Lessons Learned at #NACE14

ongDavid Ong, Director, Corporate Recruiting, Maximus, Inc.
Twitter: @dtong2565
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/dave-ong/0/604/513

It’s been two weeks since the 2014 NACE Conference, and I’ve finally recovered from the profound lack of sleep that I experienced in San Antonio. (For those of you that weren’t there, the non-stop networking combined with the excitement in the city from the Spurs NBA title win turned our hotel complex into a never-ending celebration chamber!)

With my batteries now re-charged, here are a few general observations from the conference:

1) Our profession is in a very dynamic phase—Is it just me, or was anyone else just in awe of how many critical issues and trends are hitting simultaneously. From First Destinations to OFCCP to Big Data to STEM Education……It’s clear that the game is changing big time! The conference was the perfect opportunity to exchange ideas with my peers, my customers, and our affiliate members.

2) Our future looks bright—If the conference first-time attendee session was any indication, we’re in great hands. The new attendees seemed so highly engaged, inquisitive, and truly excited about being NACE members and they wanted to know how to get more involved, which bodes well for all of our members. Every year this group gets bigger. Case in point: We typically split the newcomers into groups of about 15 people, and we assign past or present NACE board members to facilitate discussion. To our shock, we actually ran short on NACE board representatives! (Kudos to our terrific conference co-chairs Maura Quinn from Liberty Mutual and Fred Burke from Baruch College for stepping in to facilitate!)

3) We have some great leaders at NACE—How can anyone not be impressed by the performance of our fearless leader, Dan Black of EY? The guy attended almost every organized event, chatted with virtually everyone he met, enlightened (and entertained) us with his “Early Show” interviews of NACE award winners. He threw down the ultimate challenge to our members with a new member outreach proposal. He also did a great job with the passing of the torch to President Sam Ratcliffe of VMI, who did a wonderful job of welcoming first-time attendees and gave us an enlightening glimpse into the college recruiting future. Like many of you, I’m really psyched to see what Sam has in store for all of us now that he’s the president!

One last comment….There is real power in blogging—I’ve got to be honest….When the folks at NACE asked me to consider writing this blog, I was a little hesitant. Questions like “What am I going to write about?” “Will anybody read it?” and “If they read it, will they fall asleep?” all entered into my head. Thankfully, the NACE conference changed my view of blogging after I had several encounters with attendees who recognized me from the blog photo (Note to self: Pick up a gift for our company photographer.) and asked to take a selfie with them, which promptly got posted on social media outlets (Other note to self: Learn to take selfies from above not below.) I heard from other NACE bloggers that they had similar experiences to mine, so a huge thanks to those of you that took the time to let us know that you’re enjoying this latest communications outlet from NACE!

That’s it for now….Next NACE stop for me: the Summer of 2014 Board of Directors meeting in Boston.

You’ll find a list of NACE’s Board of Directors on NACEWeb. If you’re interested in becoming a member of the NACE Blog Team, contact Claudia Allen.

First NACE Excursion Is a Hit!

NACE14 Excursion

Some NACE14 attendees hiked their way through a conference workshop on Monday, visiting three historic San Antonio locations for a presentation and a question-and-answer session with business representatives.
The 1.2-mile walk began at the Marriott Riverwalk. Attendees made their first stop at the Arneson River Theatre, an 800-seat amphitheater on the banks of the San Antonio River, with entrances into La Villita Historic Arts Village.

NACE14 Excursion 2

NACE14 Excursion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The excursion continued to The History Shop, a shop that carries original antique maps, antique books, militaria, and antique weapons. The shop specializes in Texas history: Spanish Colonial, Texas Revolution, Republic era, and the Civil War. The excursion ended with a 45-minute, 2.5-mile cruise. Rio San Antonio Cruises provided a narrated boat tour of the city.NACE14 Excursion 5

The NACE14 Excursion is a concept adapted from Jim Gilmor and Joe Pine (The Experience Economy: Work Is Theatre & Every Business a Stage) and their annual thinkAbout excursions.san antonio river cruise

Pictures From the NACE14 Conference in San Antonio!

The 2014 Conference & Expo opens in San Antonio!

