NACE17 Is a Success Because of NACE Members

by Kathleen Powell

Whether or not you attended NACE17, it’s clear NACE members are our greatest asset! The message is clear, the capacity of our association is evident!

Yes, the conference is for the members. But, it’s because of the members we had 99 breakout sessions involving hundreds of you sharing your expertise with colleagues:

  • 60 members engaged with the Innovation Challenge,
  • 30 organizations participated in the Professional Achievement Showcase, and
  • 2,500 members gave of their time and talent to network, benchmark, and yes, dance!

And, due to the capacity of what you all bring to the table, the conference attracted colleagues, nearly 70, from 12 countries including sister organizations in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, Turkey, the United Emirates, and the United Kingdom. NACE truly has global expanse and our colleagues from around the world have interest in what we are doing as a profession and an association.

The annual conference doesn’t happen in a silo. Many committees come together to support the efforts of our profession.

The 12-member conference committee, with two co-chairs each representing both sides of NACE—college and employer—along with a board adviser and NACE staff adviser, vetted more than 425 proposals for the conference. It’s no easy task to cull through such talent and interest.

And, did you know committees work year round to bring you the best of contemporary thoughts and best practices? The Revised Principles Launch Task Force came together to determine the way forward for the new Principles for Ethical Professional Practice. Not only did the committee roll out the revised Principles at NACE17, but have developed a webinar for all NACE members to hear the context behind the revisions and how the revisions will impact decision making.

If you have interest in advocacy and what is top of mind for the profession, NACE17 offered a session legislative update from the field (scroll down to“Advisory Committee-Federal Update” on Facebook). The NACE Center for Career Development and Talent Acquisition is live on NACEWeb and points to public policy, legislation, and regulations. These are but a few examples of how our members come together to form the association we know as NACE.

One of the many highlights of the conference are the honors and awards that are bestowed on our members for their achievements in the profession. The Honors & Awards Committee, again, all members of NACE, reviewed 155 entries and selected finalists for this year’s eight Excellence Award Winners.

The point is simple. It is the members of our association that create a community of professional practice colleagues. Because of our members, NACE17 offered SmartTalks, Campfire Conversations, Solutions Labs, an Innovation Challenge. Our conference was achievable because of the NACE committees, task forces, mentors, ambassadors, writers, bloggers, presenters, event hosts, vendors, sponsors, and staff. Being one to get it done and the power of WE speaks to the collective work of NACE, our association, supporting our profession,n and the work of the many.

So, thank YOU for all you’ve done to make NACE17 a reality. And, start planning for NACE18, June 5 – 9, 2018, at the Hilton New Orleans in Riverside, Louisiana. The call for proposals is just around the corner. We are a creative bunch and I’m certain the programs won’t disappoint!

Kathleen Powell

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

Last Minute Tips for #NACE17 Attendees

Whether you’re new to NACE’s annual conference or this is your 10th time attending, here are things that will make this hectic and fun week easier.

Download the free app and schedule your time. Set up your conference itinerary and use your smartphone or tablet to be your daily guide. The free conference app, sponsored by Altria, offers information on all sessions, plus it links you to NACE’s social media so you can get updates and reminders for conference activities. You’ll find a map of NACE’s space in the Paris Las Vegas and Bally’s Las Vegas to help you find session rooms. To download this app, go to your device’s app store and search for NACE17. Need a little help using the app? Come to a free demonstration, 3 – 4 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, at NACE Connect in Paris Las Vegas’ Continental Ballroom.

Join your colleagues on social media. Tweet, Instagram, Facebook…share your social media ribbonconference experiences with fellow attendees and with those who couldn’t attend this year. Use hashtags: #NACE17 and #NACEOrg. Look for special Facebook Live sessions this year and add your comments/questions to the feed.

Here’s the weather forecast. The average temperatures in Las Vegas in early June are typically in the mid- to upper-90s during the day and lower 70s at night. (However, bring a light jacket or sweater: session rooms may be chilly.)

