Meet the 2016-17 NACE Board of Directors

Kathleen PowellKathleen I. Powell, NACE President; Associate Vice President for Career Development at William & Mary University

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? When I started in the profession, many years ago, I was told you get out of an organization what you put in to it.  So, very early in my career, I pursued opportunities to serve on committees, chair and co-chair, eventually serving on the board at different times in my career.  It was a natural way to be of service to an organization that has a national voice in our profession.
What led you to your career path? This is a funny one. I went to college to be a nurse. Truth of the matter, I really don’t like being around sick people and organic chemistry, carbon bonds, and my interests were not a good fit.  I tried five majors and it was my time as a resident assistant that the director of residence life sat me down and told me about higher education careers. The rest is history!  (P.S.  For all the nurses and chemistry majors out there, thank you!)
What was your very first job?  My very first job was working at a convenience store in high school!  My best friend’s mom managed the store and it was quite the job. Then, during college, in the summers, I worked in an amusement park as a ride hostess—what a blast!  After college, I went to graduate school and landed my first job in career services and NEVER looked back!
Something personal: I enjoy basket weaving and biking. I biked across Iowa and Ohio and that was amazing.  I love to eat and cook and we have two dogs that I adore.  Cooper is a chocolate lab and Tucker is an English black lab.  I enjoy spending time with my husband and children, and life in general!

glen fowlerGlen Fowler, NACE President-Elect; Recruiting & Training Manager at California State Auditor

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? I sought increased engagement with the NACE community because it inspires and recharges me!  Through NACE I am able to learn from my peers, and contribute to the profession.  I appreciate NACE’s emphasis on member resources, providing a forum to discuss industry challenges and opportunities, and leading initiatives like the 21st Century Career Services Model and Professional Standards for University Relations & Recruiting—but, and most importantly, I appreciate the opportunity NACE provides me to network and have fun with my peers.
What led you to your career path? My path to recruiting was not intentional.  After completing my master’s degree, I joined the California State Auditor’s office as a performance auditor.  I audited for a number of years, and then joined the executive team where I conducted legislative bill and audit analyses, among other responsibilities.  After several years, the Auditor General offered me the office’s recruiter role.  A year later he asked me to rejoin the executive team.  He sensed my reluctance, and recognized that I’d found a passion for recruiting.  I’d discovered how rewarding it was to find talented folks and support them in their success with our organization.
What was your very first job? My first job was at a golf course where I washed golf carts and picked up range balls.  Keep in mind that in those days, golfers would continue to hit range balls while I was out picking them up.  Occasionally I’d hear one fly past my head—really, I’m not kidding!  Thank goodness for today’s child protection laws.
Something personal: I’m the proud owner of two misbehaving dogs named Molly and Leo.  For instance, we often find our outdoor chair cushions strewn about the back lawn. Just when I’m going to discipline my furry friends for their naughty behavior, they pounce on me and lick me—and all the while their tales are wagging!  Molly’s and Leo’s “wonderful way” keeps everything in perspective for me.

dawn carterDawn Carter, NACE Past-President; Director, Early Careers at Intuit

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? After pursing leadership avenues through the regional associations, I wanted to continue to expand my experience and volunteer leadership voice at a national level.  Through my time in various NACE leadership roles I have had the opportunity to work on and with such amazing people in the field.  Many times I was provided opportunities to learn new things by jumping into a team, taskforce, or committee that was a new topic for me.
What led you to your career path? As I started my career in talent acquisition, I loved the part of my job of that helped folks find their role in the company in a way that tied their passion.  I fell into university recruiting by chance and immediately fell in love. Where else do you have a chance to help students launch their careers.
What was your very first job? My first job out of university was into Marriott’s leadership program. As I transitioned my career from the hospitality industry into human resources, I started as a HR coordinator role and then worked my way up into different roles in university programs and recruiting.
Something personal: Love to travel!  Enjoy traveling to somewhere new and learning about food, art, and cultural differences.

chris carlsonChristopher Carlson, NACE Vice President-Employer; Director of Talent Acquisition and Diversity at Tennessee Valley Authority

