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.

Building Memories

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

 

Now that #NACE16 is upon us, I found myself reminiscing last night. As part of the NACE Executive Board, I had a number of preconference commitments, and it was during the course of some of these interactions that I realized that this is the 15th anniversary of my very first NACE conference back in 2001 in Las Vegas! After absorbing that fact, I also realized that I was literally having cocktails with the three ladies who helped to make my first conference an experience that I remember vividly to this day.

David with Kathy and Vanessa.

David with Kathy and Vanessa.

I remember feeling very lost at the opening reception. It was a sea of people, almost none of whom I knew. I felt a little intimidated and a bit lonely (or at least as lonely as you can feel in a crowd of 2,000 plus people!). At that moment, someone tapped me on the my shoulder and said “You look like this might be your first time here…”. When I turned around, I was greeted by a woman with a huge smile who introduced herself as Vanessa Strauss (who would soon become the president of NACE). I responded that yes, this was indeed my first conference, and I didn’t have a clue what I was supposed to do next! She laughed, took my arm, and led me over to a group of people surrounding the front podium of the reception area, and she told me that she wanted to introduce me to Kathy Sims from UCLA, the (then) current NACE president. A long conversation ensued where I was welcomed as both a new conference attendee and a relatively new member of NACE. Both Vanessa and Kathy went out of their way to introduce me to several other members over the course of the week, which helped provide me with connections that I value to this day.

Flash forward another decade of so…..Kathy and Vanessa had been urging me for years to volunteer time with NACE, and truth be told, I fought off these overtures for years. They eventually wore me down though (they’re quite an effective tag team!), and I remember getting the call from Vanessa herself that I had been selected to serve on the Board of Directors. How fitting it was that one of the people that helped get me started on my NACE journey was delivering this happy news! And when the news became public, Kathy was one of the first to call with her congratulations, thus completing the circle.

David and Trudy

David and Trudy

Going back to Vegas…..My organization planned a fun university relations event for a small group of career center personnel at a nearby art exhibit. While I knew most of the attendees, this event afforded me some quality time with some particularly influential career center personnel. While there were several such individuals in attendance, I found myself drawn to the team from NYU, which was headed by Trudy Steinfeld. And while she and I talked for a couple of hours, it was amusing to me that we spoke very little about work! We talked baseball, living in NYC, our own college experiences, etc. When the event concluded, we didn’t just do the typical business card exchange; we actually made plans to meet up for happy hour a few weeks later in NYC.

From there, a wonderful friendship has bloomed. Trudy and I (and a large group of mutual friends) have shared cherished memories related to NACE activities, professional development opportunities, overseas trips, etc. When I am looking for professional advice, she is one of the first people I call for counsel, which says a lot.

Now that #NACE16 is ready for launch, I want to urge all of you newcomers out there (over 1,200 strong, at last count) to make the most of this first conference. Try doing these things: 1) Meet as many people as you can at the opening reception. Yes, it can feel pretty crazy, but remember that there a lot of people who have never done this before, so you’re not alone! 2) Attend the newcomer breakfast on Wednesday morning. You’ll get a chance to meet President-Elect Kathleen Powell and other NACE leaders who will be hosting the individual tables. They’ll answer your questions and talk about their experiences with our organization. 3) Don’t eat alone…..Don’t be afraid to sit at a lunch table filled with people you don’t know. Or to organize a group of people to grab dinner at one of Chicago’s many fine eateries.

David Ong

David Ong writing his latest blog while at #NACE16.

Now get out there and network! You’ll be glad you did….

#NACE16 Conference Time

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.

naceappDownload the app and schedule your time. Set up your conference itinerary and use your smartphone or tablet to be your daily guide. The conference app 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 the Hilton Chicago and the Expo Hall, and you’ll be able to message your colleagues through the app. To download this app, go to your device’s app store and search for NACE16. The app is free.

Need a little help using the app? Come to a free demonstration, 3 – 4 p.m. Tuesday, at NACE Connect in the Continental Ballroom.

Here’s the weather forecast. The average temperatures in Chicago in early June are typically in the mid- to upper-70s. AccuWeather.com says it will be mostly sunny the week of the conference.

comfortable shoesChoose your shoes for comfort. Business casual is the recommended dress for the event, but comfortable shoes are key. While regular conference events are on two floors of the Hilton Chicago, visiting the two exhibit halls and hitting the concurrent sessions means the potential for a lot of wear and tear on your feet. Wear your most comfortable shoes.luggage tag

Use your new NACE luggage tag. Spot your luggage (and that of other NACE16 attendees) at the luggage carousel quickly with NACE’s new luggage tag, sent to all NACE members in late spring.

