. Second, the organization needs to do more to recognize BDPA members. Finally I think that BDPA can do more to encourage mobile application development ... why not hold a contest?
  4. Why should someone pay $100 membership dues to join BDPA? - This $100 is a tiny amount to pay in comparison for the opportunities offered by BDPA membership. One year of program meetings hosted by our BDPA New York chapter is intellectually equivalent to a 3-credit college level course in IT. BDPA provides face-to-face networking opportunities ... not just links on a website. Members get the opportunity to develop skills in leadership roles. This prepares them for future advancement within their career paths.
  5. Any advice for people considering a donation to the BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF)? - We have to invest in our own future. The High School Computer Competition (HSCC) students of today will be the innovators and employers of tomorrow.

I encourage you to share your thoughts, insights or comments on Jeffry's 'Take Five' interview. Another way to honor Jeffry is to make a secure online donation in support of college scholarships for BDPA New York HSCC students.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Message from BDPA Atlanta Chapter President

Year of Atlanta (YOA); Making History!

We kicked off the third quarter making history at the National BDPA Conference in Baltimore, MD. I am very honored and proud to announce the BDPA Atlanta High School Computer Competition (HSCC) Team won 1st Place in the 2012 national HSCC championship!

Our students made several historical moments with this win. In the 27 years of the competition, the first time
  • Atlanta has won 1st place,
  • a team received a perfect score on programming,
  • a person has won 1st place as a student and a coordinator; Wesley Williams!

On behalf of the Student Program of BDPA Atlanta and the entire BDPA Atlanta chapter, I would like to thank everyone for their support because you helped to make this possible. Our sponsors and individual donors were instrumental in our students attending the national competition this year. The chapter looks forward to everyone’s continued support in the upcoming years.

Felicia Jones

We continued making history by continuing to provide more webinars than any other chapter. In this quarter, we provided webinars on 3FE, Entrepreneurship, Software Engineering in Aerospace, The State of BDPA, and HSCC-Recap of 2012 National Conference. Attendees learned how to: Lock That Job with using the 3FE approach with Derrick Brown; Start and maintain an IT business and determining if entrepreneurship is really for them with Chiadi Obi; develop software in safety critical systems like an airplane with Alphonse Porter; The Atlanta Leadership Team also presented The State of BDPA, a mid-year year in review, openly discussing our roadmap, accomplishments, and failures; and the instructors, volunteers, parents and students of the HSCC team discussed their experiences at the 2012 National BDPA Conference. At our monthly program meeting in September, we continued to educate our members and future members on Big Data with Dr. Craig Brown leading an informative lecture and discussion on the trend of interacting with big data in the IT world.

Macy's Systems & Technology gave everyone an opportunity to wind down by sponsoring a Summer Mixer at Abbotts Old Towne Tavern & Grill. We had a great evening of networking. Our members and guests also had the opportunity to 'give back' through our community outreach event, by donating back-to-school supplies and providing canned food for The Bridge Builders & Norcross Co-op organizations. Our outreach in the community continued as we got “down and dirty" at Atlanta Community Food Bank’s community garden. The Food Bank supports a wide range of people in need, from children to the working poor. Food pantries,community kitchens, childcare centers, night shelters, and senior centers are among the agencies that receive products from the organization; and provide food and other critical resources for low-income Georgians who suffer from hunger and food insecurity.

Our final historical moment was when Next Level Technology Foundation hosted the inaugural Black IT Executive Forum as a fundraising event for BDPA - HSCC. The event was the first of its kind in Atlanta, focusing on senior African American IT professionals and their journey to their current roles. The panelists were Monique Berry (President, NBDPA), Michael Fisher (SVP, Ceridian), Derek Johnson (CIO, SED International), Curtis Rawlings (Interim CIO, DeKalb County), Darius Jackson Ryals (GVP, Wyndham Worldwide), Lee Scott (VP,Macy’s Systems & Technology) and moderated by Mike Williams (SVP. FIS & Director, BDPA South Region); they served as mentors and inspirations. The event raised $2,700; $1,400 for BDPA and $1,300 for HSCC.

I know I wrote in the paragraph above ‘final historical moment’, but if you don’t know anything about the Atlanta Leadership team, please know this: Nothing is EVER ‘final’ with us. Besides, we have another quarter to go ... YOA!

