Wednesday, July 15, 2015

ESSENCE Network: Jessica O. Matthews, An Inventor Who Created the Career She Wanted

Name: Jessica O. Matthews

Age: 26

Title: Uncharted Play CEO and creator of SOCCKET soccer ball

Location: New York, NY

Hometown: Wappingers Falls, NY

Twitter: @Jess_O_Matt

LinkedIn: jessicaomatthews

The gig: I am an inventor and I run a tech company that provides creations for the good of our society. I am best known for inventing the SOCCKET, a soccer ball that harnesses kinetic energy from playing. The energy can then be used for everyday purposes, which is especially handy in countries where electricity is scarce. For every 30 minutes of playing with the ball, up to 3 hours of LED wattage is generated.

The journey:  I grew up wanting to be an inventor, but was pushed to other industries in high school that had more structure. When I first invented the SOCCKET for a class, I was reminded about how much I loved making things—creating what wasn't into what is. Once I saw people's lives change because of something I created, I was hooked.

Her career highlight: Being named to Forbes' "30 Under 30" was a great accomplishment for me last year. Also, having a global brand like Toyota recognize the SOCCKET as an innovative invention that inspires social change was a major milestone. I was honored as a 2012 Toyota Mother of Invention and received a grant that gave me the much-needed capital to grow my business.
Confessions of a Black woman in technology: In the tech industry, there's already a bias that benefits men. A lot of firms expect to see men and it takes them a while to understand and believe what you're saying. Add in that you're a Black woman and no one knows where you're coming from and each conversation is an uphill battle. I have to have an extra shield to go into battle to beat all these stereotypes at once. The benefit is that when I do well, people do take notice because I am so different from others in the game.

Success 101: Stay humble and stay hungry.

Her networking tip: The best method for me is to build meaningful relationships with a tight-knit group of colleagues. Someone, or even several people, in your close circle will always be more connected or more of a networker and always be there to look out for you and be there for you to reach out to when you need help.

Her best time-saving tip: I like making lists. When you know what you need to get done you're better able to manage what you can do in one day.

In her downtime: I like to dance, mostly hip hop styles and lyrical. I also watch TV.

Her tech must-haves: Netflix is pretty clutch. I love Spotify as well for jamming out but I don't need my phone more than anyone else.

In her beauty bag: I love Make Up Forever Duo Matte foundation.

Her go-to power accessory: You can go a long way with some solid studs and a statement bracelet.

Her secret superpower: When I wake up, I'm instantly on. There is no groggy hour of trying to come to consciousness, I can jump out of bed and start problem solving right away.

Her theme song: “Flawless” by BeyoncĂ©.

Company Website:\


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Joe L. Dudley Sr.

Joe Louis Dudley, Sr., Co-Founder of the DudleyQ+ brand, is one of the world's most sought after entrepreneurial masterminds.

Born May 9, 1937, he is the fifth of 11 children born to Gilmer L. and Clara Yeates Dudley. Joe grew up in a three-room farm house in the rural community of Aurora, in eastern North Carolina.

Labeled Mentally Retarded Early
Joe was retained in the first grade, labeled mentally retarded, and suffered a speech impediment. Throughout it all one very influential person, his mother, never stopped believing in him and is responsible for his overcoming these obstacles and becoming a role model for many.

Introduced to Fuller Success Program at 20
This journey to success began in 1957 when he invested $10.00 in a sales kit and began selling Fuller Products door-to-door while still a student at North Carolina A & T State University (Greensboro, NC). One of Mr. Fuller's goals, and one that Joe Dudley actively pursues today, is to help people to maximize their potential and achieve success.

Achieved National and International Success
From 1967 through 2008, Joe L. Dudley, Sr. & Eunice Dudley led Dudley Products Company to a significant level of sales. The company has been listed in the top 50 in Black Enterprise Magazine's Top 100 Black Owned Businesses. Throughout his tenure, Dudley Cosmetology University in Kernersville, NC and 4 strategically located schools in the Dudley Beauty School System (DBSS) were created. Through dedication, hard work and persistence, Joe L. Dudley, Sr. has indeed become the role model his mother always knew he could be. Joe L. Dudley, Sr. is much more than just a successful entrepreneur. He is known nationally and internationally as an inspirational speaker and humanitarian who spends much of his time identifying needs and giving back to the community and mankind. In 2009, Joe L. Dudley, Sr. & Eunice Dudley were featured in a national movie, Good Hair, a Chris Rock documentary about the hair care industry.

Transition to Second Generation Leadership
Over the past 40 years through dedication, hard work and persistence, she has helped take the DudleyQ+ Brand from very humble beginnings to a respected and world reknowned position in the Beauty Industry.