Connect to 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 to network with colleagues. You’ll find:

  • Recharging Lounge (sponsored by TMP Worldwide): Charge your phone or tablet while you rest your feet. Daily.
  • TECHbar (sponsored by Macy’s, Inc.): Learn how to use the latest apps and ask questions about how to make your technology work smarter for you! Daily.
  • Refueling Station: Snacks!
  • Welcome to Chicago Table (Tuesday only): Stop by and say hello to some of NACE’s Chicago locals and ask them what you shouldn’t miss while you’re in the Windy City.
  • NACE16 Mobile App Demo (3-4 p.m. Tuesday): Learn how to fully use the conference app.
  • Innovation Labs (Tuesday)
  • SMARTtalks (Wednesday)
  • Dinner sign ups (Wednesday)
  • Diversity & Inclusion Insight Labs (Thursday)

First time at the conference? Don’t miss the first-timers session sponsored by Raytheon Company, Wednesday morning in the Continental Ballroom. Spend an hour and eat breakfast while networking with other first timers. Get tips from attendees who have navigated the conference before on how to make the most of your conference experience.

plumshirtsIf the shirt is deep plum, it must be Tuesday. Questions? Need help? NACE staff is easily identifiable by the color of their shirts.

  • Wednesday: Red
  • Thursday: Teal
  • Friday: Green 

badgesIdentify 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.

nace networkianPick up a ribbon for every badge. You’re not a speaker, an exhibitor, a board member, a first timer, or a blogger, but gosh darn, you’d like a ribbon to stick to your badge too.

coffee firstWell, this year, we have a ribbon for you! Twelve new fun ribbons—including NACE Networkian, NACE Nerd, Recruiting Superhero—plus ribbons to mark nace 60thyour 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th, and 35th year as a NACE member.

Registration is open. Pick up your registration packet. Tuesday, June 7, 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.

Get free Wi-Fi in the NACE space at the conference. Login: TMP Password: TalentBrew. (Not available in the Expo Hall or in your hotel room.)

dancing shoesPrepare for a formal evening and wear your dancing shoes. Thursday, attend the NACE 60th Gala Reception from 6 – 7 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom. Then, catch the bus to the Field Museum for the NACE 60th Gala Reception, dinner and dancing, 7 – 11 p.m. You must have a ticket to enter the reception.

Don’t leave your room without these things: Room key, electronic device with the NACE16 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.

Don’t forget to participate in social media. Tweet, Instagram, Facebook…share your conference experiences with fellow attendees and with those who couldn’t attend this year. See this great blog from Shannon Conklin and Kevin Gaw for details.

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

Have a great conference and have a NACE Day! (Yes…we have that ribbon!)

have a nace day

Networking Made Easy for the NACE16 Crowd

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/

Did you know that 90 percent of all people are afraid to walk in to a room full of people they don’t know? It’s true and that’s why networking, mingling, and “working a room” can be daunting! And you might be thinking, “Don’t I have enough connections?” Well networking is about connections and opportunities. So, how does one make the most of opportunities that are presented? Know before you go wins the day every time! With the NACE conference next week, I’m sharing tips that have worked for me. I call them the Three P’s to networking! Preparation, Practice, and Presentation!

Preparation. Before any event, I look at the attendee list, if available, to see who will be attending and what connection I’d like to make. For example, the NACE conference, go to myNace>events> NACE 16 Conference and on the actions carrot, select attendee list. Knowing before you go is a great strategy! Think about your purpose. Another suggestion made by a wise colleague, “You never know when you’re doing business.” What was meant by that is you could strike up a conversation in an elevator and later find out that individual would become a business affiliate or colleague. Go with a plan! Do you want to meet five new people, two new people? It is for you to decide!

Practice. How will I start a conversation, stop a conversation, present a business card? Make an introduction? In the age of technology with text speak and most communication coming through computers and handheld devices, I often get the question, “What should I say?” I smile and recommend, “Hello, my name is (you fill in the blank). It’s nice to meet you.” The person standing in front of you will politely respond and then you start your conversation. The real question I’m being asked is, “What do I say next?” It has to be your own words, but it could be something like, “Have you been to an event like this before?” or “What are you looking forward to with this event?” If the person has participated in such an event before, “What should I expect from this event?” or “Any advice for me?” All of these opening lines are open-ended questions where the person you are engaging with shares more than a yes/no answer. From there you may land on common ground and the rest is history, as they say!

Presentation: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. I’ll repeat that, you never get a second chance to make a first impression! Think about it. How do you want to present yourself? It’s more than just your words! Perhaps this goes without saying, but I’m going to say it. Look the part! Being polished and dressed appropriately for the function you are attending will make you and those around you comfortable. Take your business cards and carry then in your pocket. I keep my cards in my right pocket and those I’ve collected in my left pocket. The last thing I want to do is dig through my handbag searching for my business card holder. I also keep a pen handy as well. After meeting with someone, I try to find a private space to write a note on the back of their card to remind myself if I need to follow up with any specific deliverable. Smile and make eye contact. It’s hard to make an introduction if you’re not looking at the person you’d like to meet! If the event provides name tags, wear them high on the right or if the lanyard tags are provided, make sure you “tie it up” so it hangs at the appropriate length!