Felicia Jones, President
BDPA Atlanta Chapter

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

BDPA iRadio Show: October 23, 2012

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) is very proud to be the creator of the BDPA iRadio Show. The show on October 23rd is the 37th episode of the our Internet Radio Show that began last summer. You can listen to the archive version of the show using the widget shown in the right-hand sidebar of this blog. FREE download from the iTunes Store is also available for our listeners!

Listen to internet radio with BDPA on Blog Talk Radio

The guests on the October 23rd show:
Dr. Craig Brown - Vice President, National BDPA - Dr. Craig Brown was elected to be National BDPA Vice President (2012-2013). He works in tandem with our national president Monique Berry and the various regional officers to take BDPA to the next level. Dr. Brown has a 24 year career serving as an expert systems and database architect within leading technologies like Oracle, Oracle-PeopleSoft, SAP, IBM and Microsoft. His experiences are more particular to the Enterprise Resource Planning, Decision Support and Relational Database Management Systems technologies. He earned over 20 certifications within these technological areas and currently provides implementation and integration expertise along with a variety of other technological disciplines. He holds a BS in Computer Science as well as a Master's in Business and a Doctorate in Management Information Systems. Dr. Brown should be able to share with our iRadio Show audience his vision for the future of BDPA. His twitter handle is @CraigBrownPHD

Perry Carter - Chapter President, BDPA Washington DC - Perry Carter is one of the longest-tenured BDPA members in the country. He was a co-founder of a BDPA college chapter on the Temple campus many years ago. Perry came back to be a leader in our Washington DC area after serving in the military and building his career in Corporate America. For many years he was a publisher of BDPA magazines and newsletters. Over the past 3 years he served as BDPA Washington DC chapter. His chapter is working with National BDPA to host the 35th annual BDPA Technology Conference on August 14-17, 2013. We look forward to hearing his story on the BDPA iRadio Show. His twitter handle is @BDPADC  

Jackie Johnson - Information Security Director, Procter & Gamble - Jackie is one of the highest ranking Black women in the information security field. She is responsible for global information security at Procter & Gamble – reporting directly to the company’s chief information officer. Jackie is a past member of the BDPA Cincinnati chapter and currently is active within the Information Technology Senior Management Forum. She is an inspiration and role model for many in our organization and our industry. We look forward to hearing her story on the BDPA iRadio Show. Her company's twitter handle is @ProcterGamble

We hope you enjoy the insights and commentary on the show from each of these guests. Please take a moment to post a comment to let us know that you care!

Monday, October 22, 2012

BDPA Offers 540 IT Job Openings and a Webinar to Solve Your Resume Dilemma

Thinking about your information technology career? There are 540 job openings currently available through the new BDPA Job Board – Upload your current resume and view career opportunities from all regions of the nation. Upward mobility is in your future. Share this information with any IT professionals that you know who are unemployed or under-employed. Sign up today or learn more.

Are you interested in how to gain experience, revamp your resume, and market yourself so you can land a job in IT? Join BDPA for our upcoming Real Talk webinar on building up your resume.

BDPA Atlanta is offering a webinar entitled ‘The Resume Dilemma: Not Enough Experience’ by Jacqueline K. Sanders on Thursday October 25, 2012 @ 7pm EDT. This webinar will focus on tips for building up your resume so that you can land a job in the IT field. Attend this webinar on 'cracking the code' to getting a job in IT. This webinar is about applying the ‘experience factor’, seeing results and making it work for you.

BDPA exists to advance the careers of African Americans and others in the IT industry from the classroom to the boardroom. Your action is simple – (a) upload your resume to our new BDPA Job Board and (b) register to attend the webinar later this week!

Feel free to reach out to BDPA by phone (301.584-3135) or email ( if you have questions or wish to discuss further!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

This Week in BDPA (Oct 21-27)

BDPA offers strong programs in 45 cities around the nation. Are you taking advantage of these programs? Here is a weekly preview of upcoming events gathered from the centralized BDPA calendar :
Please let us know of other BDPA events that we may have missed!

You can always find BDPA programs, services or networking activity online at places such as:
BDPA supports your efforts for career advancement in the IT industry. Our hope is that you find reasons to provide tax-deductible support to our Causes, our HSCC Scholarship Funds or Your Causes!