Pack your business casual clothing. Business casual is the recommended dress for the event. For women, that means slacks, khakis, or capris, blouses, polo shirts, dresses. Take a look at Pinterest for ideas. For men, khakis, dress pants, dress shirts, polos. Pinterest offers some ideas. Okay, but not necessary: suits. Avoid t-shirts, jean shorts, athletic wear.

Choose your shoes for comfort. Comfortable shoes are key. Hitting the site visits, the expo hall, and concurrent sessions means the potential for a lot of wear and tear on your feet.

Connect with your colleagues (and more) in the NACE Connect area! When you’re not in a concurrent session or listening to a keynote, drop into the NACE Connect area in the expo hall to network with colleagues or recharge your mobile devices. Here are some things you’ll find there:

  • Recharging Lounge
  • TECHBar
  • Mobile App Demo (3-4 p.m. Tuesday, June 6)
  • NACE17 Solution Labs
  • Dinner Sign Ups
  • SMARTtalks

First time at the conference? Don’t miss the first-timers session sponsored by Enterprise. Spend an hour networking over breakfast with other first timers. Get tips from attendees who have navigated the conference before on how to make the most of your conference experience.

Join the Totally ‘80s Dance Party! Pull out your parachute pants. Pump up your jacket with giant shoulder pads. Think big color. Feathered hair. Fingerless gloves. Over-sized tops. Stretchy-stirrup pants. Be totally tubular…at the party, Thursday, June 8, from 9 – 11 p.m., sponsored by Symplicity.

Identify attendees by their badges. Career services professionals wear blue badges; university relations and recruiters, red; business affiliates, purple; expo hall representatives, green, and NACE staff, black.

If the shirt is fuchsia or black, it must be Tuesday. Questions? Need help? NACE staff is easily identifiable by the color of their shirts.

  • Wednesday: Red
  • Thursday: Lime green
  • Friday: Turquois

Update Profile RibbonEveryone wants a ribbon? Of course they do! We have the usual ribbons for folks whocommunity ribbon are speaking, exhibiting, and sponsoring. We’re also offering ribbons to alumni of professional workshops (MLI, RLI) and social media participants (follow me and bloggers). If you’ve updated your profile, we have a special ribbon for you. New this year: NACE Community Member ribbons. Old this year: A wide variety of fun, like Have a NACE Day and NACE Nerd.

And if you can’t attend #NACE17—or you’d like to share some sessions with staff back in the office, NACE will Facebook Live the following sessions (all PDT time):

Tuesday, June 6
1:30 p.m. NACE17 Innovation Challenge

Wednesday, June 7
10:45 a.m. First-Destinations Survey: Class of 2016 Outcomes and Protocol Update
1:30 p.m. Class of 2016: Career Ready or Not?
2:45 p.m. Bridging the Gap With Disability and Career Services to Creative Innovative Strategies //SMARTtalk//
3:15 p.m. Legislative Update for the Field
4:30 p.m. Transforming the Trajectory: African American Males Navigating Career Services //Campfire Conversation//

Thursday, June 8
1:30 p.m. Career Consequences of Unpaid Internships
3 p.m. The NACE Principles and Ethical Practice

Registration is open. Pick up your registration packet. Tuesday, June 6, registration is open from noon until 8:30 p.m.; and 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. An information desk will be open from 7 a.m. to noon on Friday.

Don’t leave your room without these things: Room key, electronic device with the NACE17 app and your schedule loaded, and conference badge (you can’t get into any sessions or events without it). Consider carrying a light sweater. Session rooms may be chilly.Have a great conference!

And, if you’re interested in joining the NACE blog team…ask for Claudia Allen at the registration desk!

 

 

More People First Timers Should Meet at #NACE17

by David Ong

The best way to meet NACE leaders is to attend the NACE First-Timers Breakfast on Wednesday morning at 7:30. In addition to the 10 people you should meet mentioned in  yesterday’s blog, here are more people you should meet at #NACE17.

