Fawn Germer FloridaACE 2015 Closing Keynote has a message for you!

Fawn Germer has traveled the world to speak to organizations including but not limited to Coca-Cola, Ford Motor Co., Cisco, Novartis, NASA, Boeing, and Motorola.  She also spent some time as a journalist covering higher education and was our 2015 Closing Keynote Speaker.fawn-cropped-e1404741034610

Please read Fawn’s blog below – Knowing Your Path (and Staying on It)

Every time I have veered off my intended path, it has been a mistake. A huge, miserable learning experience that I could have avoided if I’d just listened to that voice inside of me that said, “I. Don’t. Want. This.”

You cannot achieve balance if you are not true to your own personal path. You can make a situation functional, but not harmonious. Granted, there are times when you have to sacrifice harmony for function. If your spouse is diagnosed with cancer, you aren’t going to walk off your miserable job and away from your insurance and paycheck until things settle down.

But know your path. Your destiny.

Soon after my first book was published, I was asked to be the senior editor of the alternative newspaper in Tampa. I was reluctant, but a close friend was going to be my boss, and she urged me to just try it. “If you don’t like it,” she said, “you can quit.”

Hard Won Wisdom had just been on Oprah and was just starting to take off, but I didn’t know how successful it would be or whether I was ever going to be able to turn “that speaker thing” into a viable career. What I knew was that I was being offered a weekly paycheck, health insurance, and the stability and financial security that had eluded me for nearly three years since I’d quit my job as a journalist to write my book.

It had been so long since I’d worked a job that the first day felt like it lasted for two months. I kept checking my watch. It’s 2:07 p.m., 2:19 p.m., 2:23 p.m. — it was one of the longest days in my whole life, and things didn’t get any better after that.

The politics of that company would wind up being the worst I’d ever seen, and there was a real saboteur in our midst. While my boss/friend was one of the best bosses I’d ever had, I was so miserable that I looked ill. I was hunched over. I couldn’t sleep.

After seven insufferable weeks, a close friend called me at work and said, “I think you need to read Hard Won Wisdom.” She was joking about sending me to the self-help book I’d written, but I did exactly what she suggested and turned right to the page with my most important interview, with world-famous oceanographer Sylvia Earle, known as “Her Deepness.” Earle’s discussion of how we will never achieve our potential if we can’t take risks was what motivated me to quit my journalism job in the first place.

I read the lines, “Many people resist risk and are only comfortable with the security of knowing, when they go to sleep at night, what the next day is going to be like. That’s comforting. It’s secure. And living like that is a choice they are free to make. … Risk is a choice. It is the only way to test your potential.”

After I read that quote, I walked into my friend’s office and quit.

She was stunned.

All these years later, she’d be the first to say that what happened was inevitable. I was destined to follow the path that led me to where I am, sitting here on a glorious Saturday, writing my eighth book and enjoying every single minute of it.

It’s funny how, even though I have had these light bulb moments, I still get sidetracked. In the years since that decision, there were two times when I stepped off the path, and both times, it was a mistake.

I have learned to always listen to the voice that tells me where I should be walking. There is no tranquility or balance in my life when I am off course. I have occasionally taken a side trip off my path — usually to do something that seemed at the moment to be painless and lucrative — but it has been a mistake every time, either zapping my spirit or compromising my ability to take care of my own business.


Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of eight books and an internationally acclaimed keynote speaker. Visit her at fawngermer.com.

Submission deadline is in one week…


Nominations for 2016 FloridaACE Awards Now Being Accepted

We are seeking nominations for three of our organization’s prestigious awards:

John T. Brownlee Leadership Award – This award was established by the Florida Association of Colleges & Employers in recognition of John T. Brownlee’s contribution and tireless efforts on behalf of the organization.  In John’s years (1977-1986) of involvement with FloridaACE, he served as a board member and as president.  He brought enormous energy and enthusiasm to the organization and this award serves as an ongoing memorial in recognition of his dedication and commitment.