We encourage all BDPA leaders to take advantage of the centralized BDPA Groupsite Calendar to post your upcoming events!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

BDPA Member Insights About

A brand new BDPA Job Board - - is now open and ready for business! We would love to hear what job seekers and recruiters have to say about this new job board.

One of the first to share her review of this new member service is Portia Westbrooks. Portia is a BDPA Chicago chapter member and a recruiting and diversity consultant. You can follow Portia on Twitter: @IT-Head_Hunter1. She wrote:

Portia Westbrooks
National BDPA’s ITDiversityCareers is an excellent job resource connecting IT professionals with employers. Job seekers can search nationwide for technology careers in many sectors. BDPA is recognized as the premier organization for African American information technology professionals. Corporate Sponsors ranging from entrepreneurial start-ups to 'Fortune 100' corporations post job opportunities regularly and have access to a resume database of diverse technical talent. The number of job postings and resumes are continuing to grow.

The site is user friendly and registration is quick & easy. Even the most passive job seeker can have jobs meeting their search criteria created by My Job Search Agents, e-mailed to them or sent via RSS feed. The same person can post their resume “anonymously” and Recruiters can easily find them while sourcing resumes.

More active job seekers may want to utilize tools available to stay organized by tracking saved jobs and their job application history. The candidate dashboard is simple to navigate. There is even a function to add a photo to your profile if you wish!

Employers and IT professionals are successfully connecting using ITDiversityCareers. It is a benefit of BDPA membership that is shared with ALL technology professionals. Login or Create new Account today.

Have you had a chance to visit the new BDPA Job Board yet? If so, would you like to share your insights or review with us?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Take Five: Dwana Franklin-Davis (BDPA St. Louis)

I met Dwana Franklin-Davis at the 2012 BDPA Technology Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. She is the president-elect for BDPA St. Louis and she is on fire about the prospects for her chapter. Dwana is a manager with MasterCard Worldwide. She agreed to share her thoughts as part of our 'Take Five' interview series:

  1. How did you get involved with BDPA? - I joined BDPA as a student member of the Chicago Chapter while pursuing my undergraduate degree at Purdue University in computer science. I was not able to participate in the programming events of the chapter since I was away at school, but was excited to see the benefits and opportunities that were available to minorities in information technology through the chapter. I joined the St. Louis Chapter in 2009, and was elected to the Executive Vice President position in 2012.
  2. What is your favorite part of working with BDPA? - I have many favorite parts about working with BDPA. Being part of the executive team of the St. Louis Chapter has given me the opportunity to continue to grow and enhance my leadership skills outside of the work place. In addition, I have the opportunity to create programming opportunities to enhance the professional, technical and leaderships skills of the membership. Likewise, I have increased my professional network, not just in St. Louis, but also nationally through my active participation in the local Chapter and at the national conference.
  3. What future evolution or change would you like to see in BDPA? - I would be interested in seeing more student presence at the college level. Whether it be student chapters or an easier connection for college students to local chapters, I think increased opportunity would benefit both BDPA and our future IT leaders.
  4. Why should someone pay $100 membership dues to join BDPA? - BDPA offers a wealth of opportunities to the Black IT professional. Whether someone is interested in developing or enhancing their skills, networking with other IT professionals and executives, or contributing to STEM education through philanthropic endeavors, BDPA is the premiere organization for Blacks in IT.
  5. Any advice for people considering a donation to the BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF)? - The need to bridge the digital divide for Blacks “from the classroom to the boardroom” still exists. It’s United Way At-Work Campaign time, so remember to select BETF as your donation designation.

The BDPA Education and Technology Foundation seeks to raise $5,000 in college scholarships for the HSCC team trained by BDPA St. Louis chapter
. Please make a small donation in support of our cause!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Grant Disbursement: BDPA Detroit ($650)

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation approved a $650 grant request from BDPA Detroit chapter. Chapter president Beverly Moore and chapter VP-Finance Loraine Stewart-David submitted the formal request for funding with the following explanation:
"Once a year, the HSCC coordinators have a planning meeting to guide the direction of the High School Computer Competition (HSCC) program locally and nationally. This funding will allow our chapter to have input in the discussions on direction and changes for the HSCC program."
This grant disbursement will ensure that the chapter HSCC coordinator Tonji Zimmerman will be in Orlando next month for the annual meeting.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

EdLab Group

The EdLab Group is a private, non-profit center with funding from federal and state governments, private foundations, corporations, and individuals. Our mission is to leverage the power of technology and diversity to transform teaching and learning.