In June 2008, Joe & Eunice Dudley restructured the Dudley conglomerate and turned over all day to day responsibilities over to their daughter, Ursula Dudley Oglesby who began Dudley Beauty Corp, LLC.

Recipient of Numerous Awards
He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the following:

President George Bush's 467th Point of Light Award for Dudley Fellows and Ladies Program
The Direct Selling Association (DSA) Vision For Tomorrow Award (Dudley Fellows & Ladies Program)
Maya Angelou Tribute To Achievement Award
Inc. Magazine's North Carolina Master Entrepreneur Award
2005 Trumpet Award Winner
Inducted into The National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame (Business/Industry)
Elected to The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans
Inducted into the DSA Hall of Fame
Author of Walking By Faith, I AM, I CAN, & I WILL
Joe Dudley, Sr. discusses his successful principle-centered and highly effective entrepreneurial recipe. It features 10 basic principles. A few of these principles are listed below.

  • Change Your Attitude to Change Your Life
  • Accept Challenge in Faith
  • Don’t Add Loss to Loss
  • Make a Difference in the World

His philosophy, actions, beliefs, successes and failures are presented to reveal his secrets to success. In straightforward, easily understood prose, Dudley uses his own life story to show you how to walk by faith and make your dreams come true.

To purchase Walking By Faith, I AM, I CAN, & I WILL, click on the link below.


Monday, June 29, 2015


CHICAGO (WLS) -- Kenwood Academy's valedictorian, Arianna Alexander, wants to go to college to learn about business. As it turns out, she has a number of options.

"It was a lot to take in. I received emails, letters. It was just like, 'Come here, come here!' They were bombarding me with all this information," Arianna said.

Arianna hails from Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. She graduated with a 5.1 grade point average on a 4.0 scale.

She was accepted to 26 universities, including six Ivy League schools. Her scholarship offers total more than $3 million.

"I feel like it means I can afford college and I don't have to worry about it. I feel like that's an issue for a lot of people my age," Arianna said.

Her father encouraged her, after another Kenwood student was offered more than $1 million in scholarships a few years ago.

"I planted the seed in Arianna's mind that you can do the same thing. So when the process got started and a million was achieved, let's go for two. I said let's go for three and she did it," said Pierre Alexander, Arianna's father.

Arianna is the baby of the family. She has three older siblings.

"It was a big blessing, because I've already put three through college. Now I don't have to worry too much about her," Pierre said.

Arianna has also picked a school, thanks to Paul Brush, one of her teachers. She plans to attend University of Pennsylvania.

"He said, 'Do you know about the Wharton School of Business?' I said, 'I have no idea what you're talking about,'" Arianna said.

"As teachers, we have a big moment to play with the lives that we have in our classrooms," Brush said.

Her family has also influenced her. Arianna recounted her dad's words: "Work hard, pray on it, and don't give up. No matter what happens, you did your best."

"My wife and I have always stressed to her, if you do your best, you will be the best. So we try to make sure she upholds to that," Pierre said.

"So as long as you work hard, I feel like there is always a way for you," Arianna said.

After all, there is still more to achieve besides high school.

"When she graduates from Penn, that will be a second goal. We expect bigger and better things for her," he said.

Monday, June 1, 2015

National Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA)

BDPA is an international organization with a diverse membership of professionals and students at all levels in the fields of information technology, computer science and related S.T.E.M fields. Members are actively engaged in serving the community through outreach and charting the future of the IT industry.

Our Successes:

  • BDPA co-founder Earl Pace is inducted into the CompTIA IT Hall of Fame. More..
  • BDPA is celebrating its 40th year anniversary in 2015 location: Washington, DC More...
  • BDPA is the largest professional technology organization for Blacks/ African Americans and other minorities in the United States.
  • BDPA has grown to 45 chapters across the United States, which provides a safe environment for minorities in IT to network with other IT professionals, gain exclusive boardroom leadership experience at the local chapter & national levels, and strengthening the skills necessary to advancing in their respective IT careers.
  • BDPA has become a critical pipeline of diverse talent for employers across all industries requiring qualified Information Technology professionals in the United States. 
  • BDPA trains 800 to 1200 high school students across the nation every year in computer programming and web development; BDPA has trained more students to write code than any other non-profit organization in the United States since 1986; period.
  • BDPA has an awesome scholarship program which is generously supported through sponsorships, and offers over $100,000 annually in cash awards to high school and college students.
  • BDPA amasses the most significant accumulation of minority IT professionals in the United States at its annual National Technology Conference.