Student of the Year Award – Each year, FloridaACE presents an award with a cash prize to a deserving student who has demonstrated exceptional achievement in the field of experiential learning.  Any student of a two or four-year Florida higher education institution may be nominated for this award by a college/university member or an employer member.

New Member Award – The goal of this award is to recognize a new member who is helping to keep FloridaACE strong by volunteering for committees and/or special projects.

Please visit www.florida-ace.org/awards for eligibility criteria, nominating procedure and basis for selection.  Winners will be announced at the 2016 annual conference in Miami during the Awards luncheon.

Submission deadline is March 4th, 2016.


Adam DeRosa

President, FloridaACE

Wake up Wednesday! Opening Keynote Part 2

manny (2)The program Committee is beyond excited to announce our second opening keynote!

Our second opening keynote speaker is Manny Contomanolis also a thought leader in the field of Career Services. We are looking forward to hearing his view on future trends.

Here is a little about Manny to get you excited!

Dr. Manny Contomanolis has more than 30 years of experience in university career services and career development and staffing, and serves as the Senior Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Career Services at The Rochester Institute of Technology.  Dr. Contomanolis is the author of numerous writings including the recent publication, Leadership in Career Services: Voices from the Field which he served as lead author and editor.  Manny was selected by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) to develop and conduct the training of external reviewers for career development centers nationwide and was awarded The NACE Kaufman Award in 2014 and inducted into the NACE Academy of Fellows in 2011.  Manny has also been pivotal in his work on behalf of Career Services Operations nationwide, leading efforts focusing on standardizing First Destination Surveys and outcome reporting in higher education and is working closely with the American Council on Education on these initiatives.

Dr. Contomanolis is considered an expert in job search practices and human capital management, cooperative education and internship talent acquisition strategies, and leadership and resource development.  He is a frequent media contributor (e.g. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, CNN, Kiplinger, and local and national on-air news outlets) and he is active in national university and employer benchmarking groups.  Manny has taught at the University of Rochester and also serves on the faculty of the NACE Management Leadership Institute and the Career Services Institute.Dr. Contomanolis has also served as the President of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) www.naceweb/org the leading professional association focused on the employment of the college educated.

Manny has a PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Buffalo, a Masters in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green University, a graduate certificate in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University, and a Bachelor’s degree in History from The State University of New York.

Be sure to connect with Dr. Contomanolis on Twitter and LinkedIn.  Stay tuned for an announcement about our closing speaker.

FAU is up to (no) “Good”

Thomas DeMaio, FAU Career Consultant

FAU Career Center’s Professional Clothes Closet

In today’s economy nearly 15 percent of recent college graduates are underemployed, and roughly 7.2 percent are unemployed. In order to improve these statistics, it is important that colleges and universities come up with innovative ideas to lower post graduate unemployment and under employment. Students who earn real-life job experience in college are exponentially more likely to obtain meaningful employment after graduation. Almost all higher education institutions have a career center that offers students basic services such as databases of potential jobs and on-campus Career Fairs, but there is more than can be done to prepare students professionally for the world of work.

Florida Atlantic University is determined to go above and beyond in providing students with the essentials necessary for achieving professional success after graduation and is doing so by launching its inaugural OWL Professional Clothes Closet! The OWL Professional Clothes Closet is a program hosted by the FAU Career Center that is devoted to providing professional attire to students. This professional attire will can be used for interviews, career fairs, and networking events.  Besides giving students the a competitive edge and making great first impressions, the professional attire also gives students a confidence boost that results in higher self-efficacy during their job search process. Any student, regardless of socioeconomic background, is given the opportunity to participate in the OWL Professional Clothes Closet program.

The OWL Professional Clothes Closet is comprised of gently used clothing (including ties, jackets, blouses, shoes, etc.) that has been donated to the FAU Career Center by faculty and staff members, students, career center partners, and professionals within the community.       The FAU Career Center made the process of giving students the professional clothes simple and beneficial to their job search process. The four requirements set in place for students to earn professional attire are: 1) Be a current FAU student; 2) Meet with a career consultant to have the resume reviewed with a final score of at least 36 out of 40 on the FAU Career Center resume rubric; 3) Complete an Owl CareerLink profile and upload critiqued resume; and 4) Meet with a career consultant/counselor to conduct a mock interview with a final score of at least 3 out of 4 on the mock interview evaluation form. The four step process allows for students to maximize their professional potential in preparation for upcoming interviews and career fairs. By empowering participants to achieve success after graduation, the FAU Career Center continues to build off of its already impressive post-graduation job rate, always looking to raise the bar and improve our graduates’ chances of succeeding in today’s ever-competitive job market.