For more information about the EdLab Group, visit their website:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Take Five: Sharrarne Morton (BDPA Washington DC)

Many have argued that BDPA is the 'best kept secret' in the IT industry and within the Black community. Few have taken steps to shine the light on BDPA programs and services as well as Sharrarne Morton. Sharrarne began her BDPA career as a media manager for our local BDPA chapter in Washington DC. She supported the creation of a television show, 'Popular Technology' featuring local and national BDPA executives. BDPA is looking for corporate sponsorship to produce over a dozen episodes of that television show in 2013. Sharrarne is a faculty member at Prince George's Community College as well as the owner of her own company, Morton Media.

Sharrarne demonstrated her masterful public relations and marketing skills as the 'mistress of ceremonies' for the 2012 National BDPA Technology Conference held earlier this year in Baltimore.

We asked Sharrarne to share her insights as part of our 'Take Five' Interview Series.

Here is what she had to say:

  1. How did you get involved with BDPA? - I was introduced to BDPA by Perry Carter. He was at an event that I was hosting to celebrate the kickoff of a new show that I was executive producing called, "It Takes A Village." He told me about the BDPA organization and asked if I would be interested in interviewing a few BDPA members for the show. I told him that I would. Shortly thereafter, I invited BDPA Past President Gina Billings and Tec-Masters CEO Marvin Carroll as guests on the show. I've been involved with BDPA ever since!
  2. What do you see as the biggest benefit of your BDPA membership? - The biggest benefit of my BDPA membership is being exposed to some of the best and brightest African Americans in the country. I'm not a techie, so I was unfamiliar with the STEM world and the role that African Americans play within STEM. And, unfortunately, there are no news shows that highlight the incredible things that African Americans are doing in STEM. Thankfully, BDPA has exposed my family and I to a whole new world of Black scientists, chemists, engineers and mathematicians. Now, both of my children want to major in a STEM field when they go to college. I have also exposed my English and journalism students to the STEM world. It's been a win-win!
  3. What future evolution or change would you like to see in BDPA? - I would like to see BDPA increase student membership and do more to increase awareness for students who may not be majoring in STEM, but whose field will eventually coincide with STEM, e.g., media and technology. Many students (and people in general) are intimidated by STEM. Perhaps BDPA can implement programs that will help lessen the "scare of math and science" for students, and in turn, increase student membership.
  4. What would you like Corporate America to know about BDPA? - I would like Corporate America to know that BDPA is the best place from which to recruit and hire the best workforce in the world.
  5. Any advice for people considering a donation to the BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF)? - My advice would be that if you want the best return on your investment (ROI), as well as a sound investment in the future of our children and their success, a donation to the BDPA Education and Technology Foundation beats any stock or bond, hands down!

Please contact us by email ( if you want to learn more about being a sponsor for the Popular Technology television show! Also, feel free to reply to this post if you have anything you want to say to (or about) Sharrarne's interview.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bemley Scholar Malik Swanson Heads to Chicago State University for Computer Science Degree

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) is providing a scholarship for Malik Swanson to complete his computer science degree at Chicago State University. Malik graduated high school from the Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center in Chicago. He is a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha, which is a community service organization. Also, he is employed as a webmaster by High Infidelity Media and as an IT support assistant on his college campus.

We asked Malik to share his thoughts about his BDPA experience. Here is what he had to say:

My name is Malik Swanson and I am a member of the BDPA Chicago Chapter. I graduated in 2010 from Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center. Currently, I am a student at Chicago State University, majoring in Computer Science. I originally attended Northern Michigan University, but transferred to CSU in the summer of 2012. Also, I am a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, which is a community service organization. In addition, I am employed as a Webmaster for High Infidelity Media and an IT Support Assistant at CSU.

My most memorable High School Computer Competition (HSCC) moment is when the BDPA Chicago HSCC team won third place at the 2010 National BDPA HSCC Championship in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The BDPA Chicago HSCC team took eighth place in the previous year. I did not make that team. However, I made the team in 2010 as a high school senior. My teammates (Desmond Jones, Bernard Dickens, Ismail Zeyneli and Byron Wooden) and I went to the 2010 HSCC championship determined to win first place. Unfortunately, my team took third place.