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? I pursued leadership with NACE for a number of reasons with the foremost being that NACE is about innovation and service.  The opportunity to help serve with other innovators toward a mission that is critical to our nation’s success is what drives me.
What led you to your career path? An inspiring mentor and manager led me into my career path. She was a wonderful woman who taught me the importance of human in human resources.
What was your very first job? My first job was working the Haunted River at Kings Dominion just outside of Richmond, Virginia.  I still know the announcements if you want to hear them.
Something personal: I am an urban hiker.  Drop me in a major city and I can wander for hours.

norma Guerra gaierNorma Guerra Gaier, NACE Vice President-College; Director, Career Services, Texas State University

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? I was fortunate to have strong professional mentors who inspired and encouraged me to get involved early in my career. That’s all it took—once I served on a committee and met (via phone conferences) colleagues from across the country, I knew that I wanted to serve. Many of the colleagues I met over the years are now life-long friends who continue to inspire and challenge my thinking regarding our work. I am honored to serve our profession through my involvement with NACE, and my hope is that I can serve as a resource for others who seek to learn more about our work and get involved in the career services and university recruitment field.
What lead you to your career path? I have always had a passion for the art of communication, both verbal and written. As a college student, I spent countless hours in the career center creating and perfecting various cover letters and resumes for the different jobs that I interviewed for through the on-campus interviewing program. I found interviewing intriguing and spent much of my time studying the various types of interview styles and questions that I encountered. I got my first job through this process, but more importantly, just a year later, I got my start as a career services professional with the same career center I used as a student.
What was your very first job? As a recent college graduate, my first job was in retail. I was hired as the manager of a brand new sock shop called Something’s Afoot. I was able to help create store design, hire all staff, and create policies for operations and staffing.
Something personal: In my spare time, I enjoy exploring and traveling with my husband, Bill, and teenagers, Jacob and Abbie. We also love our four-legged family members, Roxy (pug), Bella (rat terrier/Chihuahua), and Kramer (Chihuahua).

o ray angleO. Ray Angle, NACE Director-College; Assistant Vice President for Career & Professional Development, Gonzaga University

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? NACE has provided the profession with so much content and support over the years that I wanted the chance to give back by serving the NACE membership.
What led you to your career path? I worked in a college career center as an undergrad student and, by chance, discovered career services as a profession.
What was your very first job? I was a newspaper delivery boy starting when I was 11 years old.
Something personal: I’ve been in all 50 states, in 17 countries, and on five continents.

susan brennanSusan Brennan, NACE Director-College; Associate Vice President, University Career Services at Bentley University

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? I am a passionate career services leader and advocate and excited to share my ideas and energy with wonderful NACE colleagues. I am proud of the groundbreaking work happening in our profession and ready to broaden my perspective, to learn and grow personally and professionally, and to have fun and build new friendships in the process.
What led you to your career path? After graduate school, I worked as a human resources strategy consultant and found myself consistently gravitating toward higher education assignments and clients. Through many soul searching conversations with my personal career advisory board and mentors, I learned about an opportunity to transition to career services and have never looked back!
What was your very first job? After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, I wanted to find a way to combine my passions for education and service with my strengths in marketing and relationship building. Working with the Board of Trustees as a development assistant at the Boston Children’s Museum allowed me to learn the fundamentals of nonprofit management while feeling like I was making a difference in the lives of children and families.
Something personal: I have been married for 23 wonderful years to Mike, who is a lawyer by day and a chef by hobby, requiring me to wake up at 5 a.m. each morning to try to work off the previous evening’s delicious calories! The importance of our work hits home every day, as our son, Jake, just completed sophomore year at Tulane and is interning on Capitol Hill while our son, Dan, is wrapping up junior year of high school and is now embarking on his college search journey.

Christine CruzvergaraChristine Cruzvergara, NACE Director-College; Associate Provost and Executive Director for Career Education, Wellesley College

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? NACE is an organization that has given me a lot in my career. Over the years, I’ve made deep friendships, benchmarked with exceptional colleagues, and grown as a professional. It’s my desire to give back to my colleagues and to serve my profession.
What led you to your career path? I originally thought I’d be a family and marriage counselor but feared that I would get burnt out listening to people’s marital problems for 40 hours a week! My advisers in college encouraged me to think about a career in higher education as a way to use my helping skills in a different context. Along the way, great colleagues and mentors pushed me to realize my potential in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
What was your very first job? My first job was running new student orientation at George Washington University. My first part-time job (at 15) was a waitress in a retirement home.
Something personal: I love travel, tv, skiing, and eating, in no particular order! I especially love doing those things with my husband, Alex and my playful 3-year-old, Andreas.