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NACE President Dan Black and NACE Executive Director Marilyn Mackes welcome attendees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connect. Compare. Collaborate. Opening keynotes.

Henry Cisneros

Henry Cisneros

Sarah Michel

Sarah Michel

Tim Sanders

Tim Sanders

 

 

 

 

 

Then, colorful dancers and a Mariachi band close the opening ceremonies and lead attendees to the opening reception.

Colorful dancers and a Mariachi band at the opening ceremonies.

Colorful dancers and a Mariachi band at the opening ceremonies.

Exhibit hall

Exhibit hall

Preconference workshops

Preconference workshops

Registration

Registration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Do You Know About San Antonio?

What do you know about San Antonio? Here are some trivial bits to pull out when the conversation wanes:

  • Fritos corn chips were invented in San Antonio in 1932.
  • Movie actress Joan Crawford and comedienne Carol Burnett were born in San Antonio.
  • San Antonio is the seventh largest city and the third fastest growing city in the United States.
  • Conde Nast Traveler ranks San Antonio as the number two U.S. travel destination, and number nine worldwide destinations.
  • The San Antonio Zoo is celebrating its “zootennial,” its 100-year anniversary. It’s the seventh largest zoo in the United States.
  • San Antonio is home to 85,000 military personnel. Fort Sam Houston is the headquarters for the U.S. Army Medical Command as well as the home of the Fifth Army. Nearby Air Force bases include Lackland, Randolph, and Brooks.
  • Tower of the Americas, built in 1968 for the World’s Fair, is a 750-foot tower in HemisFair Park offering a 360-degree view of San Antonio.
  • Chili was invented in San Antonio and was “introduced” to the nation at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893.
  • Babe Ruth and the Yankees used to hold spring exhibition games in San Antonio.
  • Tommy Lee Jones, actor and an eighth-generation Texan, owns several ranches in Texas, including a home in a suburb just outside San Antonio.
  • Shaquille O’Neal played high school basketball in San Antonio, and in 1989 helped his team go 36-0 for the season, earning him the title of San Antonio Express-News Sportsman of the Year.
  • San Pedro Springs Park, founded in the 1800s, is the United States’ second oldest park. (Boston Common in Massachusetts was founded in 1630.)
  • San Antonio is home to the largest of the three SeaWorld Parks.
  • The 21-story Milam Building, built in 1928 and located in downtown San Antonio, was the first fully air-conditioned high-rise building in the United States. The original system piped chilled water past fans that circulated cool air.
  • Fiesta San Antonio, a 10-day celebration that began in 1891, happens every April to honor the heroes of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto. There are parades, special Fiesta medals and pins, music (including jazz, mariachi, and tejano), food and drink, and more entertainment.
  • Lyndon B. Johnson and Lady Bird were married in San Antonio at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, across from Travis Park downtown.
  • What are people in San Antonio called? Texans.

Easy-Breezy Tips for Attending the 2014 Conference

If you’re new to NACE’s annual conference, if you’ve never been to San Antonio, or if you’re looking to make your conference experience easy-breezy, here are some tips:

barcodeNEW TECHNOLOGY this year! Scan-and-go stations will help attendees pick up their name badges! Bring the special e-mail with the barcode sent to all pre-registered attendees with you to the registration area. Scan the barcode, and then proceed to the badge pick-up station to get your name badge.

Choose your shoes for comfort. Business casual is the recommended dress for the event, but comfortable shoes are the key. While all conference events are within a short walking distance, going to workshops, visiting the exhibit hall, and hitting the general sessions means the potential for a lot of wear and tear on your feet. Pack your most comfortable shoes.

thermometerKeep your water bottle filled. Temperatures are rising in June in San Antonio. Daily highs are typically in the low 90s; daily lows in the low 70s. Drink water frequently. Keep the water bottle in your registration package filled using the water stations placed throughout the conference area!

appDownload the app. Set up your itinerary and use your smartphone or tablet as your daily guide. The conference app offers access to information on all workshops and sessions. It also links you with NACE’s social media so you’ll get fresh updates on all conference activities. You can also message other app users through the app. (Go to your app store and search for NACE14. The app is free.)

conference-human-signageLook for flags and signs. You don’t have to be an explorer to find your way around. NACE will post teal and orange flags along the route between the two hotels and convention center—all sites of conference activities. Look, too, for NACE staff holding lollipop signs directing you to the next activity.

