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GovLoop Project of Week: The BIG Experience

‘The BIG Experience’ is a weekly radio broadcast sponsored by Blacks in Government (BIG) that airs every Thursday at 11a ET. The show is designed to address a variety of issues that affect government employees at the Federal, state and local levels and to inform the overall community of scheduled events with the African-American and other minority communities. The overall objective is to broaden the scope of the existing listening base for WFED on issues that often go unnoticed, specifically within minority communities.

“Even though BIG sponsors the program, it was never really about BIG,” said Al Tyree, BIG’s National Communications and Public Relations Chairperson. “That’s why we broadened the topics to be relevant beyond African American Feds. That target audience is our primary focus, but it is our hope that content will be valuable to anyone who tunes in. In other words, it’s not just for African Americans, but for all Americans.”

Topics and guests have included:

Heritage Music Foundation, Dr. Margaret Pleasant Douroux, CEO and Founder
Impact of Fair Housing Evaluations, Dr. Percy Thomas, Founder and President of Success Behavior Institute (SBI)
Minority and Small Businesses, Mr. Herman L. Taylor, Jr., Delegate, 14th Legislative District – Montgomery County.
Overcoming Personal Struggles and Setbacks, Dr. Valerie Martin-Stewart, Founder and Executive Director, “Taking it by Force Outreach Ministries”
Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft, Mr. Michael Stanfield, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at CreditComm
Veterans Advocacy, Services and Support, Mr. Joe Wynn, President of the Veterans Enterprise Training and Service Group and the Legislative and Regional Director for the National Association for Black Veterans.
Workplace Etiquette and Federal Sector Competencies, Mrs. Dianne Floyd Sutton, President, Sutton Enterprises

In fact, many GovLoop members will be interested in the most recent guest – Linda Cureton, Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Listen for yourself to this episode, entitled “The Social CIO: Change Agent, Innovator, Optimist:”

While some of the initial topics and guests were determined in advance, the audience has had an important voice in the overall programming.

“We’ve had prospective guests call us and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got a topic that may interest your listeners’,” Tyree indicated. “Feedback from these folks has led to a dynamic show that actively responds to audience ideas.”

While many of the shows have been about professional topics, the most powerful – and possibly the most valuable – shows have been those that highlight the personal stories of guests. Tyree cites one show that featured a guest who had encountered significant challenges throughout her life, including the contemplation of suicide on several occasions. She has transformed the lessons learned in overcoming her struggles to help others alleviate personal and professional stress. Other guests have infused the personal experiences that prepared them to more effectively perform their professional functions.

The BIG Experience is hosted by J. David Reeves, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Real Estate Assessment Center. Throughout his career, he has also served as the Director of the HUD Washington, DC Field Office, Acting Director of Public Housing and Acting Field Office Director for the HUD Los Angeles Field Office. Mr. Reeves is a life member and previous president of BIG, which represents more than 3.5 million African-American civilian and military employees at the Federal, State and local government levels across the United States.

Reeves and Tyree worked collaboratively to make the vision of the show a reality. In addition to serving as the co-host and National Communications and Public Relations Chairperson, Tyree is a life member of BIG and the Director of Marketing and Communications at the Graduate School.

BY THE WAY: BIG is hosting the 2009 BIG National Conference at the Baltimore Convention Center from August 24-28, 2009. Next week’s program will broadcast from the conference, so be sure to attend and/or tune in!

In the meantime, you can also join the BIG Group here on GovLoop to participate in an ongoing conversation. Future episodes of the show will be posted within the group for the benefit of GovLoop members.

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Mark Hicks

Blacks In Government…you can NOT be serious. Why is it ok to promote or excel based upon ones color but wrong to base your decisions–on—-color….it’s still all about color.

Andrew Krzmarzick

Hi Mark – various groups gather based on areas of commonality or interest. That might be topical (a la #gov 20) or job-oriented (a la Acquisition) and, yes, cultural/racial (a la BIG). To the degree that BIG members help one another to move toward excellence in their careers, that’s really no different than any of the other membership organizations that have been created to support participants. Also, note that most of the topics on the radio show are not race-specific, but cover topics that would be relevant to anyone. I am sure that you are a member of several groups based on your interests or personal characteristics and and can relate, eh?

Mark Gordon

Wow, That’s so 1900’s. But you just keep on trucking on….more power to ya. Someday this race-based stuff will be in the past…..someday. Can’t wait.


Good post. There are many groups such as Federally Employed Women, BIG, Young Government Leaders, and SAIGE (American Indians) that caters to members of specific demographics. I think there is great value in bringing a tribe of like-minded folks together and associations and radio shows such as BIG do a great service. Hope to bring them on board to the GovLoop community and sharing ideas.