I’m now in college and completing my undergraduate education is my primary goal and objective. I am always trying to find ways to network, and find the right mentors to assist me in my goals. I continue to connect with the right mentors and network with IT professionals as I pursue upon my undergraduate degree. This accomplishment will ensure that I can live a better life and have a bright future. I will be one step closer in reaching my ultimate professional goals as becoming a chief information officer of a fortune 500 company once I graduate from Chicago State University with a degree in computer science.

I am looking forward to the upcoming academic school year in college. I have a full load on my plate in life right now as I juggle a full time school work load and two part time jobs. However, I am blessed because I have the full support of family and they are always encouraging me to be successful. I realize that there are many college students today who are much less fortunate than me.

Upon graduation, I am looking forward to taking my developed skills in IT to a corporate environment. The reason why I want to work for a corporation is because this experience will develop more as a young IT professional and make me more marketable in the IT industry as I move forward. This is an exciting time in my life!

I want to thank the BETF for providing me with a college scholarship. Also, I want to thank BDPA for expanding my knowledge of information technology and exposing me to the many great and amazing people. Finally, I want to give special thanks to Gibran McDuffie, Pamela Norfleet, Bryan Moore, Eric Dortch, Yvette Graham and the other BDPA members and volunteers that helped to shape me into the young man that I am today.

I look forward to following the college and professional career of this young squire over the coming years. Malik is the embodiment of the efforts of BDPA to advance the careers of African Americans in the IT industry 'from the classroom to the boardroom'. My hope is that BDPA can continue to create a pipeline of these young men and women so that our nation might 'win the future' in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. You can help. We want to give out larger scholarships next year ... can you help us do so?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

This Week in BDPA (Oct 14-20)

BDPA offers strong programs in 45 cities around the nation. Are you taking advantage of these programs? Here is a weekly preview of upcoming events gathered from the centralized BDPA calendar :
Please let us know of other BDPA events that we may have missed!

You can always find BDPA programs, services or networking activity online at places such as:
BDPA supports your efforts for career advancement in the IT industry. Our hope is that you find reasons to provide tax-deductible support to our Causes, our HSCC Scholarship Funds or Your Causes!

We encourage all BDPA leaders to take advantage of the centralized BDPA Groupsite Calendar to post your upcoming events!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

For Non-Profits Seeking Funding, Remember the Power of One

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS), over 1.5 million non-profits are registered in the U.S. While many of them receive assistance through corporate philanthropy and employee volunteer programs, in general all of them compete for a limited giving pool. So how can nonprofits stand out among all the noise, especially if you're a small, grassroots organization championing an under-served and mainly unnoticed population like foster children?

"One person, one volunteer, one company at a time," says Zaid Gayle, Executive Director of Peace4Kids (P4K), a South Los Angeles non-profit that provides programs and services for foster and at-risk youth from ages 5-18, and after they transition to adulthood until age 24. Because foster kids rarely have a permanent home or family, Peace4Kids is dedicated to empowering foster and at-risk youth by providing its own community as family. The P4K creed is that no matter where their foster kids are moved or what challenges are thrown their way, P4K wants them to feel that they will always have a family at P4K.

Read the rest of this Huffington Post article.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Year In Review: Monsanto and BDPA St. Louis (2012)

2012 was a remarkable year in the partnership with Monsanto and BDPA St. Louis chapter. A dedicated group of Monsanto volunteers made significant progress and recorded successes in many areas. BDPA St. Louis chapter took a moment to document the successes in this document.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

BDPA iRadio Show: October 9, 2012

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) is very proud to be the creator of the BDPA iRadio Show.  Today is the 33rd episode of the our Internet Radio Show that began last summer. You can listen to the archive version of the show using the widget shown in the right-hand sidebar of this blog. FREE download from the iTunes Store is also available for our listeners!