If the shirt is green, it’s Sunday. Questions? Looking for help? NACE staff is easily identifiable by the color of their shirts. Look for staff in emerald green shirts on Sunday. On Monday, the shirt of the day is rich red. Tuesday is blue. Wednesday is purple!

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Identify your colleagues at a glance! Badges are color coded this year. Employers badgesget red badges; career services professionals get blue badges; and business affiliates will wear purple badges.

Snag a little Wi-Fi. You can get your Wi-Fi free in the NACE space at the hotels and convention center, including session rooms and public areas. It is not available in the exhibit hall or the Grand Ballroom at the Marriott Rivercenter. Password: NACE14.

smiley_faceSmile pretty! A photographer and a videographer are documenting the conference with pictures and videos to be used in promotional materials and publications, on the website, and on other platforms. If you don’t want your photo taken/used in this way, please notify the photographer/videographer or a NACE staff member.

 

NACE14 attendees! Register for any of five free webinars based on popular workshops at the conference.

 

What Happened in Vegas…Didn’t Stay in Vegas

ongDavid Ong, Director, Corporate Recruiting, Maximus, Inc.
Twitter: @dtong2565
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/dave-ong/0/604/513

So it’s official, I’m now a NACE blogger! For those who don’t know me, I manage corporate and campus recruiting activities for MAXIMUS, a professional services firm in Reston, Virginia. I’ve also been a long-time NACE member (for nearly 15 years). After serving on the Board of Directors from 2011-2013, I will soon be the new Vice President, Employer, starting this July.

As I prepare for these new responsibilities (which you’ll be hearing about in the coming months if you follow this blog), I find myself occasionally reminiscing about my early (aka, clueless) years as a NACE member. So join me for a trip down memory lane to my first official NACE event—the 2001 Conference in Las Vegas—and how it impacted my career.

If you’re a newer member, you might not be aware that up until 2001, the NACE conference was an every-three-years event. Thankfully, the NACE leadership team had the strategic vision to change it to an annual conference (more on a couple of these leaders later).

So just how did these three-days in Vegas change the course of my career?

I established new relationships. Back then, I had just finished my first year of recruiting for Citigroup in NYC, and was busy building relationships with several new schools from which I’d never recruited. One of those schools was New York University, whose career center was headed by Trudy Steinfeld (#nyuwasserboss). To get to know her team a little better, I invited Trudy and her staff to join my team for a “refreshment break” on the first afternoon of the trip.

Obviously, we spent a good deal of our time talking about recruiting initiatives, but we also veered off to more social conversations where we immediately hit it off. That first conversation not only established a connection between my employer and NYU, but also created the beginnings of an invaluable friendship. Today, I can count on Trudy for guidance and advice (and the occasional refreshment break).

I met NACE leaders. This conference was my first exposure to the NACE leadership team. As (lady) luck would have it, I met then-NACE President, Kathy Sims from UCLA right after the opening session. She was so welcoming to me, a relatively new member of NACE. [On a side note, having served on the Board of Directors, I now know the President has a crazy conference schedule, so the time she took to get to know me is even more impressive.]

Kathy asked about my background, my goals for the conference, and when I was going to start recruiting at UCLA (naturally)! And, being a great leader that she is, she asked me if I was interested in becoming more involved with NACE. Flash forward 10 years and Kathy was one of my nominators for the Board of Directors and provided me with a ton of advice and encouragement when I decided to run for Vice President. You may be aware that Kathy has announced her retirement from UCLA, so I have many bittersweet feelings as I write this.

I experienced a range of emotions. I remember the gamut of feelings running through me from the start of the opening session all the way to the end of the conference. Nervousness because I didn’t know many other attendees. Confusion over what sessions to attend. Frustration at not being able to remember the names of everyone I met. Awe of all the learning opportunities. Appreciation for the generosity of my peers as they shared their knowledge. And that was all okay because I got so much out of the experience.