Trudy Steinfeld: Many of us who have known Trudy over the years describe her as “a force of nature.. She’s best known as the Executive Director of the Wasserman Center for Career Services at New York University and for writing her “must-read” blog in Forbes magazine. Add to that her recent appointment to the 2017-18 NACE Board of Directors and her role as co-editor of Leadership in Career Services: Voices from the Field and Winning the War for College Talent and you have one committed lady! When you meet her, be sure to buy her a martini with blue cheese-stuffed olives, then ask her about her past NACE work in developing professional development activities for our members.

Stephanie Pallante: If you’re a conference first timer, be on the lookout for Stephanie Pallante, who heads up campus recruiting at Aramark and is currently serving as the Conference Co-Chair. Stephanie is a ball of energy, and she has channeled that energy in serving on both the Board of Directors from 2014-2016 and has also chaired several committees. She’d be the first to tell any conference newcomer to attend either the employer or college breakfasts on Thursday morning, especially if you’re looking to network with professionals experiencing the same day-to-day dilemmas you face!

Kathy SimsKathy Sims: I was incredibly fortunate to meet this remarkable woman during my first NACE conference in 2001 (also in Vegas!), when she was serving her term as NACE president (while also managing the career center at UCLA). Since then, this member of the NACE Academy of Fellows spent several years leading efforts related to NACE’s ongoing advocacy strategies. In the meantime, she has begun a new career with GiftedHire, one of the vendors in the NACE Exhibitor Hall. Be sure to visit Kathy and the other vendors in the Exhibitor Hall to get the latest scoop on the products and services which are helping to transform our field!

Vanessa Strauss: Speaking of that same 2001 annual conference in Vegas….I had the privilege of getting to know former NACE president Vanessa Strauss from the FDIC at that same event, and boy, am I glad I did! You’d be hard pressed to find anyone within our organization who promotes NACE more than Vanessa! Her NACE resume is endless, and she’d be the first person to urge any newcomer to volunteer for NACE duty. She walks to the walk and talks the talk as well. When you check in at the registration area, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be greeted by Vanessa, who year after year volunteers her time to assist in the member check-in process. Be on the lookout for her (and tell her I sent you!).

Norma Guerra Gaier: As the current Director of the Career Center at Texas State University, Norma already has a full plate; Her plate is about to get a whole lot fuller this summer when she moves into the role of NACE President-Elect for 2017-2018. Norma’s passion for NACE runs deep (she even worked for the enterprise early in her career….ask her to tell you some stories about it!). More recently, her work with NACE has focused on causes such as the NACE Principles for Professional Practice and advocacy efforts. Be sure to introduce yourself to Norma, and I am sure she’ll give you plenty of reasons as to why you should get more involved with this great organization!

(Editor’s note:) And, make time to meet David Ong. He’s outgoing and full of great ideas.

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

David Ong currently oversees corporate and college recruiting activities at MAXIMUS Inc. in Reston, VA. Prior to joining MAXIMUS in 2004, David managed college recruiting programs at Booz Allen Hamilton, Citigroup Corporate and Investment Bank, and Capital One. He served on the NACE Board of Directors from 2011-2015. He is a proud graduate of the University of Richmond, where he majored in business.

10 People to Meet at #NACE17

by Marc Goldman

Las Vegas, baby! My first NACE conference back in 2001 was held in Vegas, and I never tire of returning there—that other city that never sleeps. Waking up in the morning to see people first heading toward their rooms. Surveying the blackjack tables to find NACE Past-President Dan Black holding court and making everyone laugh. Breathing in the scientifically designed air and squinting through the dusk- or dawn-like lighting of the Paris hotel to keep you wide awake and slightly off your game no matter what time of day or evening it might be. And all of this can be yours if the price is right! No, wait, that’s an entirely different form of gambling. All of this can be yours if you attend the NACE 2017 conference from June 6-9!

