In the 2016 - 2017 Program Year, NCMA North Texas Chapter Leadership (Chapter Leadership) focused on a strategy for recruiting volunteers, diversifying content, increasing member involvement in chapter life, and adding value for members. The Chapter Leadership focused on several initiatives for the year to accomplish this strategy:
Increasing attendance at the monthly meetings by providing compelling content and lowering costs;
Increasing sponsorship funding of events to defray costs and increase corporate participation;
Increasing networking opportunities for our members; and
Increasing communications and services to members
INCREASING ATTENDANCE EFFORTS
The first priority of chapter leadership this year has been to increase attendance at the monthly meetings by doing two things: 1) Providing interesting content, and 2) Working to defray participant costs (via corporate sponsorships). Examples of interesting content provided this past program year include:
Jim Hogan, University of Texas at Dallas, speaking on Contract Management Best Practices,
A panel discussion with Bobby Smith (Raytheon), Chuck Maggio (L3 Technologies), Sandy Schwan (Evolving Strategies, LLC), and Greg Novalen (Raytheon), speaking on Contract Change Management,
Rick Walters (Expressworks Int’l), speaking on Lean/Agile as it pertains to contract management,
Sgt. Rodriguez and Officer Roddy (City of McKinney Police Department), speaking on tactics of SWAT negotiators in stressful situations,
Nydia Rosado (L3 Technologies), speaking negotiations preparations, and
Michele Stoudt-Wright (Airbus/Eurocopter), speaking on FAR Part 12 commercial item sales in the Federal domain space
INCREASING SPONSORSHIP FUNDING EFFORTS
Chapter leadership firmly believes that corporate sponsorship of monthly events provides two key benefits: 1) To lower the cost of participation of the members, and 2) To increase corporate participation in the life of the chapter. Chapter leadership took tentative steps towards increasing support of the chapter by asking for, and receiving, several sponsorships.
Examples of sponsorship funding and its impact include:
The chapter received sponsorships this past program year from Raytheon Company, Space and Airborne Systems, Contracts Management and Supply Chain Management Departments. These sponsorships allowed up to eight (8) members of each department to attend each meeting at no cost. This effort resulted in an uptick in participation from Raytheon chapter members, over the course of the year, as a result of this initiative.
The chapter also received a sponsorship from the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), which allowed the March 2017 networking event to be free of charge to all who attended. This also gave DART leadership an opportunity to meet local members and to present information about the advantages of working at DART.
INCREASING NETWORKING EFFORTS
Beyond the normal networking that occurs at the more traditional dinner meetings, this past year, chapter leadership implemented three (3) networking events, called "Hotspots". The intent of these events was to provide a casual, relaxed opportunity for chapter members to meet and get to know each other better. These “Hotspots” were strategically positioned around the city to enable members, who might not otherwise attend a traditional dinner meeting, to attend the "Hotspot". The venues were specifically chosen to appeal to a broad range of ages and interests. The three networking events consisted of:
The program-year kick-off, which was held in September at the Times 10 Cellars in Dallas. It was well-attended and provided chapter leadership with the opportunity to present our upcoming program-year to a large number of members.
A holiday event in December, which was jointly sponsored by NCMA North Texas and NCMA Ft. Worth in Grapevine, TX. This joint networking event allowed members from both chapters to meet and network with each other at Messina Hoff Winery and participate in the Toys-for-Tots Charity.
A final networking event was held in March at the Renaissance Hotel in Richardson, TX. This event was sponsored by DART and was well attended.
INCREASING COMMUNICATIONS AND SERVICES EFFORTS
Chapter Leadership continues to improve communications with membership regarding upcoming events and meetings. This is possible because of the chapter’s intentional use and growth of our Internet and social media infrastructure. We are using available analytics from our email tool (MailChimp) and website (www.ncmadallas.org) to better understand member behavior and usage to position the chapter for growth. We are using Geographic Information System (GIS) to better understand the distribution of our membership across the city to better position “Hotspots”. We are using the Google Environment, such as Google Drive, for the chapter data repository and Google Voice to provide automated phone capability. Lastly, we have integrated our email, website, Twitter, and Facebook accounts so that a common and consistent message is being provided to our members every month. Our task in the coming year is to document how these tools work together to ensure future chapter IT volunteers can easily navigate in this space.
In an effort to increase member volunteer rates on the NCMA North Texas board, Chapter Leadership announced upcoming board and committee chair positions early in the new year, via a planned email and communication campaign. At each meeting, and via internet and social media presence, Chapter Leadership worked to generate interest in volunteering. As a result of the volunteer marketing campaign, the chapter was able to fill all board positions, and have five (5) committee chairs set, by the reporting deadline for the new program year!
Chapter Leadership continued to pursue the establishment of an Executive Advisory Board. The goal is to have an executive advisory board, made up of Directors, and Top Executives, from various industries, as well as, State, and Federal Government. This Executive Advisory Board is intended to act in an advisory capacity to the North Texas Chapter NCMA Board in the area of increasing membership, Corporate Sponsorships, Leadership and other areas. The communications and engagement for this initiative is very positive. For the first time the chapter has a chair on the Executive Advisory Committee.
Chapter Leadership has worked to increase our reach into local Colleges and Universities. We have a College Outreach Chair who is actively working to make inroads into the local colleges. To encourage students to participate in chapter life, the board voted to decrease the cost of student involvement in the monthly meetings to $10, with the chapter picking up any remaining cost. Members of the board have made a presentation to Southern Methodist University (SMU) law school on the subject of who NCMA is and what it can do for them.
Chapter Leadership has also initiated a mentoring program for college aged and young professionals. The College outreach chair is also heading up this activity in partnership with the VP-Membership. In this capacity, the board is working to be a "match maker" between interested students, or young professionals, and seasoned professionals who want to be mentors. At the end of this program year, we have five (5) pairs of mentors-mentees set up. In ongoing support, the VP-Membership and the College Chair will contact each pair quarterly to determine how the mentoring relationship is working and what can be done to improve it.
The NCMA North Texas chapter has a broadly diverse membership spread across a wide geographic area. Chapter Leadership this past year has been intentional at locating general meetings in a relatively central location (in the city) and providing interesting content. Additionally, the board has worked to move networking events around the city to be near where membership clusters are located. The board has worked to reach out to younger professionals via the networking events and mentoring programs. And we've worked to defray costs by increasing corporate sponsorships when available. The chapter is in a rebuilding period, it is re-establishing its brand, and is working diligently to be of value to its members and sponsoring organizations. The work continues into the new program year with a solid board and committee chairs!