Our History

Founded as the Black Data Processing Associates in 1975 by Earl Pace and David Wimberly (Photo not available), BDPA was created to bring underrepresented minorities together who were working in the information technology and computer science field for the purpose of professional development and academic enrichment.

Our Mission

BDPA is a global member focused technology organization that delivers programs and services for the professional well-being of its stakeholders.

Our Vision

Be a powerful advocate for our stakeholders' interests within the global technology industry.

BDPA Strategic Priorities

1. Operational Cleanup – Fiscally sound practices and improved productivity.
2. Transformational Change – Organizationally aligned for significant membership growth.
3. Value Proposition – A premier provider of programs and service for all stakeholders.

What Does BDPA Offer?
Since 1975, BDPA has been a champion for the next generation of IT leadership. As an organization of highly respected Information and Technology professionals BDPA offers a unique opportunity to connect with others to share knowledge amongst a community of peers through:

Annual National BDPA Technology Conference - For the past 35 years, BDPA Conferences have provided opportunities for innovators to get the knowledge, access, and resources that are critical to stay on top. Click here to see a list of past National BDPA Conferences.

Local Chapter Events - With over 40 chapters nationwide, IT professionals are able to meet face to face and network.

Continuing Education & Professional Development (Events) - Cutting edge technologies and certifications. Webinars and articles that speak to best practices and the latest trends in Information technology. Online tools and publications: Professional Publications, Job Board, Diversity/Careers Magazine, bdpatoday and BDPA iRadio.

Academic Scholarships and Mentoring - For students and professionals Scholarships made available through the BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF). BETF is a 501(c)3 non-profit charity.

Career Opportunities - As a member you have access to the latest job announcements, have your resume seen by recruiters as a part of our member database. Connections are made at every BDPA Conference and online. Attend the Career Fair Expo and meet representatives from sponsoring corporations, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and graduate schools, to learn about the latest technologies and career options in the STEM fields. And much more!

Corporate Sponsorship Opportunities - BDPA's Corporate Sponsorship Program develops formal alliances with corporate America that enables us to succeed in our mission. We collaborate with our corporate partners in four key areas:

Our recruiting resources reach all levels of a national pool of qualified information technology professionals to support your efforts to maintain a diverse workforce. Employers click here to post a job.

Our career development services enhance the technical and professional skills of your current and future minority IT professionals to accelerate their value to your company. Click here to learn about our prestigious Corporate Eplison and Best Companies for Blacks in Technology Award Programs.

Community Outreach:
We foster partnerships with our sponsors to build their recognition within the community through activities that help close the digital divide, and increase community proficiency using technology.

Supplier Diversity:
We provide networking opportunities to share expertise and creating business opportunities between our sponsors and BDPA's entrepreneur members.

The BDPA Corporate Sponsorship Program offers corporations an opportunity to partner with BDPA to meet corporate goals and objectives for recruiting, employee development, and philanthropic endeavors. Please click here for more information on corporate sponsorship opportunities.

Community Outreach - National BDPA Student Programs - Student Information Technology Education and Scholarship (SITES) & National High School Computer Competitions (HSCC) and Youth Technology Camp (YTC) - African American students are only awarded three percent of all Computer Science & Engineering related degrees. The BDPA HSCC program is standing in that gap and has become a pipeline for future Computer Science & Engineering students. Designed to introduce Middle School and High School Students to concepts of Information Technology and Business Acumen. Students will have the opportunity to participate in training sessions on compete on a national level for scholarships. Please click here to read HSCC student testimonials. Professionals who love to give back to their communities by volunteering their time can be recognized via the Presidents Volunteer Service Awards.

Opportunities for leadership - Be a part of the leadership team shaping the future of the organization.
Social Network Communities - BDPA has a Social Networking Community of over 70,000+ IT industry connections.

Join BDPA!
Be part of a national movement and make a difference in the lives of African American information technology professionals as we work together to create the changes needed for diverse work environments and supportive communities.

So the next time someone asks, Where are the Blacks in Information Technology? Where are the Blacks In Technology? Where are Information Technology Thought Leaders? Where are the Blacks In STEM? Where are the Black Digital Leaders of the future? Tell them they are all in BDPA!

Advantages of BDPA Membership
Learn More About Membership
Read Our Privacy Statement

BDPA National Headquarters:

9500 Arena Drive
Suite 106
Largo, Maryland 20774
Office Number (301) 584-3135
Office Fax (301) 560-8300


Friday, May 1, 2015

9-Year-Old Nigerian Becomes World’s Youngest Microsoft Certified Professional

Nigeria has come on the global scene in the information communication technology sector, as 9-year-old Jomiloju Tunde-Oladipo joined the community of achievers when he became one of the world’s youngest 2013 certified Microsoft Office specialists for Office Word 2010.