I was asked to resurrect my traditional (if twice counts these days) blog post about who to meet at the NACE conference. And I am happy to oblige. Having been to so many of these gatherings, I forget what it is like to be a first-time attendee or know very few people in the massiveness of the crowd. I mean 2,000 or so career services and campus relations professionals running roughshod to get that perfect seat at a keynote or to be first in line at the buffet table or beverage outpost can be daunting. Where do you begin? If you are a conference first-timer, why not say hi to two awesome and extremely enthusiastic individuals who are leading the conference first-timers team, Christine Dito of UC – Davis and Lindsay Moran of Liberty Mutual Insurance.   They will be in Vegas to welcome you and lead a fun breakfast session on Wednesday morning just for first-timers. But don’t feel like you will be on your own there. It is likely the largest event at the conference other than keynotes or celebrations. And Chris and Lindsay have assembled their own team of NACE rock stars to help them with this great program. Somehow, even I got on this committee! Well, I do a mean bit of karaoke, but the videos have not been put on You Tube just yet.

Looking to make a connection from the west coast? Do your best to meet up with Amy Adams from Pepperdine or Vicki Klopsch from Scripps. Amy just served as co-chair with Melissa Gervase of Turner Construction for the Leadership Advancement Program, and Vicki was a member of the 2017 Conference Program Committee with me. This soft spoken (ha!) New Yorker always enjoys conference time with these two California colleagues. They both have such dedication to their students and their institutions, and they provide interesting views on our field as well.

Interested in learning more about NACE leadership? Make Kathleen Powellsure to say hi to outgoing NACE President Kathleen Powell from William and Mary and incoming NACE President Glen Fowler from the California State Auditor’s office. They are always a joy to speak with and incredibly encouraging and supportive colleagues to have in your corner. Through them, you can gain insights into the history and inner workings of NACE as well as one career services and one employer perspective on our field. That is if you get to chat with both of them while at the conference. Challenge accepted?!

Many of you know that Marilyn Mackes is our stalwart and steadfast NACE Executive Director, but did you know that NACE now has an Assistant Executive Director, Matthew Brink, who oversees the many amazing programs and services offered by our professional association? Matthew comes from an extensive background in career services and is quite the conference raconteur. Always looking his dapper best, Matthew is someone to get to know if you have the chance to cross paths with him in the Paris or on the Strip!

And as always, feel free to say hi to me. How else will I know that someone has actually checked out this blog post? Throw me a bone here. Or better yet, toss me a $100 chip, so I can play blackjack with Dan! See you in June, and follow me at the conference for my anecdotes and observations. I’m @MarcGoldmanNYC.

Marc Goldman, Executive Director, Career Center, Yeshiva UniversityMarc Goldman, Executive Director, Career Center, Yeshiva University
Twitter: @MarcGoldmanNYC
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/marcjgoldman

#NACE17: Meet. Greet. Follow Up!

by Kathy Douglas
Make the most of networking opportunities at NACE 2017!

As career development professionals, we all know how to do this. We advise our students on networking at conferences, events, and career fairs all the time. So I know you know how, and the annual NACE conference is the perfect time to network with peers across the country in a super friendly atmosphere. It’s the proverbial opportunity to practice what we preach. Introverts and extroverts, thinkers and feelers, high and medium EQs alike can prep, reach out, and make the most of networking during #NACE17!

The advance planning

Reach out pre-conference on LinkedIn.  I just posted a discussion in the NACE LinkedIn group asking who is going to the conference, and confirming that my travel arrangements are done!  This can be a great way to get out in front of peers, and start networking well in advance. Once you have access to a list of conference attendees, you will also have the perfect excuse to connect. Update the standard LinkedIn invite: “I see you are going to NACE. I’d like to add you to my LinkedIn network, and hope to meet you there!” I did this several years ago for the New Orleans NACE, and did indeed meet up with a few individuals I had pre-connected with on LinkedIn.

Post to the NACE Community discussion board.  I just tried itwill let you know how it goes!  Hopefully I will hear from other conference goers, so I know who to look for in June!

Download, set up, and use the conference app. Conference apps offer some great resources and tools for streamlining social media, allowing messaging with peers, collecting session info and locations in one place, and providing real time information on session changes. Last year’s app included capability of making your own schedule, connecting with conference goers, creating your own profile, and linking to your social media accounts. Make the app part of your world for a few days, and if possible, set it up before you leave home.