Remember, if 90 percent of all people feel the same way about meeting new people, many of us are in this together! Be consider and appropriate, watch your time and be respectful, listen and remember to follow up. For those attending the NACE 16 Conference, I look forward to meeting you and for us to practice our networking skills together!

Explore Chicago While You’re at #NACE16

Shawn VanDerziel photoShawn VanDerziel, Chief Human Resources Officer at The Field Museum
Twitter: @ShawnVDZ
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/svanderziel

 

 

Make the most of your Chicago experience…

I am genuinely happy to welcome my NACE colleagues and friends to town for NACE’s 2016 Conference. I hope you are able to plan extra days before and/or after to explore this fine city. Whether you have just a few extra hours or a couple of days I thought I might offer a few suggestions for exploring the city.

Most of the suggestions are close to the conference hotel, which is in the South Loop neighborhood.

Exercise

Run… jog…walk through Grant Park (directly across from the hotel) or Millennium Park (home to the Cloud/Bean, and summer concerts) and along the Lakefront. The lakefront is not to be missed; it is our pride and joy. Better yet, you can easily rent a bike at Divvy, one of our shared bike stations.

Eat

It’s easy to get to some of Chicago’s best restaurants. Some are within walking distance, but there are many more just a quick/inexpensive taxi ride away in the following neighborhoods/areas: River North, along the Magnificent Mile, the Gold Coast and the not to be missed foodie paradise of the West Loop.

Grab a bite to eat at one of our celebrity-chef restaurants. We have the likes of Rick Bayless, Grant Achatz, Stefanie Izzard, Fabio Viviani, Graham Elliott Bowles, and Takakshi Yagihashi among others. Most will require advance reservations though. Or you might want to checkout a celebrity owned (or named) restaurant like Ditka’s, Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse, RPM Italian, RPM Steakhouse, or Harry Caray’s among many others.

Perhaps you  are in the mood for Chinese, then explore one of the restaurants in Chinatown or for Italian, visit our Little Italy.  Both are short cab rides away.

And there is always pizza. You’ve got to indulge in our world famous deep dish (or our cracker thin)! Within walking distance you’ll find: Lou Malnati’s, Pizano’s, Giordano’s, and Aurelio’s.

Shop

A quick taxi/Uber/Lyft ($6-7) or bus ride ($2.25) will get you to the Magnificent Mile (North Michigan Avenue) where you will find all of the top retailers.

Sports

Bummer… the Chicago Cubs are not in town the week of the conference. However, our other hometown team is. You might want to catch a Chicago White Sox game. They are playing all week and getting to the stadium is quick and easy by cab or even more quickly by the subway/El.

Music

We are known for it… checkout the blues and/or jazz scene. Within walking distance is one of Chicago’s most famous hangouts, Buddy Guy’s Legends. Further afield you will find: Blue Chicago, Green Mill, and B.L.U.E.S.

Theater and Comedy Shows

We have plenty of it. You can find last minute discounted tickets (up to a week in advance) at Hottix.org

Museums (of course!)

Walk (15 minutes) or take a quick cab ride to The Field Museum. That’s where I work. Admittedly, I am biased, but you can’t spend time in Chicago without seeing The Field. We’ve got: Sue, the largest, most complete T-Rex ever discovered; the Lions of Tsavo (from the movie Ghost and the Darkness); the amazing Terracotta Warriors; mummies in our Inside Ancient Egypt exhibition; dinosaurs; spectacular gems; and so much more.

You’ll indulge in social activity and the glamour of The Field Museum during Thursday night’s 60th Anniversary Gala (a must attend event!) , but you’ll want to take a special trip to explore properly.

And

Visit the Art Institute of Chicago, voted the number one Museum in the Country by TripAdvisor. You can walk there in about 10 minutes.

Whatever you do, HAVE FUN! There is something for everyone. I hope you are able to get out of the hotel to find out why Chicagoans love their city; especially in the summer!

7 People You Must Meet at the NACE Conference in Chicago

Dan BlackDan Black, Americas Director of Recruiting, EY LLP
2013-14 NACE President
Twitter: @DanBlack_EY
LinkedIn: Dan Black

 
I have a confession to make: I LOVE people. I mean, I love virtually EVERYONE … almost without exception. It’s actually become a running joke among my family and friends whenever I talk about meeting someone new. I will run through a litany of positive qualities that I’ve observed in my first encounter with the person and will then get a statement like, “let me guess Dan, you REALLY liked them, right?” To which I will enthusiastically reply in the affirmative as my friends share a sarcastic laugh at my expense. What can I say? When it comes to other people I’m consistently glass-half-full.

