My First Career Expo

Renee Couperthwaite, Communication and Media Committee, FloridaACE

1 2   If the recent Fall Career Expo, held on September 30, was not the first time you’ve attended a career fair on campus, then you may have noticed some changes.  There was a new check-in system implemented that allowed attendees to electronically check-in and get a name badge printed instantly, as well as keep a running headcount of all attendees.  There was a color-coding system on the student name badges to help employers identify the different colleges and majors to help with effective recruitment.  There was pipe-and-drape set up to dress up the space and give the employers a little more privacy to meet with students.  There were professional-looking signs and marketing materials developed and printed to improve the brand of the Career Expo.  Lastly, the most exciting change was that pre-registration and pre-check-in was available two days prior to the Fall Career Expo.  Pre-registration and pre-check-in gave students the opportunity to walk right in to the event when it started at 11:00 a.m.  There were 91 students who took advantage of this new benefit, and our total attendance was approximately 1250.  It was the largest career expo ever held, so that was a great success for me, personally.  It was also my first career expo as the Employer Relations Coordinator for Career Management Services.

Planning and executing events, especially large events, are nothing new to me.  I have been an ‘unofficial’ event planner for the last 7 years here at Florida Tech.  I originally started my tenure with the Women’s Business Center (recently renamed to weVENTURE), where I not only ran the center’s operations, but also planned many smaller networking events and larger expos & conferences.  My first year, I increased the attendance and revenue of our annual expo by over 300%!  Each year since, I worked very hard to provide meaningful networking opportunities and education for women entrepreneurs through events.  The events grew larger from one year to the next, meaning even more entrepreneurs were getting the assistance they so desperately needed.

Earlier this year, I decided it was time to shift my focus to students.  My first week on the 5job was the Spring Career Expo, so I was just there to assist where I could and observe ways to improve upon the success of this event.  Since that time, I’ve collected lots of wonderful suggestions and worked to implement them into the Fall Career Expo.  Now, my thoughts are shifting on how to improve future career expos.  I have several more ideas brewing – and will do my best include the suggestions you’ve provided in the post-expo survey – and hope to implement some of them for the 2016 Fall Career Expo.  Stay tuned!


I want to say thank you to everyone who attended the Fall Career Expo, and everyone who took part in the planning & execution of it.  I certainly can’t take all the credit.  It takes an exemplary team of people to hold large events, such as this, so thank you to those who helped make my first career expo my greatest professional achievement yet!

(Photo Credits: Michael Brown Photography)

2015 Conference Breakout Spotlight Presentation

Emmanuela P. Stanislaus, Florida Association of Colleges & Employers

Career Center students and staff. Seth Hayden

As some of you may know, one of the perks to presenting at a FloridaACE conference is the potential of being chosen as the Breakout Spotlight Webinar for the following Fall semester.  This honor goes to the breakout presentation that is the top rated among all of the presentations.  This year’s top rated program from the 2015 annual conference was “Professional Development: The Next Frontier” which was presented by Dr. Calvin Williams from Florida State University.

Congratulations on the amazing presentation and winning the breakout spotlight!!!  In addition to being the Breakout Spotlight Webinar, you also receive a FREE conference registration to 2016 conference in Miami, FL.

The webinar will take place on November 18, 2015 from 12pm-1pm.  Be sure to mark your calendars.  This webinar is sponsored by FloridaACE and hosted through SoACE.  To register, visit  We hope that you will be able to attend the webinar and get great information that you can potentially bring to your campuses.

Highlights from the 2015 Summer Business Meeting

Megan Hollis, Florida Association of Colleges and Employers

I hope everyone had a good start to the fall semester and recruiting seaso11535926_414936872044446_1223458225358346546_nn! The 2015 conference seems like it was such a long time ago! For everyone who wasn’t able to make it (or needs a refresher), here’s a quick overview of what we covered in our Business Meeting.

Treasurer’s Report: Overall, we are doing well as an organization. Thank you to everyone who comes out to the conferences; they are our biggest expense and revenue generator.
Secretary’s Report: Our membership numbers are the highest they have ever been! We appreciate all 389 current members for being engaged and helping us grow.

Information Manager’s Report: The FloridaACE LinkedIn group membership is at 1200! Let’s keep it growing and keep up our group discussions. Remember that MemberClicks is a great resource at your disposal. You can find presentations from the conference, the membership directory, and other password protected resources. We are looking for article contributors for the FloridaACE blog. Consider sharing your best practices, first time conference experiences, or anything you’d like to contribute.

President’s Report: We did a great job on our goals for the 2014-2015 year! Accomplishments include changing our name from FCPA to FloridaACE, increasing membership across the board, increased volunteer opportunities, and reviewing our constitution. The board is still working on obtaining insurance for board members.
Past President’s Report: The proposed slate of officers was: Alicia Smyth for Vice President, Tara Stevenson for Information Management Director, Sandy Jakubow for State Member. The slate passed as presented.