Reach out to your established NACE and career services networks before the conference. If you have done MLI, RLI, career coaching, NACE blogging, committee work, or other NACE programs, reach out to peers to meet for coffee or dinner. Last year I was able to physically connect with a good half-dozen cohort colleagues from MLI, and connected with several more I didn’t have the opportunity to meet in person.  Ironically, I was also able to meet current and former colleagues from my own university that I rarely see, even in New Haven. And last but not least, I made it a point to meet NACE’s Social Media and Communities Manager, Claudia Allen, in person after we had been communicating via e-mail and social media for months. I made it a point to stalk her and track her down to say hello in person!

MLI 12 Alumnas meeting for lunch at #NACE16: Julie Labich, Associate Director of Employer Relations at USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, Kathy Douglas, and Ann Garner, Executive Director, Career Center, Johns Hopkins University

The obvious things to do

Tweet and Instagram.  Tag #NACE17. The first time Twitter made any sense to me was during #NACE11. In real time, conference goers were tweeting out take-aways from panels and recommending attendance to peers. I might have shuffled between sessions, hearing about one that sounded really great going on at the same time! It is a brilliant tool for real time communication. I used to feel a little awkward tweeting, thinking I wasn’t paying attention during programs, but have found just the opposite to be true: I listen much more carefully for take-aways to report out to the twittersphere. It’s a quick and easy way to share programs, spark conversations, recommend activities outside of the conference, and o congratulate peers.  And it becomes an historical record, saved indefinitely online.  Check out #NACE16 on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to see what you may have missed last year! 

Go where no woman or man has gone before

Don’t always travel with known colleagues during meals. There is comfort in avoiding “cafeteria angst” by meeting and sitting with people you already know, but it limits new connections and conversations.  Be bold and sidle up to a few strangers at breakfast.  Offer to pour someone’s coffee if you see them struggling with a plate and bowl at the breakfast bar. If you are with colleagues, split up at the table. Make the conversation light, talk about the food. Then ask a few questions about the person next to you, their institution or company and their role. Ideally they will ask you about you, too. But even if they don’t, find a follow up. “How is your recruiting going this year?” you might ask an employer rep or colleague. (Warning: Ask college sports-related questions at your own peril.)

Be curious, ask questions, then listen 

We all know that people like to talk about themselves, and genuine curiosity is inviting.  Try to find common ground as well as differences quickly with people you meet. And then ask more questions.  Offer compliments—”I can’t imagine how you manage to provide services to 10,000 students with a staff of 23,” I might say to a colleague from a big-10 school. “How do you do it?  What kind of third party resources do you use? How are you still standing?” Or you may ask anyone questions about activities outside of the conference such as: “Which zip line will you be doing this week?”

Extend the conference dialog

We’re all listening, learning, and discussing ideas, best practices, big picture themes, and new technologies over several days with fabulous keynote speakers. The topics of discussion are endless. Use the conference content for talking points.  During last year’s conference, you might have asked other people what they thought about Leland Melvin’s “orbital perspective,” or Lindsay Pollak‘s comment that McKinsey is now using “young leader” to characterize new recruit cohorts rather than using the terms “millennial” or “Gen Y.”  Have we come full circle?

Introducing two colleagues over breakfast: Alyssa Student, Assistant Director, CDO, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Welsley Thorne, Director of the Career Center at UCLA.

Be generous by introducing people you know or have just met to each other

The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.
Keith Ferrazzi, Author of Never Eat Alone

Be a facilitator at your lunch table, or at the phone charging stations. Be generous and introduce people you know to other people you have just met or colleagues from other schools.  Facilitate group introductions around a table, and ask a good general question for anyone at the table. Once a conversation gets going, sit back and be an active listener.