caroline cunninghamCaroline Cunningham, NACE Director-Employer; Director, University Relations & Diversity Programs, GE Digital

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? I have learned so much and made so many wonderful friends throughout my nine years of involvement with NACE that I really wanted to give back.  The future of URR and career services is so dynamic and exciting and I want to be a part of shaping NACE’s strategy to support that.
What led you to your career path? I fell into recruiting. I started out in HR thinking I wanted to be in employee relations and had a former boss suggest that I would be good at recruiting. After a few years on the experienced side, I had an opportunity to assist with university recruiting and found my true passion. I have never looked back.
What was your very first job? Outside of babysitting and doing odd jobs around the neighborhood, I worked as a summer day camp counselor at our local community center.  I had a group of 3- and 4-year-olds for three hours a day and had to keep them entertained with fun and enriching activities.  It was a ton of fun and definitely lead me to a life-long path of being linked to education and supporting future generations in their development.
Something personal: I never played team sports when I was growing up but have two daughters who play competitive soccer. Most of my spare time is spent shuttling them to practice, attending games and tournaments, and volunteering for their teams.  Through my daughter’s experiences I have seen them grow in so many areas— leadership, teamwork, integrity, and perseverance to name a few. Supporting their commitment is truly one of the most rewarding parts of my life as a parent. When I do have a few minutes to myself, you will most likely find me catching the latest and greatest Broadway show, attending a concert, or simply watching The Voice!

 carlena harrisCarlena Harris, NACE Director-Employer; Human Resources Manager, Recruiting Operations, National Instruments

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE?  I’m passionate about sharing what I have learned and experienced to assist individuals, teams, and organizations in reaching their goals.  National Instruments has been a member of NACE for many years and I thought it would be great to serve on behalf of my employer.
What led you to your career path? I was promoted to a software development manager position mid-way in my career, which allowed me to recruit team members for the organization via conferences and university career fairs.  I enjoyed that part of my job, so I decided to prepare for a full–time talent recruiting opportunity.  I joined National Instruments in 2014 as a human resources manager within the University Recruiting Operations team.
What was your very first job? I worked at AstroWorld in Houston, Texas in the games operation department. That job helped me develop my customer service skills.
Something personal:  I’m an active mom of two teenagers, a cyclist, a huge Prince fan, and I love to cook.

Janet LasaterJennifer Lasater, NACE Director-College; Vice President, Employer and Career Services, Kaplan University

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE?  I wanted to give back to my profession. I started getting involved by volunteering on committees for NACE and really enjoyed the work and time with others, that led to me exploring additional roles with NACE.
What led you to your career path? I was a resident assistant in college and loved working in student affairs, but I wanted to try a few years in the “real world” after graduating with my B.A. I got involved with recruiting for a staffing company and one of our recruiting sites was a small art/design school. I found that career services was the perfect fit for me because it combined my passion for students along with the motivation of hitting goals in recruiting.
What was your very first job? When I was 14, I worked at a Dairy Queen for a few weeks—not that exciting or glamorous. That was clearly not my career path.
Something personal: My family and I love going on Disney cruises—we’ve been on quite a few now. Our favorites so far have been the Mediterranean and Alaska.

Margaret paulinMargaret Paulin, NACE Director-Employer; Manager, Sector University Relations & Recruiting, Northrop Grumman

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? I have had the good fortune to serve on several NACE committees and decided to further serve NACE members by contributing as a board member.
What led you to your career path? My first position in university relations and recruiting started as a six-month rotational assignment. Well beyond those six months now, I moved forward in the profession and never looked back.
What was your very first job?  
I worked at USA cheerleading camps the summer after graduating from college and managed a red brick residence hall at San Jose State University.
Something personal: I have two senior furry children, Sadie and Buddy, which rule our house. Sadie is a chocolate lab that we raised as a puppy and Buddy is an American Bulldog, pit mix—he is a rescue shelter dog. The two complement and keep each other occupied during the day.

