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Redesigning Monthly BDPA Program Meetings

BDPA Cincinnati leaders met last night to talk about future direction of the chapter. It was a rough-and-tumble meeting with candid exchanges and commitment for this rejuvenation effort. The chapter has not had physical gatherings ('program meetings') for many, many moons. I agreed to provide guidance to get the monthly gatherings back on track. I've heard from many chapters that they are struggling with their monthly meetings. Feel free to follow our 'case study' in Cincinnati. I'll share updates here on the FB-group unless you have a better suggestion.

We've agreed to change our meeting dates to the 3rd Wednesday of each month. This is a date that all of the chapter leaders can make without obstacles in their personal or professional lives.

Next step? We have to find a location. We're looking for one that accommodate 50 people with ability to grow to 100; has existing presentation capability (projector, screen, lighting control, microphones); available parking; safe/secure location; and allows for outside catering. We hope to have space locked down within the next week.

We are also going to refine our mission for the program meeting to follow example set by BDPA Los Angeles chapter in recent months. Our proposed vision / mission for the monthly gathering is as follows:

"The goal for BDPA Cincinnati is to collaborate with the vibrant community of like-minded African American technology professionals, innovators and enthusiasts who are working with or interested in Web-based and related technologies. We're talking the whole techie gamut from bloggers, digital media specialists, community managers and web masters to web designers, social media strategists, developers, online marketing experts, recruiters, software developers and project managers.

And of course the doors are wide open for those folks who are simply just passionate about all things technical.

We will meet regularly at least once a month for fun socializing and high level talks on the technology topics. We plan to feature educational meetups to learn latest technical developments in fields of interest. We also look forward to hosting mashup events with many of the multitude of great tech groups based in Cincinnati.

We also plan to participate in local startup events and help bring together Cincinnati-based developers and web entrepreneurs for possible business opportunities.

We feel this will be an excellent venue to exchange ideas and talk about web technology, innovation, open source, share our knowledge and experience with one another. Tell us how technology is changing the world. Anyone interested in tech is welcome!"

Any feedback on what you've seen so far?

Edited Thu, Feb 14, 2013 8:02 AM

Replies to this Topic

BDPA Cincinnati pulled it off.   We had an exciting and vibrant meetup last night of the 'Cincinnati Blacks In Technology'.    You can see the first photos from that event on the Blacks In Technology website.   More photos will be placed on the BDPA Cincinnati Facebook Page as well.

We are very thankful to BDPA Los Angeles chapter president John Malonson for sharing his monthly meetup 'best practices'.  We replicated his model last night and we had an truly inspiring gathering of 27 people (11 members; 16 guests) who engaged in networking, mingling, deal-making and knowledge-sharing.   The atmosphere was electric and we had to flick the lights on-and-off 30 minutes after the scheduled end of the meeting because the peeps simply didn't want to leave.

I'm happy to share the documentation with anyone or any chapter this is interested in seeing what we're doing.  I'm sure that John feels the same way.

BDPA Detroit chapter (Cliff Samuels) plans to rejuvenate its monthly meetings using the process currently employed by both Los Angeles and Cincinnati chapters.   It will be interesting to see if this new process can sustain itself ... and grow into other chapters as well.

Feel free to reply if you have question about program meetings.   Are they working well in your chapter?   If so, what works best?  If not, are you open to new ideas?

BDPA Cincinnati chapter had 27 attendees for the March 2013 meetup. We did something different from the past in effort to encourage networking. We shared the full list of attendees, including contact information, with all 27 attendees after the meeting by email. We also gave them a summary of the results from their meeting evaluations. Finally, we gave the a flyer for the Apr 2013 meetup and encouraged them to both RSVP and bring a friend.

Copies of any (or all) of these 3 documents are available for review on request. Our hope is to make the 3rd Wednesday of each month a 'DESTINATION EVENT' for Blacks in Technology in the greater Cincinnati area. Time will tell if our new approach (adopted as a 'best practice' from BDPA Los Angeles chapter) works.

What is working in your chapter as it relates to the monthly program meeting?


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