It’s time to announce our Opening Keynote Speakers!

The Programs Committee is beyond excited to announce our conference keynote speakers! 

Our first opening keynote speaker will be Trudy Steinfield. Trudy is considered a thought leader in the field of Career Services and we are looking forward to hearing her view on future trends.  Here is a little about Trudy to get you excited.

Trudy (2)Trudy Steinfeld is currently the Assistant Vice-President and Executive Director of the New York University Wasserman Center for Career Development and oversees over 50 full-time and 25 part-time staff. Ms. Steinfeld has an extensive background in the field of career development, experiential education and recruiting and was selected to facilitate the training of external review consultants by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). Trudy was inducted into the NACE Academy of Fellows in 2015 and has co-chaired the Professional Employer Development Action Committee for NACE that development live and web based content for the recruiting community.  Trudy is currently a contributor to Forbes.com and writes a column entitled Career Warrior. She has served as a consultant to numerous colleges and universities, non-profits, and corporate recruiting organizations both within the United States and abroad.  She recently co-edited and contributed numerous essays to the new book Leadership in Career Services: Voices from the Field.  In addition, Ms. Steinfeld has been a presenter and keynote speaker at over 150 national meetings and conferences including the 2015 NACE and NASPA national meetings, the 2014 SHRM New York program, the annual NACE Management Leadership Institute, WACE 2013 Global Meeting, NACE Social Media Mashups, Career Services Institute (CSI), Universum,  and Women for Hire.  She continues to chair and serve on several key committees, taskforces and major conferences for the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), as well as having advised on several national conferences including the NACE Global Recruiting Symposium.  In addition, Trudy has been a recipient of both NASPA and NACE Excellence awards.

Trudy earned her Bachelor’s degree in American Studies and Education from Ramapo College and holds a Master’s degree from the Graduate School of Arts and Science at New York University. She has also completed extensive course work in Counseling Psychology from the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

Tune in next week for the exciting announcement of our 2nd keynote!

Be sure to connect with Ms. Steinfeld on Twitter or LinkedIn.  Stay tuned for an announcement about our closing speaker.

Career Services, a graduate student’s perspective

Mike Chase, Graduate Assistant Career Adviser – FAU

I came into the Florida Atlantic University Career Center very naïve of what I was getting myself into. During my undergraduate studies, I received  countless emails from the Career Center, and ignored them just as some students do. In hindsight, I really could have used the Career Center and its resources. I graduated with an undergraduate degree in a major of study that I did not see in my future. I joined the Higher Education Leadership master’s program and was in search of a graduate assistant-ship different from my undergraduate experience in fraternity sorority life and campus recreation. The Career Center seemed like uncharted water. First, I learned skills and competencies needed to perform the job, but it is other experiences that came along coupled by those skills that have benefited me vastly. I have learned a large amount about assisting students in finding their career path, writing resumes and cover letters, to honing student interview skills. I had also learned to live and love the process of student development that takes place due to the career center.

I had been able to impact people’s lives in different ways all through my undergrad. For the first time, I had a chance to impact their actual livelihood, the reason everyone goes to college. For two years I had the privilege of helping students ranging from freshmen to seniors, graduate students to non-traditional students returning or entering college for the first time. They did not just look at me as some young graduate student,  they treated me as a professional helping them achieve their goals. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a student or getting an email hearing they got the job or internship they wanted or got into their dream graduate program.