pam websterPam Webster, NACE Director-Employer; Assistant Vice President, Talent Acquisition, Enterprise Holdings

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE?  As a leader in Talent Acquisition for Enterprise, I believe it’s important to give back to the profession in a volunteer capacity.  Not only does it help strengthen our brand within the college/university community, but it gives me the opportunity to network and learn from thought leaders in the space.  I have gained lifelong friends along the way which is a bonus!
What led you to your career path?  Getting into recruiting was a little bit of luck and a leap of faith. Enterprise promotes from within and when we started expanding significantly in the late 80s, new positions were created in our field operations. I was a branch manager at the time and had been with the company about four years and my manager (our current CEO, Pam Nicholson) came to me to ask if I would be interested in filling one of the new spots. I have been with Enterprise for 31 years and in some form of talent acquisition for 27 of those years, being one of the pioneers in campus recruiting for Enterprise.
What was your very first job?  My first job was in high school, working at a plant nursery. I was responsible for watering, fertilizing, and transplanting plants as they grew to get them ready for retail sales. Unfortunately my experience did not pay off as I do not have a green thumb and can’t keep most plants alive.
Something personal: I am an avid animal lover and in the past two years after losing two cats who were 17 and 19, I adopted a pit bull mix, Tilly, who was a street dog and in foster care for a year. Last summer, I took in a stray cat I named Coco and her litter of five kittens, that were about three weeks old. When the kittens were 12 weeks old, two of my work colleagues each took one of the kittens, another friend took one, my mom took Coco, and we kept two of the kittens, Jaxon and Princess, and added to our household of now three cats and a dog. I have also spent time volunteering for the Humane Society of Missouri and served on the board for a local horse rescue.

Read the full biographies of NACE’s 2016-17 Board of Directors on NACEWeb.

Practice Interviews and Anxiety

Kara BrownKara Brown, Associate Director of Career Development, Gwynedd Mercy University
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brownkara
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gmercyucareers

A key issue that I have noticed with the majority of practice interviews that I conduct with students is anxiety. Often during a practice interview I observe symptoms of anxiety including: pressured speech, agitation of hands and feet, sweating, increased heartrate, nervous laughter, and sometimes crying. I am quickly able to identify these symptoms because in addition to my career counseling background, I also am trained in clinical mental health counseling.

While interview anxiety can be uncomfortable and difficult to address with students, I have found it to be extremely important to discuss. In some cases, anxiety can be linked to fear, lack of self-confidence, and/or lack of experience. It is important to address these issues head on before the student goes into an interview.

What can career counselors/advisers do to help?

Address it. Whenever we are in an uncomfortable situation we tend to want to ignore it. However, ignoring the anxiety that a student is experiencing in regard to interviewing could potentially continue to worsen the anxiety. Therefore, address the issue with, “I notice that you seem anxious. Tell me about that.”

Actively listen. Listen to what the student is telling you. For example, I had a student explain that they did not feel qualified for the position that they were applying to. So I went through each job requirement, and asked the student to give an example of how they met that requirement. The student felt more confident because they were able to verbally reason why they were qualified for the position.

Encourage practice. For some students, continuing to practice for an interview can help boost their confidence and decrease their anxiety.

Provide anxiety reducing techniques. There are several techniques that anyone can use to reduce anxiety. This may require a bit of research to find which one would work best for your students. While working with students with interview anxiety, I typically recommend that they use the technique of “being present.” I explain to them that while they are sitting in the lobby prior to going in for an interview, they take a few slow deep breaths, and notice what is going on around them. For example, what does the room look like? What do you smell? What are you feeling? I find that this process helps to lower a student’s anxiety by refocusing their attention on to something else.

Refer. There may be situations in which a student’s anxiety is so severe that they may require counseling services. It is important to have a referral process in place with your university’s counseling service in case these kinds of situations were to occur.
After you have conducted a practice interview with a student, make sure that you follow up with that student to find out how the interview went for them. Ask these students, “What went well? What did not go well? Did anything surprise you?” This kind of follow up allows the student to self-evaluate, and also helps to maintain their connection with your career development center.

Liberal Arts and STEM: Happily Ever After?

 

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Pamela Weinberg
Website: www.pamelaweinberg.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/pamelaweinberg/
Twitter: @pamelaweinberg
Blogs from Pamela Weinberg.

A recent New York Times headline stopped me cold. It was entitled: “A Rising Call to Foster STEM Fields, and Decrease Liberal Arts Funding.” The article spoke of a handful of state governors who were suggesting that students majoring in liberal arts would not receive state funding for their education and that only those students “educated in fields seen as important to the economy” would benefit from funding.

As a liberal arts major and a career coach who believes in the value of a liberal arts education, this was stunning. Of course teaching students “hard” skills is important. Nobody would argue that teaching undergraduate students how to code is a bad idea. However, there is much evidence that hard skills alone don’t make for a successful employee. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, a study conducted by USC’s Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism found that “Future leaders must be strong in quantitative, technical, and business skills. But to advance in their careers, they also need to be good strategic thinkers and must have strong social and communications skills.”

The WSJ article made the case for the importance of continuing to offer a liberal arts curriculum to students. The author makes the critical point that liberal arts and STEM needn’t be an “either/or” proposition. A Forbes.com blog speaks of the many smaller college and universities, such as Rochester Institute of Technology, which have created cross-disciplinary or integrated curriculums, that require STEM students to complete a general education program. At the same time, liberal arts schools like Lafayette University are beginning to reform their curriculums to keep them more relevant.

Critics of liberal arts education will make the case that majoring in a liberal arts field doesn’t guarantee a job with high earnings. This is true. No major can guarantee that. However, some of our country’s most successful and well-paid CEOs majored in liberal arts disciplines: Mark Parker, President and CEO of Nike (political science), Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks (communications) and Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company (television and radio)

One of the tenets of a liberal arts education is practicing critical thinking. According to the WSJ article “Technical and business skills can get graduates in the door, but an ability to think critically and communicate effectively can play an equal, if not larger role in determining success.” It would seem then, that students of all majors would benefit from a mix of courses that are STEM based and liberal arts based.
I would love to hear your opinions on this—please let me know how you are advising your liberal arts majors in their career searches.

Career Readiness: Exploring Leadership

KKathryn Douglasathy Douglas, Senior Associate Director Career Development Office, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/douglaskathy
Twitter: @fescdo
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Yale-FES-Career-Development-Office/134339426609741
Website: environment.yale.edu/cdo

The effective leader is someone who can communicate rationally, connecting relationally, manage practically and lead directionally and strategically. The head, the heart, the hands and the feet are all effectively engaged in the leadership process.Australian Leadership Foundation

Leadership: Leverage the strengths of others to achieve common goals, and use interpersonal skills to coach and develop others. The individual is able to assess and manage his/her emotions and those of others; use empathetic skills to guide and motivate; and organize, prioritize, and delegate work.Career Readiness for the New College Graduate, A Definition and Competencies, National Association of Colleges and Employers

 

Most of us lead in unique ways everyday but can’t articulate how. And most people, when asked to talk about their leadership, default to examples of being the top person in charge of a team, of a club, of a project. Students I work with often get stressed if they have not been the captain of a varsity team, served as a board member or been the treasurer for a social club, stating I don’t have any leadership experience.  The majority of people I counsel on this topic think first of charismatic or natural born leaders—the rare individuals with big personalities who motivate others through inspiration.

Leadership as defined by NACE’s Career Readiness for the New College Graduate goes beyond the “natural born leader” definition by focusing on the interpersonal, on empathy for guiding and motivating, on emotional intelligence, and on the ability to organize, prioritize, and delegate. The Australian Leadership Foundation draws from ancient Greek philosophers and the ontology of the human in naming four essential areas of effective leadership: Praxis, Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. A quick google search will provide another host of leadership definitions, theories and models, including:

  • Transactional
  • Transformational
  • Servant
  • Free-Rein
  • Autocratic
  • Democratic
  • Supportive
  • Situational
  • Participative

For the visual learner, a google image search will also uncover an array of colorful charts, graphs and diagrams depicting many current leadership models, theories and styles—a bounty of choices to consider when thinking about how to frame one’s own leadership preferences and style.

Google leadership models

 

What kind of leader are you?

While encouraging a student to do the research necessary to develop their own definition of leadership, I usually suggest that they begin with leadership model images that appeal to them. It is relatively easy to then follow the links to read about theories and types of leadership.

Some questions to think about while researching models:

  • Have I held many official leadership positions in my life so far?
  • Do I tend to foster collaboration? How?
  • Do I prefer to do everything myself, or am I able to delegate?
  • Who is my favorite leader?  Why?
  • Can I describe one specific example of my favorite leader’s leadership?
  • Am I the volunteer note-taker who may go unnoticed but who develops an agenda based on group consensus and sends it out by email ten minutes after the meeting?
  • Which of these models resonate with me?
  • Do I insist on my own compelling strategy and sell it?
  • Do I regularly advise and mentor peers?
  • How do I define effective leadership?

The Importance of Team

As team models are integral to leadership models, I also refer students to the Margerison-McCann Team Management Wheel. With its holistic symbol, the circle, it illustrates the varied and equally important roles required in a group to accomplish goals.  And in many leadership models, these team roles are also leadership roles.  The majority of students I work immediately relate to one or more parts of this wheel—Creator/Innovators, Thruster/Organizers, Controller/Inspectors, Linkers, Concluder/Producers—and are quickly able to articulate their unique leadership style.

This model also helps students recognize peers in new ways. They may realize that a group member they are annoyed with who has trailed off at the conclusion of a project was, in fact, extremely active in the idea generation and organizing phase of the project and has already made a vital contribution. They may recognize that a team member who has not made a significant concrete contribution has actually been actively managing group dynamics and keeping communication lines open (The Linkers).  They might newly appreciate the range of roles and types of leadership on their team, including their own.

Recognizing one’s natural leanings and the roles one typically assumes on a team is key to discovering and articulating one’s leadership style. Likewise, understanding the leanings and roles of others is extremely important.  By delving into specifics, by thinking, talking, and writing about them, we unearth a wealth of interesting material for describing leadership.  When we develop our own definition of leadership, we make a frame.  And in that frame, we can see a concrete illustration of our leadership.

 

NACE16: Finished, But Not Forgotten!

Kathleen Powell

Kathleen Powell, Assistant Vice President, Student Affairs, Executive Director of Career Development, Cohen Career Center, William & Mary
President-Elect, National Association of Colleges and Employers
Twitter: @powellka
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/kathleenipowell/

NACE16 is over, but you’re just getting started! Remember to rekindle your connections, unpack the sessions you attended and share those with your team, and decide what’s next for you as you engage with your professional association. Whether you were a first-timer to the NACE conference or a seasoned expo goer, I think you will agree that the four days in Chicago were robust, thought-provoking, and quite the return on investment. The keynote speakers hit it out of the park. The content of their information aligned well with the work we all do around career readiness, STEAM, generational issues, and life profit! I think we could all use a bit more life profit.

Whether you collected business cards or connected through MLI alumni meet ups, LAP events, or hospitality opportunities, or grabbed lunch or dinner with old or new colleagues, staying connected will keep the information and conversations shared fresh and top of mind. You might remember President Dawn Carter challenging us to meet 50 new people while at the conference? I would echo her challenge and ask you to consider continuing the charge and connecting with members of our association. Did one of the sessions you couldn’t attend spark your interest, but you couldn’t be two places at once? Not a problem, visit NACEWeb and click on the MyNACE tab. Choose “purchase history” and click on the “Actions” arrow next to the conference. You will get a drop-down menu of options, including “View Handouts.” Find the handout for that session you missed. If you have more questions, contact the presenter/presenters. Our association members are excited about their work and willing to share best practices!

Kathleen Powell sparkles at the closing of the conference.

Kathleen Powell sparkles at the closing of the conference.

NACE16 rolled out the First-Destination Survey Results for the Class of 2015 and it was robust! The Advocacy Committee presented the most up-to-date information on FLSA and OPT changes, and discussed the NACE Position Statement on Diversity and Anti-Discrimination. The Career Readiness Tiger Team shared updates on the Career Readiness Toolkits and there was lively discussion around how institutions and employers are aligning and mapping the seven core competencies around career readiness within their work.

The conference provided Techbyte opportunities, SMARTalks, Innovation Labs, and an Innovation Challenge! Members of our organization were recognized for their dedication to the profession and their outstanding work that moves the needle for our association.

There is no doubt NACE16 was a success. That success is shared as there is so much happening behind the scenes that makes the expo hum. It’s our members, who share their time and talent with all of us, that keeps us nimble, informed, and prepared for what’s next to come in our professional work.

Kathleen Powell sparkles at the closing of the conference.

Kathleen Powell, NACE President 2016-17, speaks to the audience at the NACE16 closing session.

So, you might be thinking, “This is all wonderful, but I didn’t attend the conference.” Don’t fret my pets—(one of my grandmother’s favorite expressions)—you can find the Advocacy issues on naceweb.org! Looking for career readiness information, naceweb.org, looking for first-destination information, naceweb.org. Curious about all our association has to offer….naceweb.org!

 

Yes, the conference has come and gone, but the opportunity to engage with other members is just a website away. Don’t miss the opportunity for outreach to your colleagues, learn first hand what is top of mind for the profession, and don’t think the conference is one and done! I encourage you to find those 50 new people and take advantage of Face2Face, roundtables, training opportunities, and webinars! The possibilities truly are ENDLESS!

Finding Your Professional Voice

Jade PerryJade Perry, Coordinator in the Office of Multicultural Student Success at DePaul University
Twitter: @SAJadePerry1
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/jade-perry/21/667/b25/
Website: jadetperry.com

Many times, the word professionalism conjures thoughts and images of workplace dress, norms, and habits. However, there is yet another consideration for people  who speak more than one language and/or have mastered more than one dialect of English. This includes reconciling notions of professional voice.

Given the various dialects of English and the purpose of this article, I will refrain from calling some “proper English” and others “broken English.” These are value statements that detract from how the English language is actively shaped by both context and community. Yet since navigating language depends on context, we also must think about how students and staff negotiate language in the workplace and/or other professional settings (i.e. student meetings with university staff, interviews and interview prep, presentations, etc.)

For example, one afternoon I was chatting with a student in a dialect form that we both shared. (To be clear, this is not slang, catch-phrases, and/or lazy forms of standard English. By shared dialect, I mean “a systematic, rule-governed (form) of English” that we both could navigate well despite regional variations of said dialect; Jones, 2015, p. 404). We had a long conversation about what was happening on campus, goals for the next year, and more, until I was interrupted by a phone call from a colleague. This colleague happened to be able to navigate the dialect we were speaking. However, because it was a colleague, the conversation moved to include more formal / standard modes of English. The student commented, “You’ve got your work voice on!”

This does not just happen in our colleges and universities. We’ve seen this on the stage of arts and entertainment as well. If at all possible, briefly suspend your understandings of Kanye West’s canon of art and/or personality antics, to take a closer look at how he uses language. In recent interviews, Kanye slips into an extremely different mode of English than in his body of music. In the past, this has prompted strong reactions in news publications and on social media about “Who is Kanye trying to be? Why isn’t he using his real voice? Is this Kanye’s ‘interview voice?’ The choices that we make about language in the workplace often hold implications about who we are AND how we are perceived. It’s important to draw students into conversation about some of those things.

Communication and Career Capital

Dr. Tara Yosso (2005) poses an interesting question in her work, Whose Culture Has Capital? A Critical Race Discussion of Community Cultural Wealth. Quite often, when we think of capital, or various forms of wealth, we have limited views and understandings of what these forms of wealth can be. Many of our students hold a great deal of linguistic capital, defined by Yosso as the “intellectual and social skills attained through communication experiences in more than one language and/or style…Reading, literacy, oral histories, cuentos (stories), dichos (proverbs), sophisticated linguistic code switching (2005, p. 78).” This comes in very handy inside and outside of the workplace, as they navigate the different communities that they hold dear. So, when we talk about our modes of communication in interviews, in the workplace, and for career goals, there may also be opportunities to talk with and learn from our students about their understandings of professional voice.

Each day, our students navigate home dialects and standard English workplace/academic dialects. Thus, navigating multiple languages and dialects of language is a part of career capital: What are we saying? How are we saying it, depending on the context?

My “work voice”  and even the work voices of my colleagues can change, depending on how we need to function in that moment. At any given moment, you may hear standard American English (SAE), Spanish and dialects of Spanish, African-American English (AAE, which encompasses various sets of rules, depending on region), and more as we have conversations about student success, retention, persistence, and career capital. In a meeting with executive leadership, we might slip into more standardized dialects of English, due to context and shared understandings. For students finding their professional voice, it’s important to talk through these contexts, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be difficult to do so.

Learning from Creative Reflection

One of my favorite activities to take students through is an auto-ethnography of how they use language and how they are currently developing their understanding of professional voice. It’s easier to do this activity around written language, since they can access that from their phones and/or e-mail accounts. I ask students to observe and reflect on the language they use in the following contexts:

  • Contacting someone from your professional field (for students, this can be any current supervisors they have, mentors, etc.)
  • Contacting a family member
  • Contacting a peer or a close friend
    (you can also add other categories as appropriate)

It’s best if you can show them an example from your own life, to provide a template for the activity. Students may notice themselves code switching: slipping into and out of various languages, different forms of language, and even the use of imagery as communication, i.e. memes, emojis, emoticons. This prompts conversations about when they choose to use standardized/formal English dialects and when they choose to skillfully use various forms, as well. In many cases, this has also prompted conversations about authenticity in the workplace. (What makes someone authentic? How do we communicate in authentic ways, regardless of context?) This is also an activity that you can do with staff, especially if you are in the early stages of understanding. It’s important to stay away from value statements on how students are using language, but to help students to simply reflect on how they are already using language and how they might make sense of their own linguistic and career capital.

Further Reading:
Jones, Taylor (11/2015). “Toward a Description of African American Vernacular English Dialect Regions Using ‘Black Twitter.’ ” American speech (0003-1283),90 (4), p. 403.

Yosso, T.J. (2005). Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth
Wofram. Sociolinguistics Definition from the Linguistic Society of America.

 

The Career Services Profession Is for Artists, Too

Tamara ClarksonTamara Clarkson, Career Services Consultant, Purdue University
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tamaraclarkson
Twitter: @tamcatcam

In the four years I’ve worked in career services, I’ve consistently heard we must recruit staff with diverse backgrounds and from various fields. I wholeheartedly agree, but that might just be my degree in art talking.

I began college, like many first-generation students, surprised I’d even gotten in. Now I was expected to pick a lifelong career? My freshman year, I studied studio art at a private university, but soon realized I didn’t know what I wanted to do and transferred to a community college closer to home. After a year of community college, I transferred to Texas State University, and when they wouldn’t take “undecided” as my choice for a major—as a junior—I hastily stuck with art. With that decision, I had seemingly selected my path for life. I focused on art education,n but found that the teaching profession did not suit my INFJ-ness. Then I thought, maybe art history could be a fulfilling career.

How many students have you seen that make life-altering decisions like these almost at random? If you’re keeping track, that’s three majors in as many schools and I was completely lost. I didn’t know how to evaluate what I loved or what I needed to feel satisfied in a career.

So I saw a career counselor.

Just kidding!

Like many first generation college students, I had no idea how to navigate the college system or find the resources that could provide direction. When I finally reflected, as a super senior, on what would give me true fulfillment and satisfaction in the workplace, I realized for the first time that what I was skilled at (creating art) did not align with what would bring me professional satisfaction (helping others).

The best professional decision I ever made was applying to the counseling program at Texas State after receiving my B.A. in art history. Luckily, the faculty saw my unique background as an asset. The program made me become who I am today and I’m so thankful to the professors and colleagues who helped shape me. It was there that I learned I needed a career that involved counseling, but also offered opportunities to work on projects and meet deadlines. I conducted several informational interviews with Texas State’s career services professionals and realized career services could provide the balance I was looking for. Four years later, I am a career services consultant at Purdue’s Center for Career Opportunities (CCO). If getting an M.A. in counseling was the best professional decision of my life, joining the CCO is my second.

When I see students struggling to stick with a career path that they have the skillset but not the passion for, or they simply don’t know what they’d be interested in pursuing outside of college, I enjoy telling them that so many others have struggled with the same dilemma. We are all unique, and as we change, so may our professional goals and interests. They don’t have to choose what they want to do for the rest of their lives, all they have to figure out is their first few steps. And I can tell them that diverse interests and a curiosity that exceeds a narrow career path are assets, not liabilities, because I am a career services professional, but I wouldn’t be here if I was not also an artist.