Fortunately that year, what happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas. The networking that took place led to relationships that lasted well beyond the initial three-day conference. So whether you are attending this year’s conference for the first time (or second or third or fourth, for that matter), I hope that you will make the most of your experience. Track me down, tweet me at the conference, or just stop to say hello. If you can’t attend this year, start thinking about next year—trust me, it will be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make!

NACE14 attendees! Register for any of five free webinars based on popular workshops at the conference.

Take a Side Trip or Two While You’re in San Antonio

While you are busy at the NACE 2014 Conference, there are plenty of things that your spouse and your children can do in San Antonio. Here are a few, with links to detailed information:

The Alamo & Missions: Five Spanish colonial missions are located in San Antonio. The Alamo—Mission San Antonio de Valero—was the first built and served as a way station between Texas and Mexico. An IMAX movie theater at the Alamo offers a depiction of the Battle of the Alamo.

Riverwalk: The San Antonio River Walk is a public walkway along the San Antonio River, one story lower than the streets of downtown San Antonio that features shops and restaurants.

El Mercado: The Marketplace, featuring a farmer’s market, street vendors, souvenir stands, dozens of shops, working artists, musicians, dancers, and Mexican food, is a 15-minute walk from Riverwalk.

Japanese Tea Garden: A public park located near the San Antonio Zoo, the tea garden features an open-air pagoda, koi ponds, and a waterfall.

Tower of the Americas: Climb to the observation deck of this 750-foot observation tower/restaurant in HemisFair Park to get a 360-degree view of San Antonio. The tower was built for the 1968 World’s Fair.

San Antonio Zoo: Cranes of the World, Toadally, Africa Live!, Butterflies. More than 9,000 animals on 56 acres. This is the “zootennial,” of the San Antonio Zoo, celebrating its 100-year-anniversary.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas: Dress comfortably. Wear sneakers. Take your bathing suit if you want to use the water park.

SeaWorld San Antonio: See the sea lions, dolphins, turtles, penguins, and beluga whales.

Enchanted Springs Ranch: An old western town out of the 1800s, a theme park, a movie set used for western films and commercials, this 86-acre working ranch is home to Texas longhorns, horses, buffalo, and more.

Try this link for information on other things to do in San Antonio.

Get information on the National Association of Colleges and Employers!

Don’t-Miss #NACE 14 Sessions

If you’re a first-timer at the NACE14 conference, here are some don’t-miss suggestions from several of the NACE Conference Committee members:

Meg J. Flood, campus recruiter for EY: For first timers, I highly recommend the first-timer’s session as it provides amazing networking opportunities so you can build connections early in the conference. Also:

  • Diversity and Inclusion Breakfast
  • Awards Presentation. It’s always inspiring to hear what others are doing and great to support colleagues!

Toni McLawhorn, director of career services at Roanoke College: Three things I would not miss at the conference or that I would recommend for others to be sure to do:

  1.  Attend the opening conference reception, it’s one of the few times you’ll get to network with everyone at one time, in one place, and get the conference started off right!
  2. Attend as many of the break-out sessions as you can—one of the reasons for attending conferences is for professional development, and with the fast-paced changes in our industry, we need to keep up with what’s happening!
  3. Exhibitors—Learn about the new technologies and resources available to help us in our jobs

Rosette Pyne, senior associate director of career services at the University of Pennsylvania: Don’t miss the conference opening and the keynote speakers! Also:

  • The session given by Tom Devlin and Kathy Sims on Impacting Our Future: Game Changers for Career Services.  Their presentations at the conferences are always interesting and dynamic with great audience participation.
  • One of the following breakfasts depending on whether you are an employer or college representative: College Communities Breakfast / Employer Forums Breakfast.

Maria K. Stein, associate vice president for cooperative education and career development at Northeastern University:

  1. The Exhibit Hall—It’s a great opportunity to network, meet new people, connect with colleagues, and learn about products and services that help us do our work better/more efficiently.
  2. The Denim & Diamonds Celebration—Who doesn’t like a great party, or for that matter denim and diamonds? It’s also a great excuse to dust off those cowboy boots or better still buy a new pair of cowboy boots!
  3. Meet the Award Winners & Great Ideas Showcase—This is a great opportunity to learn about all the wonderful innovations in our field.

NACE14 attendees! Register for any of five free webinars based on popular workshops at the conference.