*Update – Three vacant board member positions were filled by appointments after the conference: Bill Blank (University of Central Florida) was appointed to the State University Member position, Carla Toles (Disney) to the Employer Member position, and Rob Liddell (Saint Leo University) to the Private College/University Member position. Welcome all!

The board will be getting together in January to continue work on our 2015-2016 goals and the upcoming conference. Looking forward to seeing you all in Miami next summer!

2015 John T. Brownlee Leadership Award Recipient: Mark Colvenbach, The University of Tampa

Alicia Smyth, 2015-16 Vice President, Florida Association of Colleges & Employers

Mark ColvenbachThe John T. Brownlee Leadership Award was established in 1987 by the Florida Association of Colleges & Employers (FloridaACE) in recognition of John T. Brownlee’s contribution and tireless efforts on behalf of the organization. It is the highest honor that a member of FloridaACE can receive and the list of recipients is a “who’s-who” of outstanding career services and human resources professionals who have led the way to make FloridaACE the exemplary organization that it is today. The 2015 FloridaACE John T. Brownlee Leadership Award recipient, Mark Colvenbach, is no exception.

To receive the Brownlee Leadership Award, one must receive two letters of nomination. Mark received seven. He was nominated by three colleagues at The University of Tampa, where he currently serves as the Director of the Office of Career Services. He received a nomination from a mentor at Florida State University, where he received his master’s degree in Counseling and Human Systems. He also received three nominations from FloridaACE board members who had worked with him over the years in both FloridaACE and as part of the Colleges of Central Florida Career Consortium. This is an overwhelmingly accurate testament to Mark’s dedication to FloridaACE and to the career services profession as a whole.

Mark joined the FloridaACE board in 2008 as the first Professional Development Director and stepped up to become President in 2011. He played a critical part in moving our association forward by negotiating our initial contract with MemberClicks and providing leadership during the system implementation. After rolling off the board in 2013, Mark has continued to promote FloridaACE through his role as Director – Employer Relations & Targeted Knowledge Groups on the Southern Association of Colleges & Employers (SoACE) board and continues to serve on various FloridaACE committees.

Excerpts from a few of the nominations Mark received include:

Not only, has this person made FloridaACE grow and develop, but he also has used his excellent leadership skills to identify and mentor new members who will become future FloridaACE leaders. He is often the first person to offer a helping hand or ear to others, both personally and professionally. His ethics and commitment to this profession set a standard for us all, as does his love and commitment to his family. He is the type of person you want as a colleague, and are forever thankful to call “friend.”
– Myrna Hoover, Director, FSU Career Center

This award commemorates John Brownlee’s “enormous energy and enthusiasm to the organization”. It is easy to show that Mark exemplifies that exact description. If one were to review the last decade of FloridaACE conference programs, it would be difficult to find a year that does not include Mark’s leadership as a breakout speaker, panelist, conference chair, committee member, board member, or volunteer.
– Tim Harding, Associate Dean of Career Development & Engagement, The University of Tampa

Throughout Mark’s professional career he has been actively engaged with FloridaACE and has served in a variety of capacities including leadership, volunteer, committee, presenter, and panelist roles. In addition to these roles, Mark is a strong advocate for FloridaACE “behind the scenes” and encourages others to take an active role with FloridaACE and other professional associations including SoACE and NACE. Mark’s dedication to the profession is evident with his continued contributions to FloridaACE and other associations. He is currently up for election to the Board of Directors of SoACE, serves as a well-respected member of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and the Tampa Economic Development Committee. Mark embodies the true characteristics of what a dedicated member of professional and community associations are – collaborative, engaging, committed, motivating, innovative, supportive, and dedicated.
– Katie Meyer Griffith, Associate Director of Graduate Career Services & Strategic Initiatives, The University of Tampa

Mark was a panelist at the 2014 Conference where he repeated a personal motto, “Trust the process.” I took this to mean that young professionals should focus on doing the right things in the right way for the right reasons and success is likely to follow. Clearly Mark’s advice is worth heeding for those beginning in their professional service, for those entering career services at a later point in their career, and for those who find themselves at some distance from their beginning. The process that Mark described in abstract is only amplified when one watches him work with his staff, students, and colleagues.
– Rob Liddell, Director of Career Planning, Saint Leo University

Congratulations to Mark, with many thanks for his vast and continual contributions to FloridaACE. He embodies the spirit of John T. Brownlee and as each of his seven nominators clearly stated, is truly deserving of this honor.

The call for nominations for the 2016 John T. Brownlee Leadership Award is coming soon, so please consider submitting a nomination for a deserving FloridaACE member. To see a list of past award recipients and to learn about selection criteria, please visit the Brownlee Leadership Award page on the FloridaACE website.