$1M Scholarship Challenge
Also published on LinkedIN
We started Infrastructure Masons in 2016 with a simple vision – Unite the builders of the Digital Age. Our goal was to create a platform where infrastructure professionals connect, grow and give back.
I’m proud to say we have a great start on that vision. We’ve enabled thousands of professionals in over 60 countries to connect through local chapters, leadership summits, conference engagements, data center tours, leadership insights, guest lecturing, awards, working groups, and committees. These engagements have led to a countless number of new member connections enabling career opportunities and business deals. Our members have also provided consistent feedback that the leave your company at the door strategy, and participating in working sessions and tech lightning rounds at local chapters, and leadership meetings as well as participation in the various committees helps them contribute and grow personally and professionally.
One of the most rewarding aspects of our new community is how we give back. This has materialized in many different ways, with the most visible being charitable giving. As an association, we’ve raised over $100,000 for the IM Fund, awarding the first $50k to complete the construction of a new school in Saiphai, India. Our remaining $50k has been focused on scholarships. Year to date, we have granted seven scholarships adhering to our 50/50 program, with at least 50% being awarded to women.
Paying It Forward
I didn’t choose this industry, I happened into it. One of my personal ways to give back is to share my career journey with students in high schools, vocational schools, universities, and colleges. It is an incredibly rewarding experience for me to share what I have learned and offer thoughts to those who are sitting in the same seat I did over 30 years ago. I let them know that it is ok to not know what you want to do yet. It’s also ok to explore to find what you really love to do and go after it.
When I look back, I’m still amazed at the opportunities I was given to learn and advance. That came through my endless curiosity, passion for the work, and people believing in me. They took a chance on me and I want to continue to pay that forward. I love this industry and the contribution we make to the world. We are the builders of the digital age after all. 🙂
As our professional association has grown, we’ve seen a common challenge emerge – The inability to attract new talent is a major threat to our industry. It’s all about the people. This is evident in my day job, industry and school presentations, and many peer conversations. Some factors contributing to this gap:
- We have an aging population. The average years of experience in our membership base is 21.
- We have a talent pipeline that is drying up. Students don’t see this field opportunity while in high school or college.
- We have a diversity gap, especially with gender, where less than 10% of our industry being female.
What is abundantly clear is that students, as well as the general population, are unaware of what we do and its importance to the way the world functions. Nothing works without the digital infrastructure we build and operate, yet we have fewer and fewer students selecting this career path despite the opportunity to do something meaningful, travel the world, and reap the economic rewards from global growth. Bottom line, you don’t miss what you haven’t seen.
The iMasons leadership team decided to do something about that. Focus on education. Our strategy is straight forward.
Define the Industry Demand
- Define the Digital Infrastructure job ladder – In Development.
- Define the industry job heat map – In Development.
Align Education Programs
- Educate the educators on the sector and the potential for their students – On-going.
- Enroll schools in Digital Infrastructure Training and Education Programs – On-going.
- Connect cornerstone curriculum – Define Digital Infrastructure 101 course – In Development.
- iMasons Scholarship award program with approved institutions – Underway.
Increase Industry Awareness
- Align mentoring and internship programs – In Development.
- Share what we do as an industry and a community – On-going.
The industry Challenge
At the London Leadership Meeting we made a public commitment – Increase the iMasons scholarship fund to $1M to drive scholarship awards. That’s a 20x growth target similar to many of the silicon valley unicorns.
Our focus is to bridge the talent gap, one block at a time. We are doing this through personal and corporate donations.
- Personal – Individuals can donate any amount here. Tax deductible in the US.
- Corporate – Corporations can donate in $5k building blocks by contacting email@example.com.
- Both – companies and individual members can participate in Food for Thought iMasons dinners in your local area. Each attendee will raise funds for scholarships program just by participating.
We all have been blessed by this growing industry. We hope that you will join us in our $1M challenge. If you have more ideas, don’t hesitate to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, we would love for you to join the iMasons global community and help further Unite the Builders of the Digital Age!