Try this simple conversation starter

Use the fun NACE name badge ribbons as a conversation starter (and be sure to select a few for yourself!). “I see this is your first conference. How’s it going so far?”  Or “I see you need coffee before speaking to anyone in the a.m.  Me too.  Have you had any yet?”  Or, “Oh, I see you’re presenting.  What’s your topic?”  “What year did you do MLI, and did Manny present?”  Or “I see you’re an MLI alum.  What is MLI?”


Be a career services or industry researcher

Come with questions for your own research, and use them once you learn some basics from a new connection. What do you want to know to help you professionally and to improve your office? Pick a few topics that you can use over the course of the conference. You might poll several people: “Does your office have any diversity and inclusion initiatives?”  “Have you felt the effects of changes in federal hiring for your population?” “How is your office structured, and what are the relationships among the career office, student affairs, admissions and other administrative units?” “Do you provide services for alumni?” “What population is your company recruiting for this fall?” “Does your office offer professional skills workshops, and if so, what are they?”  “What was the best new program you did this year?”

Think about networking as relationship building

One of my favorite quotes on networking comes from Pete Leibman:

Here’s the truth: Networking is NOT all about who you know or who knows you. Networking is all about who likes you and who respects you.
When possible, go beyond the simple exchange of contact information or business cards. Let new connections know something personal about you, even a small thing.  Claudia Allen became my BFF over e-mail once we mentioned our grandchildren. Take a few extra minutes to share a joke, talk about a great bookstore (or comedy show) you found around the corner from the hotel—try to connect on multiple levels.

Taking a break at #NACE16 to celebrate and make some new friends!

Don’t forget to follow up

Follow Up. This is what we all tell our students.  Take quick notes with the gist of any productive conversations and note the follow up you would like to do. “Send so and so that article on salary negotiations for women.” “E-mail a copy of our first advising session checklist.” “Introduce so and so to so and so.” “Thank so and so for great idea and tell them you hope to see them at NCDA.” “Check in about X university’s policy on accepting offers.” I use business cards I collect to write on, and supplement with paper or the notepad function on my phone.
And remember: What happens at NACE should NOT just stay at NACE. Keep the connections alive. Happy conferring!

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

#NACE17: “Start Me Up”

by Kathleen Powell

“Oh Sweet Child of Mine,” I want you to “Walk this Way” to the NACE17 Conference & Expo!

“Don’t Stop Believing,” the conference is around the corner and if you’re new to the profession or your first time at the conference, I’ll see you in Vegas!  Ok, even if you’ve been to several conferences, I’m looking forward to seeing you!  “Ain’t Nobody” more excited to see you than me!

So, we’ve all heard, “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” “Our Lips Are Sealed.”  You’ll make new connections, or rekindle old ones, attend sessions, connect during breaks and go “Round and Round” with colleagues as we are “Burning Down the House,” ok? (Not really!)

The NACE17 conference will present amazing opportunities.  For some, there may be nervous jitters about what to expect, who will I know, what should I wear, and so forth.  Fear not!  I’m here to assist,  “Time After Time.”

NACE17 will give you plenty of opportunities to network and network you should.  There are no hidden tips or tricks to networking.  “You Got It (The Right Stuff)” and you’re in good company, we all have interests, backgrounds and knowledge to share and striking up a conversation at the conference will come easily.  New faces, fresh ideas, and plenty of time to expand your professional network. “One Things Leads to Another!”

The conference app is your friend!  Use it, “All Night Long.”  Be strategic.  Pick your sessions and go early, the rooms do fill up quickly, but if you can’t get into a presentation, the handouts and/or PowerPoints are in the app and available at MyNACE after the conference.  And, I’d suggest a backup session as an alternate.  There are more than 80 sessions to choose from throughout the conference and I have no doubt you’ll land on sessions of your choice!

You’ll be “Hungry Like the Wolf”, so take advantage of all the breaks and provided meals in the Exhibit Hall.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised by all the excitement, products, vendors, and ways to connect.  “Jump” on the site visits and the Innovation Challenge.  “How Will I Know,” you ask, if  you are participating in site visits and the Innovation Challenge?  “Bust a Move” and go to NACEweb.org and either register or check MyNACE.

