We all know SIM as the gathering place for the leaders throughout the IT industry. With more than 5,000 members nationwide, SIM is built on a foundation of local chapters that come together to share and enhance their rich intellectual capital for the benefit of SIM members and their organizations.
This month, SIM’s very first chapter, the Capital Area Chapter will celebrate its 40th Anniversary. We caught up with the chapter’s Chairman Emeritus, Joe Malfesi, to learn more about the chapter’s early days and where it’s looking to grow in the future.
The Early Days
When the chapter first began in 1979 the industry looked a lot different than it does today. Back then, the average person only communicated via phone calls. Although home computers and dial-up internet connections were being introduced to the masses, they were still far from what we recognize today, where everyone literally has multiple touchpoints for communication at the palm of their hands with cell phones, tablets, and smartwatches. The abilities of these devices have more computing power than the mainframes of that time. Needless to say, over the last 40 years, technology has grown leaps and bounds like never before!
Of course, over the last 40 years, the Capital Area Chapter has overcome its fair share of challenges. In addition to geographical challenges, the chapter faced a significant decline of members with the creation of the Federal CIO position and comparable organization for government CIOs. But over the last few years, the chapter has grown back to 100 plus members. Joe credits the chapter’s efforts on social media for the growth. Value added by SIM National programs, such as RLF, APC, Members in Transition help as well.
Today the chapter is focused on its philanthropic efforts. By making an effort to get event sponsors, the chapter can run their monthly events at little to no costs for its members, allowing them to use excess funds to pay more attention to those philanthropy efforts. As the chapter continues to grow, they would like to move towards making larger donations to established organizations in the STEM field, with a particular focus on young women and the underrepresented.
Looking Towards the Future
In the next 40 years, the chapter hopes to continue their efforts fulfilling the SIM mission by providing a place for IT leaders to share, network, and give back to their communities through their various events and initiatives. Adapting as the technology changes, the chapter will also continue to build the next generation of IT leaders through its STEM outreach program.
Advice for Other Chapters
Being around for the last 40 years, the Capital Area Chapter has learned a lot of lessons. For chapters looking reach their 40th anniversary, Joe Malfesi says to always have fresh content, don’t repeat what everyone can find elsewhere. Listen to your members and provide choices, whether that’s locations for events, content choices, etc.
To celebrate this incredible milestone, the SIM Capital Area Chapter will be hosting an event on October 29th at the Virginia Tech Research Center in Arlington. In addition to reminiscing on the past 40 years in the SIM Area Capital Area Chapter, the event will also look towards the future of AI, the Internet, and date in open societies. Plus, special guests SIM’s CEO, Mark Taylor, and event speaker, Dr. David A. Bray. To learn more about the event or to purchase tickets visit SIM Capital Area Chapter’s website.
Celebrating 40 Years