All About It – #TechXOradio Interview’s BETF, Executive Director, Wayne Hicks (Part 1)

working with the chapter president Darwick Webb and his board of directors. I agreed to be the VP of member management for the local chapter. We began the year as the 5th largest chapter in the national and we are now the 2nd largest with 172 members. We started with 86 members we literally doubled our membership. We have doubled our membership by adding some specific, exciting and new programs to attract new members and increase membership over the first 7 months of the year by 100%.

At a national level, I’m the corporate sales director. Primary objective is to make the 36th annual BDPA National Technology conference a profitable affair. We have been working with Conference Director Pam Sexton and her team to help share information about the conference with corporate America to bring in corporate sponsors to host golf tournaments, host receptions, sponsors scholarships and to be at the career fair. Close to 4 dozen companies will be at the conference career fair. We are very, very proud. It’s just an exciting time to from a corporate sales and corporate sponsorships point of view.

The third hat, that I always wear, is the executive director of the non-profit 501C3 charity, called the BDPA Education Technology Foundation (acronym BETF) or BDPA Foundation. It was first created in 1992 when it was first created by the BDPA National board of directors. We are extremely pleased that we will be working with BDPA to give away 129,000 dollars in scholarships at the National Conference in Indiana next month (Aug 5 -10).

Question [Jacqueline]: It’s clear you have been doing this for a while, you are committed and you are very passionate about this, can you share with the audience, “Why do we need to make sure BDPA continues to have the funding they need to keep doing what they do?”

Answer [Wayne]: At the end of the day, BDPA resonates with me and resonates with many of our stakeholders and sponsors because it is very clear why BDPA exist and what we stand for BDPA exist to advance the careers of African Americans in the IT industry, from the class room to the board room. Each of our 46 chapters, our National Board and our 4 regions, that’s what they do, they give out scholarships, they are going to put on programs and provide services that are going to advance your career, whether you are a CIO, or own your own company or whether you are a K-12/middle school student just learning programming. Any where in the spectrum, BDPA is engaged.

I personally got engaged in the late 80’s. I took a job as branch manager. running a computer operation branch. I had never been in IT or in a computer room before that in my career. I was just known as a good leader and good manager. And that’s what they were looking for to run their 24/7 – 3 shift a day operation. So I joined BDPA, quite frankly, to get a certificate to hang on my wall to give me credibility on my new job in IT. That was literally the reason why I became active and paid my membership dues

But since then obviously I learned and watched it have an impact on people, On folks improving their careers. I credit BDPA for advancing my career and me eventually becoming the youngest executive in my federal agency was a direct result of the skills and experience I got from volunteer leader with BDPA.

Since then, I just enjoy the story. I enjoy watching students one year coming to the conference in high school, the next year they are going to college, the navy, and along the way winning scholarships to fund their dreams. That energizes me as much as anything else

I will tell you 2 weeks ago I was in Indianapolis at the Indianapolis Black Expo promoting the conference with Pamela Sexton and a few other folks.. A young lady volunteered to work our booth , she works at Eli Lilly. She had just moved from Delaware to Indianapolis in the last 2 weeks. Her name is Sharece Poole. Sharece as a high school student in Delaware participated in BDPA’s IT Showcase where she did research on IT topics and presenting that to African American PhD’s. She ended up using BDPA scholarship money to go to NC A&T and got her 4 year computer science degree. And then one of our BDPA president Indiana chapter was doing interviews at NC AT&T and he offered her job. She is now an IT professional now on her first real job. BDPA produces that kind of story.

Bio of Wayne Hicks

R. Wayne Hicks is the Executive Director for the BDPA Education & Technology Foundation, the non-profit fundraising arm for a national IT association. Wayne served as BETF executive director when first created in 1992-1993. He returned to that leadership position again in 2006.

Wayne has been active leader in BDPA since he joined in 1988. He served in virtually every leadership position on both the local and national level. He earned the ‘BDPA Presidents Award’ in 1989, 1992 and 2001. Wayne took over the BDPA Cincinnati chapter in 1999. His chapter won ‘Comeback Chapter of the Year’ and ‘Most Improved Chapter’ awards the following year. BDPA Cincinnati chapter subsequently earned recognition for national excellence in community service, membership and professional service. BDPA Cincinnati became a national powerhouse under his leadership – winning ‘Chapter of the Year’ or ‘Chapter of the Year Runner-Up’ honors in eight of the past 9 years.

Wayne served as national BDPA president-elect (2002-2003) and national BDPA president (2004-2005). National BDPA experienced record growth in terms of membership and corporate sponsorship during those years.

Wayne accepted the challenge of growing the impact of BETF as their executive director in 2006. Under his guidance, the Foundation increased the number and amount of scholarships, donations and chapter grants in each of the past three years. Currently, he is working with a dynamic Board of Directors to implement a $5 million BETF Endowment Fund.

Wayne has been a frequent workshop presenter at regional & national training seminars discussing topics such as, “Vanishing Black Male,” “Dealing with Office Politics,” “Bridging the Digital Divide,” and “Strategies for Success.”


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