They may have done most of the work, but I like to think I had a little part in it.fau

Though I do not see myself continuing on to work in career services, I will not forget where I got my start. My true love lies in Campus Recreation, but my experiences as a Career Adviser have given me some extra tools in my arsenal. Because of the expertise I gained through career services, I was able to present at a regional National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) conference on “Marketing your Recreation Experience”. In addition, I am able to engage student staff in the recreation center on their professional development. I realize all of the students that work at the Rec Center do not plan to have a future in Rec, and the Career Center has given me the tools to have conversations with them about their future. We can address what skills they may be missing and ways that the career center can help them attain those skills.

I am extremely appreciative of my supervisor in the Career Center for doing that same thing with me. I have learned a great amount of skills from being a Career Adviser, but there were definitely holes in my armor when it came to being a campus recreation professional. She gave me the opportunity to explore what I may need professionally and we found activities and projects that could assist me on that journey. I will definitely use some of those same methods to assist students in their future. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have been a graduate assistant in the FAU Career Center. And wherever I end up, I will push the importance of collaboration with Career Services until the end of time.


Promises, Palaces, and the Process

Jennifer Fonseca – Assistant Director | Career Development

“From the promise on your life to the palace is the process.” This is how I start just about every workshop, prospective student presentation, and parent panel. It is a reference to a sacred text where an ordinary man was given a glimpse of his future dream. What he failed to realize is that his promise and dream possessed a requisite process to reach its destination—a literal palace, where he would have great influence.

As professionals in career development we have great influence over the lives of our students. They come looking for answers, magic wands, and reassurance. We never promise these things, as they are not helpful to the process. Muscles are built through work, not miracles.

This past week I met with a distraught psychology major whose abulia tainted her ability to clearly identify career steps. With fluttering eye lashes, wide arm gestures and slumped shoulders she iterated her confusion about her major and what career to pursue. What was curious is that after going through her Strong Interest Inventory report, she shared with me her palace: a multi-acre property with buildings for various medical services, a school, a ranch for hypnotherapy, and more. She actually created a map of the property she envisioned, which would help orphans and those coming out of sex trafficking. Danielle’s vision of her palace was clear; the process to get there was not, and neither was her ability to articulate that. Our discussion shifted from assessment results to action steps.

Often students, and even ourselves, are unaware of or want to skip the process. Below outlines a few areas both students and working professionals may want to consider to better navigate and even enjoy the winding distance between promise and palace.

Character—what qualities define the type of person who not only holds the position wanted, but also does it well? What is it about his/her leadership style that is admired? After identifying these, determine strategies for developing them.

Find Mentors—who does what you or your student wants to do? A colleague of mine took a risk and asked a presidentially nominated and Non Profit Times top 50 leader, if she would be willing to meet with her once a month. My colleague agreed to travel to wherever her mentor was, and pay for all expenses. The risk paid off; she is off to D.C. this month. One of our international student not only has an alumni he meets with from our mentoring program, but his other mentors he finds in books, TED talks, and biographies. Currently he is reading Richard Branson’s Loosing My Virginity, and it is feeding his entrepreneurial spirit. In fact Allan just sold his crepe stand and launched another one. Let me know if you need a wine cooler.

Embrace the Lessons and Journey—even if it is painful, it wanders off course or steps backwards. Reflect on your career. Was it linear? I didn’t realize how winding a path I would take on the way to my palace: coffee barista, grad student, higher education administrator for 10 years, intentional unemployment, foundation director for professional athlete, resume writer, professional speaker, and circle back to higher education. (You Majored in What by Katherine Brooks, Ed.D. is an excellent resource explaining how chaos theory plays out in career development.) The corporate ladder does not always lead individuals to the pinnacle of their success. Falling off the ladder, switching ladders or getting off altogether may be the course and instructor needed.

As a strong NF on the MBTI, I admit, that my ST colleagues view this approach as idealistic, nonetheless I still see my role as more of a destiny activator than job match maker. The term career development implies a process, not a destination. Let us remember to empower and equip our students to navigate the process. Sometimes that means helping them find a palace that is better suited to their unique design (interests, skills, personality, values), other times it is affirming that what they dream about is a possibility, and still others, assuring them that the process will be worth it when they reach their palace.