Jennifer Utroska- Assistant Director of Career Planning
‘FloridaACE’… I had heard of it, but I had never experienced it; that is until this past June, when I attended the 2016 Annual FloridaACE Conference in Miami, FL! The conference had a lot of hype leading up to it- and as I sit here today typing at my desk on yet another Monday morning (with my coffee of course), I am realizing how it completely exceeded my expectations as a new member.
My conference experience began well before June 22nd. With the support and encouragement from my colleagues, I quickly began to serve as a member of the Communications & Outreach Committee. I had the pleasure of supporting a great group of career professionals who are so passionate about their membership and work collaboratively to spread the word about FloridaACE and its benefits. Through the power of the internet and advanced technology, I started to form a relationship with these individuals and began to understand what FloridaACE meant to them and now means to me.
This three-day event was executed beautifully from start to finish. As a new member and first-time attendee, there was never a time where I felt lost or unwelcomed. Each member I interacted with, including the leadership, were nothing short of friendly, professional, and courteous.
Being a young professional, I understand there is a wealth of knowledge out there in the field, from both industry employers and career services’ representatives. Attending the FloridaACE Conference was a professional development opportunity that allowed me to openly brainstorm, network, and connect with professionals from all over the state. With such a variety of engagements offered, like the Breakout Sessions, Round-Tables and Closing Ceremony, I was able to make the most of my experience!
Now it would be awful of me to conclude this note right here without mentioning how fun the conference was! The FloridaACE leadership and its committees did an amazing job of balancing work & play. The food was delicious, the venue was outstanding, and I think everyone appreciated the awesome photo booth and red carpet that proceeded the after party filled with great music and good times. (Superlative for ‘Dancing Queen’ goes to Alicia Smyth – Hands Down.)
So, FloridaACE is now something I will begin to look forward to each summer. I now view it as an opportunity to get out there, to get thinking, and to get energized for the upcoming academic year! I came to FloridaACE with an open mind, and left with so much more… new connections, amazing programming ideas, employer relations strategies, and a more meaningful sense of my ‘WHY’ (shout out to Closing Keynote Molly Nece)!
After such a positive experience, I encourage any and all career services professionals, as well as industry employers within the state to become involved with FloridaACE. If you are looking to build your professional network, spark collaboration, and create meaningful partnerships- this is the organization for you.
I hope to meet you at events to come!