Black & Magazine Staff
NSBE SIG San Diego Chapter has been on the scene since October 2019, keeping important conversations going and helping individuals get their creative juices flowing.
NSBE, which stands for the National Society of Black Engineers, was created in 1976 with the goal of establishing a student organization that would help improve the recruitment and retention of Black engineering students. In addition, the SIG component exists, which stands for Special Interest Groups. These signature programs in NSBE are “chartered to link NSBE with technology and policy and promote technical excellence among NSBE graduate and technical professional members.” Through SIG, members are engaged, exploring areas of interest by experiencing technical workshops, developing scientific products, and a host of other things.
Recently Black & Magazine had an opportunity to chat with the local leadership of NSBE SIG and even jump on a Happy Hour Zoom. Meet Jayton and Brian, who share a little more about the work that NSBE SIG does.
Black & Magazine: What are your titles and roles within NSBE SIG and how long?
Jayton Harps– I’m the President of the NSBE Entrepreneur Special Interest Group (SIG) – San Diego Chapter. My role is to establish long and short-term goals, plans, programs, and strategies for the organization. I also create and maintain relationships with the community and provide resources, business opportunities, and tools for aspiring entrepreneurs. In addition, I’m also the Programs Chair for the NSBE Entrepreneur SIG. This role consists of designing, implementing, and maintaining programs for the benefit of the members. Both roles I’ve been a part of since August 2019.
Brian Ware – I’m the Co-Director of the NSBE National Entrepreneur SIG. My role is identical to Jayton’s, but I serve the entire organization of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), which also has 3rd-12th grade (NSBE Jr.), collegiate, professional, and international members. I am entering the 2nd year of a 2-year term in this role but have held several leadership roles from Collegiate President (Jayton too) as well as Professional Chair in San Diego and the Western region over the past 12 years. I am also the advisor for the NSBE Entrepreneur SIG – San Diego group.
Black & Magazine: What was the goal when creating the NSBE SIG First Tuesday
J&B: After having a NSBE SIG Entrepreneurship mixer at the Black owned restaurant The OWL in downtown San Diego during the NSBE Professional Development Conference, which brought over 500 people, a couple of locals came up to us and thought we should continue having the mixer. We got together and brainstormed how to proceed. We remembered years ago there was Tasteful Tuesdays which brought a variety of individuals to pursue entrepreneurship, networking opportunities, and more to the community. We wanted to replicate this type of experience to those interested and thus NSBE SIG First Tuesdays was born.
Black & Magazine: How many people would attend the in-person events?
J&B: Approximately 50 to 80 people
Black & Magazine: What was the most common request for NSBE SIG events?
J&B: The most common request is to hear about people [who have ventured into] and [have] identify different types of entrepreneurship. Also having at [the event] different locations for those traveling to the event.
Black & Magazine: What was the overall feedback?
J&B: The overall feedback [has been very] receptive! People liked that there were so many young, talented professionals all related to entrepreneurship. They enjoyed meeting new people, connecting, and hearing entrepreneurs pitch their ideas. Also having a diversity of industries represented.
Black & Magazine: What has kept y’all going?
J&B: The feedback and energy. People kept asking “When’s the next event?”, “How often do you meet?”, “What’s the goal?”. We loved the engagement and passion of the members.
Black & Magazine: What did you think the response would be when you switched Happy Hour to Zoom?
J&B: We thought people would not want to join another “Zoom” meeting. True, but then again, we felt people would want to tune in with us to see how we’d respond.
Black & Magazine: How many people have you been averaging on the Zooms?
J&B: Over 40
Black & Magazine: What are the next steps?
J&B: The next step is to empower our members to become revenue generating entrepreneurs. This includes providing workshops, forming a mastermind group to share knowledge and the latest information, and more.
Black & Magazine: What is a misconception about the group?
J&B: The misconception is that you have to be an engineer or Black to join the group. Anyone can participate with us no matter what background they come from.
Black & Magazine: What would you like to add?
J&B: We understand not everyone wants to become an entrepreneur, but what happens if you get released from your job? COVID-19 has clearly shown nothing is promised and things can turn for the worse in an instant. We want to emphasize that learning a skillset, taking action, and starting a business is essential to survive. Also having a network of like-minded individuals will help you further along your journey to success.
If you’d like to participate in the next Happy Hour Zoom on June 2nd at 5:30 pm, simply register on Eventbrite here: