I am a big fan of awards shows on television. For decades, I have watched the Oscars, Emmys, Tonys, Golden Globes, People’s Choice, SAG Awards, and even the occasional Grammys or MTV Video-Music Awards. Do they even show videos on MTV anymore? Ah the good old days of MTV when it was hair bands, pop idols, and vee-jays! But I digress. When I entered the field of career counseling, I never imagined we would have our very own awards, honoring individuals, schools, and employers who developed groundbreaking and trendsetting ideas, programs, resources, and services. Well, we do applaud these colleagues, and NACE offers its official recognition through the annual Honors and Awards process, which culminates at the national conference.
One of my bright ideas while working at the NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development won a NACE Excellence Award in 2007. The Wasserman team’s Business Boot Camp for Liberal Arts Students, sponsored by Morgan Stanley, was an exciting program to work on, and it addressed a big need at the time among NYU liberal arts majors who wanted to explore business careers. We were presented with the award at the New York City NACE Conference (Home field advantage blah blah blah!). It was truly a proud moment for us all. There were some nice bonuses as well: recognition on campus by our division colleagues, another selling point to employers regarding partnering with our office, a notation of success on one’s resume for future reference, and awareness of a best practice to discuss with other career services professionals at colleges across the country.
At the most recent NACE Conference, my Yeshiva colleagues and I were finalists for an award for our Women in Business Initiative. We actually did not expect anything more than being nominated (Hope for the best. Expect the worst!). When we did not hear our name announced by the dapper emcee, Andrew Ceperley, we took it all in stride and applauded the victor as Jamie Belinne, University of Houston, C.T. Bauer College of Business, strode upon the stage to receive her well-deserved kudos for Career Assessment for Business Students With Diverse Multicultural Backgrounds.
Prior to the awards gathering, for the first time ever, there was an awards showcase. What a great idea, NACE! Akin to what many of us have experienced at a job fair, all of the college and employer finalists were assembled at tables to speak to other NACE Conference attendees about their nominated programs and ideas. The room was buzzing with questions, discussions, and laughter as well. To me, that event eclipsed the awards assembly to come (Maybe, if we won, I would be singing a different tune…nah!). Coming back to Yeshiva, being a finalist was fine in my book. On our small college campus, people were thrilled with our national recognition and the NACE honor certainly brought an additional air of legitimacy to our shop both on campus and in the eyes of important external stakeholders. Winning! Did I really just do a callback to Charlie Sheen’s oddity phase? Sorry.
This year, I am thrilled to be co-chair of the Honors and Awards Committee. It has been wonderful working with my colleague Blake Witters and NACE’s very own Cecelia Nader, along with the entire H&A Committee, to refresh the way we look at this topic and present it at the annual conference. Having Dan Black, NACE President and part-time stand-up comic, in our corner is extremely helpful as well.
I cannot encourage you enough to submit something this year. Not only is it always worth a shot, but there are benefits no matter what. Even if you simply submit and don’t get selected, the submission itself allows for self-reflection and the chance to pat yourselves on the back. And you never know—you might end up on stage with Dan Black in front of 2,000 of your closest career services and employer friends having a grand time in San Antonio!
The January 31 deadline is rapidly approaching. To get the ball rolling, please visit the NACE website at: http://naceweb.org/about-us/awards.aspx?mainindex-recslide3-awrds-01032014.
As Ed McMahon used to say, “You could be a winner.” Publishers Clearinghouse? Star Search? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?