Chair Welcome Address
NSBE has been an organization bent on fulfilling its goals since its creation, thus the repeated reminders of our credence through yearly objectives from each Chapter, Region, and NSBE as an international organization. It then becomes not only important to say the words, but to believe it and work towards our goals and aspirations. A few years ago, there was a rebranding initiative to benefit the Professionals in NSBE: To change the name from NSBE Alumni Extension to NSBE Professionals.
Rebranding is usually associated with a failing venture with much promise, or a successful venture that could use a bit of a twist to keep shareholders and customers happy. NSBE Professionals was born of a need to recognize the efforts and inclusion of the people who had personally and successfully completed the mission statement through graduation from college.
For all intents and purposes, these individuals had ‘increased the number of culturally responsible Black Engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community’. However, there is still so much more work to be done to maintain and improve upon that level of excellence. The challenge then becomes a bit deeper than the surface level thoughts NSBE was required to abide by prior to graduation.
In college, there were incentives to succeed that were clearly defined: Be a leader of men and women, and you will be sought after by companies because of the leadership qualities that you have gained in such a role; Be punctual and organized to meetings, and you can get information and have your expenses subsidized or totally paid for by your Chapter/Engineering school/ Region/ National Organization; Do well in school and you are eligible for scholarships; And the list goes on for possible motivators that were clear cut and visible.
For the Professional, the incentives aren’t as clear-cut, and are much more dependent on the individual. Factors like professional development, networking, social engagements, families, and other commitments immediately jump to mind once discussions about what/who to program for come to mind. There are infinite possibilities to what programming your membership would like to see, but no clear-cut way to ensure that they attend. To be successful, in the past, I think we have tried to get feedback on the programming, and have graciously accepted the feedback. However, despite best efforts to cater to needs of the membership, I think we have found ourselves lacking in certain regards. It is easy to put the blinders on and not look at the numbers, but we don’t want to take the easy route if in turn some of our membership feels unrepresented in interest. We need to look around and do things a bit differently, and for that, we need your voice.
NSBE-IP has staple programming all year round, which has been effective for years, and will likely stand the test of time. It is not my intent to change that. It is my intent to add something with value that is lacking in between: A motivator in a comfortable environment that reminds us why we began this journey, and why we need to continue it. It does not need to be otherworldly, or perfect, but a spark: Something to look back on and attribute some growth in a field otherwise unknown; something to force us out of our houses on a weekday, after a grueling day at a job; Small, yet effective in its existence.
I am not the only voice for Black Engineers. I am a mouthpiece and facilitator for the voices of all Black Engineers, but I am challenged more without your thoughts. Please send me some of yours by completing the link below: