Looking back at PDC 2015

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Professional Development Conference (PDC) 2015: 

Why we went and why we’ll be back next year!

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A few years ago the National Society of Black Engineers recognized that while there was an undoubtable value in a professional-focused track at the NSBE National Conference, there was also a need and value in having a conference dedicated solely  to our professionals. This October we held the 3rd Annual Professional Development Conference (PDC) for NSBE and it took place right in our backyard in Hartford, CT.

And let us tell you – this program has BLOSSOMED. The prevailing myth is that this conference is only of value to engineers or that there needs to have prior experience with the organization. This perception couldn’t be further from the case and we’re excited about the impact it’s already having for a broader base of professionals. Here are a recap of the highlights to show you what you enjoyed if you were able to attend and why you’ll want to recruit other professionals you care about to take part next year.

  Professional and Personal Development Workshops. Attendees could not say enough good about the quality of the conference’s workshops. They spanned from professional branding, to sustainability leadership, to even financial planning and wealth building. The programming covered the gamut in understanding skills our community needs to be successful in our personal and professional lives and providing quality instruction on building our foundations.

Technical Certifications. A number of professionals made the haul to get into the conference in advance of the workshops to take advantage of the certifications that the conference offered at sponsored rates. Professionals walked away with marketable skills and either a completed or in progress certification to take back into the workplace.

Professionals looking to attend the March TPC should plan early arrival to take part in a similar experience [March conference details here].

  Youth Community Service programming. Now THIS was a good time. The conference featured an opportunity for us to take a walk over to the Connecticut Science Center and get in the “NSBE fix” of exposing our youth to the amazing world of science and technology. The theme this year was the “Science of Music” and our youth were pumped. Professionals paired up with groups of students and explored the museums exhibits on recording and musical sciences. The students were engrossed and professionals got to rediscover our love for the museum of science through the kids’ lenses. Then we got really nerdy. Armed with a “makey makey” , lead pencils, foil, and a lot of creativity the students made their own programmable instruments from scratch. The kids took design and implementation into their own hands and before we knew it we had a full fledged orchestra on our hands! At the end, we weren’t sure if the kids or the adults had a better time. We’ll just call it a tie?

Hard Hitting Keynote. This year’s conference keynote was Dr. Steven Perry, most notable for his work in the fields of education and youth advocacy. While Dr. Perry was both charming and gracious, attendees of his address would all agree that he did not go easy on us.

Now what do we mean by that? Dr. Perry was relentless about the impact that our organization should be having on the face of education and unforgiving in his accusation that we ALL can and should be doing more. One of his more poignant assertions was that while it’s nice to break through individually, we have to “make it possible for others to be there with us”. Dr. Perry insists that it means no longer accept school systems failing our children and taking our communities future into our own hands. For an organization that prides itself on its mission “to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community” we feed off of being pushed to do MORE.

Let that be a motivator to us. [Watch him here]

An Evening of Excellence The bulk of the conference focused on development and sharpening our skills. It was culminated by a celebration of people that have taken their vocations and skills to impact our community through their excellence. These black professionals featured emergency personnel, to healthcare providers, to engineers all with the common thread of their positive impact through their professional success. We were honored to recognize these individuals and set the bar for the kinds of achievement we should all look to achieve within our respective roles.

Ongoing Fellowship

Sometimes we get so caught up in the acronyms and initiatives that it takes us all coming together for a program like this to remember why we’re so in love with this organization. It’s the people. Period.

IMG_7025That’s why we’re in love with this organization and believe in the impact it’s already having and will have on the face of education, corporate america, and the future – because our people are INCREDIBLE and their dedication is unmatched.

The Fellowship was real, ya’ll. Inside and outside of sessions attendees, presenters, and facilitators alike were celebrating our achievements and rolling up their sleeves on ways we’ll continue to extend our impact and value.

These are people that you want to get to know and want to keep learning from. If not for any other reason we’ll be back because we love the people.

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See you at next year’s PDC!!

See also: Top 10 Things you may have missed at NSBE National Convention

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