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ITSMF President’s Message June 2023

Dawn Jones |
June 25, 2023 |

Greetings, Family!

The Quantum Leap

The annual ITSMF graduation and capstone presentations for the Global Institute for Professional Development Academies were held this month in Atlanta. This year we graduated 124 tech executives. ITSMF’s Graduation is always spectacular, but this year was monumental for several reasons. The increasing size of each academy reflects our delivery on the promise of our mission.

In addition, the professionalism, creativity, innovation, and impact of each capstone reached a new level. In each Academy, participants began as strangers ten months earlier, with some commonalities in terms of ethnicity, profession, and corporate experience, but left as family. The three cohorts launched products, services, and ideas that rival that of a technology startup.

Each year the academy cohorts create a name for their cohort to secure their ongoing bond and brand going forward. For the Class of 2023, there were not only cohort names, but some cohorts had shirts, lapel pins, writing pens, swag bags, and much more. This speaks to their commitment to the journey and to each other.

As I sat in the first capstone presentation this year the energy and excitement were palatable…. I knew the presentations that day were going to be excellent, and they were.

The EMERGE Academy – 7Elements – created A Podcast titled EMERE-ing Beyond IT with 26 Pre-Recorded Episodes.

The Management Academy – POWER54 – created A Digital Escape Room with a Black Tech Digital History Museum and STEM Learning platform and piloted it at a Boys and Girls Club in Illinois.

The Executive Academy– The T.R.U.S.T. – produced 27 vlogs about each member’s Executive Leadership Experience.

Over 300 people attended graduation this year and applauded, took photos, and celebrated the deep commitment of our academy graduates. Ten months is a long time, especially in the face of rigorous work responsibilities, family responsibilities, and other personal commitments. The attendees heard resoundingly how much each participant was transformed, re-energized, inspired, and looking forward to deploying what they learned at work and looking forward to going to the next level of leadership.

What each academy participant now understands is that the pathway to reaching the highest-level of executive leadership in a Fortune 1000 company will not be reached by head-down grit and determination, doing what is expected, or even incremental step increases through annual evaluations. In the words of Executive Academy Graduation Speaker James Dallas…”It will take a quantum leap!”

The Class of 2023 can now evaluate what is required and expected once they make the leap, whether they choose to make the leap, and how to make the leap with the support of their new family and others that look like them and that are ready and willing to support them.

I can’t wait to see what happens next for the GIPD Class of 2023.



President and CEO, ITSMF


About Information Technology Senior Management Forum

Since 1996, Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF) has been dedicated to increasing the representation of Black professionals at senior levels in technology to impact organizational innovation and growth. We do this by developing and nurturing these dynamic leaders through enrichment of the mind, body and soul. At its inception, only 3% of senior-level positions in the technology industry were held by Blacks. With a half-million new computer-related jobs expected by 2028, ITSMF is committed to increasing the number of qualified Black professionals for these positions. For more information about ITSMF, visit www.itsmfleaders.org.

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