St. Louis

We invite members, sponsors and supporters in greater St. Louis area to use this topic as a place to share information about upcoming BDPA events, programs or services.

BDPA St. Louis chapter founded in Jan 1989.

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John Austin is a 3-time national High School Computer Competition participant from our BDPA St. Louis chapter. He graduated earlier this year from McCluer North High School and plans to major in computer science at Missouri Valley College. John plans to become an information technology analyst and mentor children in his community. He earned a Dr. Jesse Bemley Scholarship as a result of his high performance in the 2010 national HSCC championship held in Philadelphia.

John shared his thoughts on BDPA in the following testimonial.
"I have learned a great many things from participating in the High School Computer Competition (HSCC). It has changed my entire outlook on and attitude toward life. Before participation in the program I was shy, and turned away from seemingly impossible challenges BDPA has altered all of these qualities.

One of my most memorable moments I had during my participation in the HSCC was during the coding part of the competition. Time was running out and our connection string to the data basic was not working properly. We were puzzled and had no clue what to do. All of our hard work was about to be wasted due to one little line of code. Just at that moment when we were about to call it quits, I had remembered that earlier during the competition we turned off the data, so we could work on other problems with the website to prevent errors. Our team had totally forgotten to turn it back on. Once I had explained the problem to the team. They were relieved that were could finish and was back in the competition. I felt like the hero of the team at the point. I was impressed with myself and so was my team. We came in fifth-place that year. This was one of my most memorable moments during my time with BDPA.

Over the years, participating with BDPA has taught me what it takes to succeed. From months of tough practice and studying, I have gained a hard work ethic, organization and leadership skills. From my fellow teammates, I have learned to work well with others in a group; as it is necessary to cooperate and get along with others. But most important, I have also gained self confidence. If I fail, I’ll just try again and do better the next time. I realize that it is necessary to take risks in order to gain success. I know now, whether I succeed or fail it is irrelevant, it is only important that I have tried my best.

We want to significantly increase the funding for our Bemley Scholars. Please take a moment to help us with your secure online donation! That would be the best way to honor the legacy of John Austin and his HSCC teammates from BDPA St. Louis chapter.
by Guest Blogger: Dwana Franklin (BDPA St. Louis)

BDPA St. Louis hosted its April 2013 program meeting at the Monsanto headquarters office. The chapter presented a panel discussion on “Leadership is a Privilege” facilitated by Vincent Shorter (director, Monsanto). The panelist included Fred Burdell (chief information officer, Emerson Industrial Automation), Teron Bowman (IT Manager, Lord & Taylor) and Fabiana Solari (middleware services lead, Monsanto). There were 30 people in attendance for this very successful networking and educational seminar.

The session introduce some of the benefits of leadership - including driving growth and change in your organization; developing others; challenging teams to go beyond their personal and group boundaries; and helping others to realize pride in accomplishment. Vincent led with views and different perspectives of leadership and then enthusiastically moderated the panel of diverse IT professionals. The discussion was interactive and insightful between the attendees and panelists.

At the end of the session time was allotted for networking, and everyone left the meeting with a minimum of one new contact to add to their network.

Some of the comments shared on the meeting evaluations included:
"It was truly a privilege to participate as a panel member for this event. I appreciated the opportunity and also enjoyed networking and learning from others in the IT community."

"It was a pleasure participating in the event last night. I really enjoyed the professional atmosphere and dialogue with the facilitator, my panel members, and the BDPA members."

"The networking at the end was awesome as well. The room was buzzing with all the chatter!!! It was a beautiful thing."

"I thought it was a very engaging, empowering, and enlightening session! Thank you for being wonderful hosts, enthusiastic panelists, and more importantly, great representatives of professionalism...substance...and style!"
BDPA Education and Technology Foundation received the following message from the BDPA St. Louis chapter board of directors:
Mark Grady
It is with great sadness that I report the passing of BDPA St. Louis chapter president Mark Grady. Mark passed away at his home over the weekend. If you have had the pleasure of knowing Mark, you know that he was passionate about BDPA and the opportunity to enhance careers and create relationships and networks for minority professionals. Mark will be fondly remembered and deeply missed by all that knew him.

The service/gathering for Mark Grady will be at the following address this Saturday, May 11 at 2:00pm. It is my understanding that there will be no viewing ... only a video montage and condolences to the family ... at this St. Louis event.

Kappa Community Center
500 North Vandeventer Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63108

For those interested, there will be an additional service in Detroit will be held on Saturday May 18. More information to come regarding gifts or donations for those that are interested. The local Kappa Chapter is working to create an education fund for Mark’s two daughters.

BDPA St. Louis chapter has a powerful legacy that has grown since its founding in January 1989. The chapter recently concluded elections that put in place those brothers and sisters who will take BDPA St. Louis chapter to the next level in 2014-2015. The following officers were elected in accordance with chapter bylaws:

President - Dwana Franklin-Davis (MasterCard)

Executive Vice President - Jerry Walker (Nestle Purina)  

Vice President, Finance - Marvis Hollis (Macy's)  
  Vice President, Membership Management- Lionel Phillips (IBM)  

Vice President, Strategy & Planning - Malcom Mathis, (Monsanto)  

Other appointed leaders in the chapter include:

  • HSCC Coordinator - Tiffany Jones (Monsanto)
  • Communications Coordinator - Tiffany Pierre (Unknown)

Please join all of BDPA in welcoming these new leaders as they strive to advance the careers of African Americans in the information technology industry from the classroom to the boardroom in the state of Missouri. They have some large shoes to fill ... however, the chapter also has some powerful corporate support and it currently stands as the 11th-largest BDPA chapter in the nation.

Edited Tue, Dec 10, 2013 8:54 AM

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