With that as a backdrop you can probably imagine how excited I am to attend the NACE Annual Conference this year. Like all the other NACE events I’ve attended over the last 15-plus years, it’s an opportunity to meet some extraordinary people, virtually all of whom share a passion for our profession. For a people-person, this is like the holy grail of networking opportunities, and I fully intend to “leave it all on the field” while I’m there. And since there are few things that I like better than helping other NACE members, I thought I’d give you a few tips on some people to look out for once you arrive in Chicago. Please note that this list could go on and on – there will be hundreds of people to meet and interact with – but I’ll keep the list to a mentally manageable length of seven to get you started. And so without further ado (and in no particular order), here are a few “must-meet” personalities for your reading pleasure:

Manny ContomanolisManny Contomanolis: Director of Career Services and Cooperative Education at RIT and a past president of NACE. You want NACE history? Institutional knowledge? Best practices? Manny’s been around the block a few times and knows more about Career Services than just about anyone I know. Oh, and in case that makes him sound “seasoned”, offer to buy him a cocktail (Gin and Tonic will do nicely) and ask him about men’s fashion. Or fitness. Or Greek history. Suffice it to say that Manny makes the “Most Interesting Man in the World” sound like an insurance salesman. You’re welcome.

Kathleen PowellKathleen Powell: NACE President-Elect and Executive Director of Career Development at William & Mary. Talk about a visionary! Kathleen’s done it all … and has just gone through the process of establishing NACE’s strategic committees for the upcoming fiscal year. She’s an ideal person to tell you all about getting involved with our great organization, and equally equipped to talk about life on the water (her other love). On top of all that, she’s got a sense of humor that’s engaging and a wit that’s as dry as Manny’s gin (see bullet one). You won’t want to miss the opportunity to get to know this special lady before her whirlwind NACE presidency term starts on July 1!

ongDave Ong: Senior Director of Corporate Recruiting at Maximus and NACE VP-Employer. If networking were a sport, Dave would have a spot on the All World team; I’ve never met anyone who has created and maintained so many real connections with people all over the world. Dave has a true passion for helping people, as is evidenced by his track record mentoring dozens of recruiting professionals through NACE over the years. My advice: talk to Dave about building relationships—he’s the best in the business. Then talk to him about his definition of “fast food” in Jerusalem—I promise you it’s a great story.

board-christiangarciaChristian Garcia: Associate Dean and Executive Director at University of Miami and NACE Director—College. If you thought you needed to be long in the tooth to be a force in this profession, then you haven’t met Christian Garcia. An innovator who thinks outside the box, Christian is a prime example of how to get great things done, all while having some fun along the way. Ask him about his path to the NACE board and the innovative things he’s done at Miami (Hire a Cane!). And if you don’t believe me about the fun, be sure ask him to show you his socks; they will most definitely be on fleek (and I actually know what that means now!).

ed-kocEd Koc: NACE Director of Research, Public Policy and Legislative Affairs. Big fan of big data? Like to understand what’s happening in Washington, D.C. besides the partisan bickering? Not sure where to start when thinking about a new school strategy? If any of these things are on your mind, then Ed should be on your dance card; there are few people who know more about research and public policy in the university/recruitment space than he does. Just bring him a decaf coffee (trust me) and let the conversation fly!

Shawn VanDerzielShawn VanDerziel: Chief Human Resources Officer at The Field Museum and a past NACE president. In addition to a nice guy who is probably one of the best active listeners I’ve ever met, Shawn will also be our host for the 60th Anniversary Gala at the Chicago Field Museum on June 9th. If you see him, ask him about how to maximize your time at the conference, as well as your time in Chicago….and then get to the Gala where you can see Shawn in his natural habitat!

dawn carterDawn Carter: Director, Early Careers at Intuit and current NACE President. I saved this sassy and classy lady for last … and for good reason. Dawn is always where the buck stops, whether it’s on tough issues in the profession, big decisions on the Board, or leading the way for younger professionals. Dawn will be running around like a crazed person at the conference, but be sure to stop her and ask her about her love for NACE and how she thinks the profession is evolving. Then tell her a joke … if it’s a good one, you’ll be treated to the timeless Dawn chuckle, guaranteed to bring a smile to your face!

Now that I’ve given you a head start, why stop there??? Start mapping out your strategy now, and by the time you arrive at that conference you’ll be primed and ready to unlock the limitless possibilities of the great NACE network. See you in Chicago!

Dan BlackEditor’s Note: There’s one more person you should introduce yourself to while in Chicago—and that’s Dan Black, Americas Director of Recruiting at EY and a former NACE president. His picture is next to “extrovert” in the dictionary. He’s well known for his wit and easy laugh, and his absolute devotion to NACE. He’s a must-add to your must-meet list.