With “Every Breath You Take”, don’t be “Too Shy”, because if you’ve not figured it out by now, the 80s are coming to NACE17!  “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” and you’ll be going “Round and Round,” even a “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” will make you think you “Just Can’t Get Enough.” That’s right, you read it here first, Thursday night you’ll be saying, “I Love Rock N’ Roll.”  You’ll be “Walking on Sunshine” after driving your “Little Red Corvette.”  So final words, “Everybody Have Fun Tonight,” safe travels to NACE17 because it’s “My Perogative.”

Kathleen PowellKathleen Powell, president of the National Association of Colleges and Employers, will be attending #NACE17 in Las Vegas. Look for her…and say hello…”That’s What Friends Are For”!

Rise and Thrive

by Samantha Haimes

Samantha Haimes won the 2016 NACE/Spelman Johnson Rising Star Award.

Last summer was a bit of a personal and professional whirlwind for me. Within two months, I left a job that afforded me growth, opportunity, and some of the best co-workers I could ever imagine, took my dream trip to southern Italy (let’s chat if you need any convincing on taking this trip for yourself), and moved to a new state, 1,700 miles from my friends and family in south Florida. In the midst of all of this, I also achieved one of my biggest professional accomplishments to date: receiving the NACE/Spelman Johnson Rising Star Award at the 2016 NACE Conference & Expo.

Since beginning in career services about six years ago, I have enjoyed learning about the recipient of the Rising Star. Perhaps it is because some of the people I admire most in our field have won this in years past (they know who they are, I gush over their accomplishments and amazing personalities everytime I see them). But I think it is also because there is something really motivating and inspiring to me about professionals getting recognized for strong leadership and contributions to our field, even just a few years into their career.

Contributions to the field… only four to seven years in? It may sound like a tall order, especially if you’re newer to the field. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there have been [many] moments when I’ve questioned myself: Am I significantly contributing to the field?  I am not running my own department or division. I am not single-handedly restructuring an office or offering consulting services to other career centers. Am I making significant contributions?

But what I’ve realized is, there is so much that goes into making positive, impactful, and meaningful contributions to the field career services. Among many things, being a leader in this field also has a lot to do with the way that you carry yourself, your willingness to learn and take risks, the relationships you strive to build, and your ability and openness to reflect.

As I said, I have always enjoyed hearing about what has influenced the path of past recipients, as I’ve tried to apply some of those things to my own professional practice. So when asked to write this blog post, I thought it was only appropriate to share a few tips of my own that I strive for each day.

Ask questions. This is something I actively work on. The Achiever in me loves to get things done, so it can be easy to just start tackling a problem or issue at work without asking critical questions. Newer professionals may sometimes shy away from asking questions as well, concerned that it might appear they lack knowledge, skills, or moreover that they are questioning something inappropriately. However, we have to get past all of this and realize that taking the time to ask well-thought-out questions will actually yield greater results. Not to mention, you will seem that much more engaged in whatever you’re working on in your office and will likely make others feel comfortable to ask questions themselves. One of my mentors taught me a lot of lessons in asking questions. I notice that whenever I ask for her advice or guidance, she doesn’t actually give me the answer. She simply asks me questions until I process things out enough to make my own decision. It’s tricky, but effective!

Become your own advocate. Throughout the earlier years of my career, I had a lot of difficulty asking for things that I wanted. I never wanted to appear selfish and I definitely did not want to inconvenience or bother anyone. This all came from a good place, but can be a debilitating mindset to take on as a professional. Just because you know what you want and ask for it, doesn’t mean you are being selfish—if you ask for it in the right context.

