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A Great Year for the Dallas Chapter!

Friday, November 26, 2004   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Deborah Lovell, 2004 Dallas Chapter President
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AITP Dallas is proud to report that 2004 was a tremendous success! When we started out on January 10 at our planning session, who would have ever thought we would exceed our goals and expectations? Upon analyzing our achievements, we know it all began with creating our business plan. While AITP may be a volunteer association, it should still be run as a business, hence a business plan is in order.

Our first step was to determine each committee's role and which members would be the best to chair each committee. Identifying board members' strengths, we put together a strong team of responsible, dedicated members. It was unanimously understood that our plan for 2004 would be a team effort and that no one player would have to carry the ball for the whole game.

Our business plan included programs, membership, sponsors, alliances, media, student chapters and chapter support. Looking back, we reflect on our achievements and all the goals we met. Congratulations to each committee chair!

Programs
Our program committee's goal was to provide a variety of educational programs that would entice more of our members to get involved and bring guests who might eventually become members. Based also on information from the member survey we distributed in 2003, we targeted topics and speakers that our members told us would interest them most.

We created new programs each month on industry-related topics, as well as a professional development series. Our members had been stagnant in their people skills and to prepare them for the current career wave, we brought in experts on leadership management, team building and good old professional etiquette. These programs resulted in some of our highest monthly attendance.

In keeping with the education focus we feel is the mission of AITP Dallas, we created a CIO Executive Spotlight series. Once every quarter we invited an executive from the enterprise world to speak to our members and guests about real world case studies. We were honored by Jim Tucker, CIO of Michael's Arts & Crafts, Rick Herrington, executive director of North Texas Tollway Authority, and Richard Jarrett, AVP of IT of Dallas Area Rapid Transit.

Our partnerships with Culminis and Microsoft provided us another program platform to promote AITP. By joining them at the Microsoft Security Summit in April and having them as our co-hosts of our annual spring event held in May, we achieved our ultimate goal, to give our members great topics, speakers and networking with their peers.

We also established the AITP Dallas Special Interest Group for Enterprise Architecture or EASIG. This group has been quite successful with a monthly attendance of more than 30 members and guests. By adding this platform, we have been able to use our monthly regular meeting as a general session for all IT professionals, while the EASIG offers specialized interest for those members and guests focused on enterprise architecture. Several attendees have since joined our chapter.

We are proud to report that our monthly attendance has increased from an average of 30 to 65+ per month, along with a record-breaking attendance of 210 for our spring event in May. Now for the first time in many years, speakers are calling us. Our 2005 calendar for monthly programs is almost full! This is exceptional especially since we used to scramble to schedule speakers a few weeks before each monthly meeting!

Membership
Our membership rose in 2003, but dwindled to 64 by the end of year. We lost about 39 members in the fall of 2003 and the membership committee had their work cut out for them for 2004. The plan was to increase membership by half (half of 64, or 32 new members). We planned a membership drive and media promotion to encourage guests to attend and join.

We are proud to report that we have almost doubled our membership, from 64 to 125, with two months left in the year! Our membership committee agrees that the cause of this success is attributed to great program topics and speakers, increased attendance, the membership drive and the excellent work done by our media group.

In recognition of the dedication and tenacity of our members, we created an outstanding leadership award for those members who have provided exemplary service to our chapter. Our first recipient was also bestowed the honor of the award being named after her. We are proud to report the establishment of The Mary Farrell Award.

Sponsors and Alliances
By establishing great relationships with local vendors provided by AITP National such as Microsoft, Culminis and Robert Half Technology, our sponsors committee has been able to meet its goals. These partners have assisted us in our funding as well as provided us attractive door prizes and giveaways. And with so many other professional organizations in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, it made sense to align ourselves with these strong groups. Our alliances committee's goal was successfully achieved with Career Connections, Inside Business Collin County and other local IT groups.

Media/Publicity
We also established many more media relationships than we anticipated. Our committee built credibility with local media outlets by submitting press releases. Members also began contributing articles and interviews. Many AITP Dallas members have been featured in the "Success Story" section of the Dallas Morning News. In addition, several of board members were featured in IT business articles in the business section. They also had articles published in the AITP Information Exchange and Culminis newsletters.

AITP Dallas also sponsors an annual Toy Drive for Buckner Children's Home, and has donated more than $1,500 in cash and toys each year for the past two years. We are proud to report that our current 2004 year goal of $2,000 will be achieved!

Student Chapters
The goal of the student chapters liaison and the supporting committee was to establish rapport with student leaders, meet with the faculty advisor and get students involved in our monthly programs. AITP Dallas is proud that a new student chapter was chartered this year and a second is in the works. We hope to have the newest charter before year end, giving us eight chapters to parent!

Chapter Support
Without our chapter support committee, we would have struggled. They did so much to assist the chairs to assure their success. Their goal was to make everything as smooth and professional as possible. They coordinated all events and meetings, established an online registration and payment process, enhanced our Web site and kept us on target.

In summary, we think this quote says it all:

"Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible." -St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226)

We thank our dedicated board and chapter members for helping us do what many thought was impossible!


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