by Eva Casale, past President and Mike Gadaleta, past Vice-President

Greeting fellow DISC members!  May this edition of inside DISC  find all of you well!  Exciting times are before us here within DISC, so I don’t want to waste any more time – let the information flow!

First, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you, if you haven’t already done so, renew your annual membership.  Remember, the membership is good for the calendar year – January 1st through December 31st.  If it helps, set a reoccurring calendar appointment for every January 1st.

As we look forward to DISC 2010, we head to the north – the Great White North and Toronto, Ontario Canada.  As the Archdiocese of Toronto tidies up the preparations for what promises to be a memorable conference, a few reminders as the date approaches:

1. Make sure to get your passport.  There is key information in this newsletter on how to obtain a passport.  Even the little ones need a passport, so don’t waste any time!
2. If you have the time, plan on extending your trip.  There is a ton of things to do in Toronto, or even a short drive will get you a ton more fun!
3. Be sure to check out the Pre-Conference itinerary.  Please review the Pre-Conference info on page 7.

The DISC Board of Directors is also excited to announce a new endeavor with another quality resource vendor – InfoTech Research Group – to help with our very busy schedules.  Over the last 8 months we have been working with InfoTech to negotiate some very aggressive pricing for membership.

Who is Info-Tech?  Info-Tech Research Group is an IT research and advisory firm. They provide 8,000 organizations around the world, and their 21,000 IT professionals/executives with practical advice, research and tools that help them save time, save money, improve IT operations and make better decisions. Moreover, research commonly used by their clients includes pre-made Templates, Policies and Job Descriptions. They also have Vendor Comparison reports, Cost Reduction Best Practices, and much more!  If you are not sure what InfoTech has to offer, please visit www.infotech.com for more information.  If you would like to speak to our representative at InfoTech, please feel free to contact Armando Guedez at 519-532-3550 x3048 or aguedez@infotech.com.  Please be sure to mention that you are a member of DISC to be considered for the special rates.  If you would like some personal references regarding InfoTech, feel free to contact Mike Gadaleta at vice-president@discinfo.org or 646-400-3440.

Changing gears a bit, in looking at future DISC conferences – 2011 hosted by the Diocese of Boise and 2012 hosted by the Archdiocese of Arlington – we have to look at the future of our membership.  In last years Open Board Meeting, we discussed the potential of the membership of DISC to maintain its existence.

The Evolution of DISC

The Diocesan Information Systems Conference (DISC) has existed for 26 years to support dioceses in their use of information systems to further the mission of the Catholic Church.  Since DISC’s origins as an interest group of the Diocesan Fiscal Managers Conference (DFMC), the organization has tried to keep pace with the ever changing world of information and technology, while balancing the needs to be focused on the pastoral needs of our evolving Church.

Today, the DISC organization is looking to the future to determine how it can best serve the Catholic Church in North America: its dioceses, parishes, schools, agencies and people. The DISC Board of Directors desire to evolve as an organization by pursuing opportunities to deepen the relationships with dioceses, other Catholic affiliated organizations and Catholic IT Professionals.  We have used the Catholic Medical Association (www.cathmed.org) as a model.

Proposal

The organization would focus on three key areas:

Dioceses
– We cannot lose the identity or importance of dioceses to our organization
– Presently voting members of the organization
– Focus on getting more diocesan members while recognizing that diocesan membership has a finite potential with only 250 dioceses in North America.
– Determine why 200+ Dioceses haven’t joined DISC and find solutions to those issues.

Catholic Affiliated Organizations
– Could include Catholic Hospitals, publishers, newspapers, Catholic news media, religious communities, etc.
– Presently DISC membership is open to other Catholic entities
– Presently they are classified as Associate Members therefore they cannot vote
– Focus on building this previously undeveloped segment of our membership

Catholic IT Professionals
– Focus on building relationships with IT professionals and provide ways to share and deepen their Catholic faith
– Individual organizational membership (potential voting members)
– Formation of regionally identifiable networks of IT Professionals into chapters or guilds
– Chapters or Guilds would be organized/sponsored at a local diocese or regional level
– Provide venues (conferences, retreats, etc.) to strengthen ones personal and professional faith
– The recognition of Catholic IT Professionals and individual membership has the greatest potential to impact our organization, dioceses and the Catholic Church.

Next Steps

The DISC Board of Directors and our Episcopal Moderator, Bishop Pates, have reached a consensus that the present time in the right time to change the Code of Regulations and implement the structure to support the three-tiered organization focused: Dioceses, Catholic Affiliated Organizations and Catholic Information Technology Professionals.  To identify this next evolutionary step DISC would evolve to become the Catholic Technology Association (CTA) or Catholic Information Technology Association (CITA).

There is much work to be done still to get a monumental change such as this even off the ground.  The Board of Directors would like to recommend that a committee be formed to maintain focus and concentration on this very important and organization-sustaining task.  We would like to discuss this via conference calls over the next few months and leading into the 2011 conference.

This will not be something we decide in a three day conference, rather something as a membership we will need to discuss over time.  But now is the time to make a change, or DISC as we know it – and cherish – may cease to exit.  The challenges are many, but because of those challenges we thrive!

We look forward to see you all at the conference in June.  See you then!

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