Jomiloju, a primary 6 pupil of Role Model School, owned by DayStar Christian Centre, Oregun, Ikeja Lagos, broke the record created in 2012 by 10-year-old JSS1 student, Seyi-Ojo Anjolaoluwa, who was adjudged the youngest Nigerian and one of the youngest people in the world to have become a Microsoft certified professional.

Jomiloju took the July 2013 examination while in primary 5, after passing all the preparatory stages leading to the final examinations following intense teachings in school and trainings he received from United Global Resources Ltd, an accredited ICT training firm.

Odion Oyakhire, the center manager in charge of the school noted that his firm, “encourages pupils to learn ICT and get certified.”

Oyakhire explained that his firm coordinates the certification examinations for several schools and was proud to associate with Jomiloju and Role Model School on this feat. He said that the certification examination is an online, real-time test.

Before setting this new record in Nigeria for the certification examination, Jomiloju led his school to glory in June 2013, when they won an ICT quiz competition with 15 participating school in Lagos. The competition was put together by United Global Resources.

The examination report showed Jomiloju scored 769 points, 69 points higher than the required 700 to be recognized as a Microsoft Office Specialist.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Meet Jasmine: She Graduated High School With 3 College Degrees, Has Won Civic Award

The town of Flint, Michigan is home to an amazing young woman. At just 19 years of age Jasmine Cofield has accomplished more than many do in an entire lifetime. She graduated from high school last year but before she was handed her diploma she already had three college degrees under her belt. She is currently a senior in Central Michigan University. This year she was named the 2015 Newman Civic Fellow.

The award is handed out to college students that demonstrate empathy for others. They show that they are capable of finding real-world solutions to problems that affect the communities around them and make sure that they help the community by implementing those solutions. This year Cofield will be traveling with Global Bridges to Honduras to help volunteer in clinics that provide much needed services to the communities that are struggling with health issues. She has been all over the country with a program called the Alternative Break program which is sponsored by the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center. With this group Cofield has gone to help rebuild homes that were destroyed in the South by Hurricane Katrina. She has helped in facilities that treat HIV/AIDS patients in Atlanta by helping to restore the facilities to a more modern place.

While attending Mott Middle College, which is where she completed all of her high school courses, Cofield also studied at Mott Community College. The Middle College is a transitional program that integrates high school classes and college classes. The students end up graduating from the Middle College with a high school diploma and 15 college credits. Cofield ended up with three Associate degrees from Mott Community College before she even got her diploma. She kept a 4.0 average all through college and ended high school with a 3.97 GPA. She did so well in her schooling that she earned enough money in scholarships to cover her Bachelor’s degree studies at Central Michigan University. She is studying to become a Physician’s Assistant in Neuroscience.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Compton's Mayor Aja Brown Promises 'the Best Is Yet to Come'

Inside a new community center in Compton, California, music can be heard. It’s the very first song played at a new after-school program designed to keep children safe and sound in the city that’s come to be associated with gangs and violence.

But Compton is undergoing a change.

Juan Ruiz, an instructor, said he developed the program with the help of the city’s mayor, Aja Brown.

Now, the 32-year-old Brown, a Democrat, has injected more than just music into the city since she was elected in 2013.

Horse Program Keeps Hartford Youth Out of Trouble
Brown’s own grandmother was murdered in a home invasion in the city before Brown was born.

“I was able to see the impact it had on my entire family and especially my mother,” she said.

After she graduated from the University of Southern California with honors, Brown worked behind the scenes in urban planning for 10 years before being elected as mayor in 2012. She beat her opponents -- the incumbent and a former mayor -- handily, and hit the ground running.

In city development meetings, Brown said, she’s usually the only woman.

Her greatest lesson comes from her own mother, who taught her to “be committed and to make sacrifices and ... put something in front of you, do something bigger than yourself,” she said.

Brown ended cronyism by making city fiscal business contract decisions and choices and invoices fully transparent and public. And that's not all.

“Our crime rate is down 25 percent," she said. "Our unemployment rate [is] down 5 percent, and we have nearly 1,000 new jobs coming into the community.”

Today, the sound of urban renewal -- jackhammers and construction -- can be heard throughout the city.

“We’re actually bringing major, major retail to the city of Compton, as we speak,” Brown said.

Ruiz credited Brown with the progress in the city.

“We are proud of our mayor,” he said, adding that Brown is loved and is changing lives.

“You can feel it,” he said.

Brown shares his enthusiasm.

“I’m proud of the work that we’ve been able to accomplish here, and I’m excited because I know that the best is yet to come,” she said.