Listen to internet radio with BDPA on Blog Talk Radio

The guests on the October 9th show:
Felicia Jones - Chapter President, BDPA Atlanta - Felicia is a manager for Macy’s Systems and Technology. More importantly (for our purposes), she is the dynamic president of BDPA Atlanta Chapter. Felicia has done some remarkable things in the first nine months of her presidential tenure. Her chapter's young people won the 2012 national BDPA High School Computer Competition championship earlier this year. More importantly, her chapter provides more professional development programs and webinars than any other chapter in the nation. BDPA Atlanta is making a strong push to become the next 'chapter of the year'. Felicia is in position to share her insights and 'best practice' tips with our listeners. Her twitter handle is @AtlantaBDPA

Deena Pierrot - Chief Executive Officer, Mosaic Blueprint - Deena is a longtime BDPA supporter. In fact, she is trying to establish a BDPA chapter in the untapped market of the northwest United States. She has been a BDPA conference presenter and is actively engaged in diversity recruitment efforts. Recently, Deena took steps to implement her dream with the creation of the iUrban Teen Summit ( The iUrban Teen Tech Summit brings together under-served, underrepresented and unengaged teens in an all-day, technology-focused event held on various university campuses. The events are informational, engaging and most of all fun. We look forward to hearing his story on the BDPA iRadio Show. Her twitter handle is @MosaicBlueprint  
We hope you enjoy the insights and commentary on the show from each of these guests. Please take a moment to post a comment to let us know that you care!

Monday, October 8, 2012

HSCC Testimonial: Nicholas Reid (New York, 2010)

There have been hundreds of High School Computer Competition (HSCC) teams over the last 25 years. One of my favorite teams competed in the 2010 national BDPA HSCC Championships held in Philadelphia was trained by BDPA New York chapter. They were a remarkable and diverse group of young men who competed well ... and who I think will set the world on fire as they move through college and careers. One of the young men on that team was Nicholas Reid. Nicholas shared his testimonial with us last month. Here is what he had to say:

My Name Is Nicholas Reid, I am 18 years old and currently a sophomore at Baruch College. Currently my major is Computer Science with a Minor in physics, however I will be transferring next year due to Baruch not having a major in physics, and I am going to be an astrophysicist. Currently this is my 5th year as a member of BDPA New York chapter - 4 years as an HSCC student and this year I came back as a Technical Coordinator.

During my years as an HSCC student, my role was Lead Programmer. My teammates and I were trained in various programming languages such as: PHP, SQL, Java, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and the most important Soft Skills which took me awhile to develop. I competed in 3 BDPA HSCC competitions 2 regional and 1 national, placing 3rd and 6th at the regional competitions consecutively and 6th place at the national level.

By the time I reached my 3rd Year in HSCC our Coordinator Ms. Denise Hamilton recommended my teammates and I for an internship with our sponsor UBS. This past summer I just completed my 3rd consecutive internship there. At UBS I met our internship sponsor and one of my mentors now Mrs. Denise Hebner. During The 1st year of the internship, it was exciting but, intimidating at the same time. I was a 16 year old kid working my first job alongside college and graduate students, I was doing the same tasks as they were so naturally, I was a little scared, however, I successfully completed the internship and was offered to come back year after year.

This year, I took on the role as the Technical Coordinator for BDPA-NY HSCC team. Alongside Ms. Tish Edwards, I was assigned the task of training the current HSCC students in web application development for the 2012 National HSCC Competition. This gave me a new perspective of HSCC from the point of our HSCC coordinators Ms. Hamilton and Mr. Destine. As a student our task was to learn and do our best in competing, as a coordinator I had to create a syllabus that would fit everything they need to know for the competition in only 4 months, use different teaching techniques to get through to each student, worrying about how they were doing while being sequestered for 8hrs, and being a role model for them to truly understand the benefits from a student standpoint of being a part of BDPA. From learning how to teach to guiding them at this year’s conference it was truly a rewarding experience. This year I will be getting back into the competitive nature of things and competing in IT Showcase.

My future goals with BDPA are to compete in IT Showcase and continue giving back to the foundation. I want to pass on many of the memorable and grand learning experiences I have had and will have in BDPA to the students I have now and the students that will come, also it would be nice to see BDPA-NY win 1st place for chapter of the year, IT Showcase and HSCC a goal which will hopefully be realized for 2013.

Nicholas Reid
September 2012

Do you begin to understand why BDPA members do what we do? I hope so ... more importantly I hope you will encourage Nicholas and others who seek to advance their careers in the IT industry from 'the classroom to the boardroom'. One way you can show your support is simple -- make a secure online donation to the BDPA New York HSCC Scholarship Fund!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

This Week in BDPA (Oct 7-13)

BDPA is a strong offering of programs in 45 cities around the nation. Are you taking advantage of these programs? Here is a weekly preview of upcoming events gathered from the centralized BDPA calendar :
Please let us know of other BDPA events that we may have missed.

