Kathleen 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 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 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.
Christopher 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
Jennifer 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 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 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.