Funny enough, I learned a big lesson in this area when it came to attending the NACE conference. In 2013, the conference was just a few hours from my then-home in Miami and I was dying to go. The trouble was, sending me to the conference would be costly and I knew some key players in my office were already attending. At one point in my career, I would have accepted this as defeat, assumed I couldn’t attend, and felt disappointed as I followed the conference on social media later in the year. But instead, I printed out the conference program, outlined specific goals, and went through each session identifying which I would attend and the direct contributions I could make to the office after attending. I made my “pitch” to the executive director and left his office feeling exhilarated. There was something so energizing about making my case. I almost didn’t even care what the outcome was because at the end of the day, I knew I had done everything I could to try and attend. I reference this example, so many years later, because it was truly a turning point for me. It afforded me a level of professional confidence and maturity that made me realize the importance and impact of advocating for myself. Whenever I find myself feeling intimidated to ask for something, I think of the feeling I had when I left his office (and the subsequent feeling when he approved me to attend later that week) and channel that same energy.

Be genuine. We are lucky to work in a field with some outstanding professionals who are even more amazing people. Getting to know your colleagues as individuals and not just for their roles is an all-around strategy that will help you accomplish more in your work and likely help you enjoy everyday at the office even more. It is so important to stay genuine to who you are. I really believe people can tell the difference between someone who is genuine and someone who is being fake—we’ve all seen it right? I show people the real Samantha, pretty much right up front. I have a lot of energy and passion, I’m upbeat and positive, and dare I say it, am a bit of a raging extrovert. The relationships I’ve built, with colleagues and mentors within my own departments and across the country, are in large part thanks to my willingness to be my genuine self in front of others. Think of someone who you would describe as genuine in your life. Chances are, you likely enjoy their company, trust their judgement, and appreciate their character, confidence, and communication style. If you break each of these things down, aren’t these all qualities we want from the people we work with? Be genuine yourself and you’ll attract others who are genuine.

Practice gratitude. Maybe I am influenced by all of the resolutions of 2017, but I think that gratitude is something we may not always think about when it comes to the workplace. But we have a lot to be thankful for. We work in a field that makes a lasting impact on students’ lives, has consistent national attention, and is filled with inspiring innovators and thought-leaders for us to all look up to. Hopefully you work in an office where the work that you are doing day-to-day is something to be thankful for, along with your colleagues, co-workers, and supervisors. I would advise that whether you are a newer or more seasoned professional, making a conscious effort to practice gratitude in the workplace can be a gamechanger. It is easy to get caught up in the “busy season” and anxiously await for summer and holiday breaks when things slow down. But isn’t the business of it all what makes us thrive? Without students on campus, none of us would have these roles.

In 2016, when I knew there was the potential for some personal and professional change in my life, I made an intentional effort to start each day with a grateful heart. Well, I challenge everyone, including myself, to start each workday with a sincerely grateful mind. When you go into work, and you have a busy day with back-to-back Outlook calendar invites, I guarantee there is still something to be grateful for. Maybe you finally secured a meeting with a faculty member you’ve been trying to get in front of, or perhaps you’re hosting a new program in partnership with a student organization that could lead to something great. Whatever the case may be, adopting this mindset can have a positive lasting impact not only on the work that you produce, but on your professional reputation and brand.

In the end, strive to thrive. You know your role better than anyone, so challenge yourself in this next year to thrive as a career services professional. As I now settle into my new home in Vermont, post conference and post Rising Star, I am consistently striving to thrive as a professional, thrive in relationships I build with both new and existing colleagues, and thrive in my own self-reflection.

The NACE Awards honor members’ outstanding achievements in the career services and HR/staffing professions. Excellence Awards are judged on program needs/objectives, content, design, creativity, innovation, measurable outcomes and ease of replication. Win honors and recognition for yourself, your staff, and your organization. Awards submissions close January 31, 2017. Details: http://www.naceweb.org/about-us/awards.aspx.

Samantha HaimesLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samanthaghaimes
Twitter: @sghaimes

Samantha Haimes is a career services professional with a passion for connecting and educating both students and employers. She works in marketing and communications at Middlebury College’s Center for Careers and Internships. Prior to her current position, she was employed at the University of Miami in various roles at the Toppel Career Center, most recently as the Associate Director for Career Readiness. She earned a master of science in higher education from the University of Miami and a bachelor of arts in advertising and public relations from the University of Central Florida. She has also worked at Cabrini College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.