You can always find BDPA programs, services or networking activity online at places such as:
BDPA supports your efforts for career advancement in the IT industry. Our hope is that you find reasons to provide tax-deductible support to our Causes, our HSCC Scholarship Funds or Your Causes!

We encourage all BDPA leaders to take advantage of the centralized BDPA Groupsite Calendar to post your upcoming events!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Golden LEAF Foundation

The Golden LEAF Foundation sought proposals for a special $4 million initiative geared toward preparing North Carolina’s youth for careers requiring skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Organizations receiving funding under the Golden LEAF STEM Initiative can receive up to $750,000 for projects spanning a three-year period.

The Initiative focused on supporting successful models that increase STEM education for students in grades 4 through 9 in rural, economically distressed or tobacco-dependent counties of North Carolina.

  1. Comprehensive programs that are evidence-based and represent systemic approaches to STEM education that include in-school, out-of-school or extended day and support programs that provide assistance to students transitioning from elementary to middle and middle to high school.
  2. Programs that represent collaboration among public schools, higher education, community and relevant industry partners.
  3. Initiatives that target improved academic performance in and preparation for advanced STEM curricula by minorities, females and students from limited resource families.
  4. Programs to serve students in 4th through 9th grades that place priority on curricular approaches that are integrated, utilize project and inquiry based learning concepts and prepare students for successful completion of Algebra I by 8th or 9th grade as a gateway to participation in advanced placement courses.
  5. Competitive proposals will target under-represented minorities, females and limited resource students.
Proposals should include strategies that:

  • are comprehensive,
  • use integrated curricular approaches and inquiry and project based learning experiences,
  • prepare students for success in Algebra I and advanced math and science courses,
  • incorporate content specific professional development for teachers, and
  • provide relevant career and work connections for teachers and students.
Applicants were encouraged to think regionally, draw connections to industry sectors, and align with outcome measures in college and career readiness, student achievement, participation and engagement, teacher effectiveness, and other economic impact measures important to the state.

Applicants sought funds to cover programmatic costs. Requests for capital or construction costs are considered low priority. Priority will be given to rural, Tier I & II counties that currently have low concentrations of STEM programs.

BDPA has two chapters in North Carolina. Neither chapter expressed interest in this funding source. Perhaps next time...

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sports Foundation Directory

Sports Philanthropy Project published a comprehensive Sports Foundations Directory that contains profiles of professional sports and athlete foundations throughout the United States. We believe it's the most comprehensive directory of its kind in North America.

Please visit the website to see if there are any sports foundations or athlete foundations that you want to approach for funding.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Top Giving Foundations: Texas

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation and Communities Foundation of Texas 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 Austin chapter, BDPA Dallas chapter or BDPA Houston chapter leaders if they want to pursue grant proposals to any or all of these 40 funding sources!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Telling Philanthropy's Story

There are 717 community foundations in the United States making grants of about $4.6 billion in their communities. I know because it’s on the cover of a publication about community foundations.

What I don’t know is why anyone would care.

It’s not just that we should be talking about the impact that we have in our communities, the great work we do and support. It’s not that at all.

It’s literally a question of who cares about community foundations? It takes an unusual amount of self-absorption to get comfortable with the idea that a small set of obscure treasury regulations defines an inherently superior vehicle for philanthropy. In fact, I’m not sure community foundations are inherently better or worse as charitable giving vehicles, or more or less important than other forms of philanthropy to our communities.

And I run one.

Just imagine what the people who don’t run one think.

Read the rest of the Philanthropy article.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wal-Mart Store and Sam's Club Giving Program

The Wal-Mart Foundation supports programs and initiatives addressing education, workforce development, economic sustainability, and health and wellness. For health and wellness in particular, the Foundation looks to improve access to healthcare, promote healthy lifestyles and behaviors, and reduce disparities.

Grant awards range from $1,000 to $5,000.

Eligible applicants include organizations with tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)3, recognized government entities, volunteer Fire Departments, K-12 Public Schools/Districts, Charter Schools, Colleges, Universities, Private Schools with tax-exempt status, and faith-based organizations.