Message from the President

It’s hard to believe that my term as your President will be over in a week. It’s been a year full of both challenges and triumphs and as an association we are continuing to ride the wave of momentum that was built after our formal name change in 2014 from FCPA to FloridaACE. It’s an exciting time to be part of this incredible organization and I wouldn’t trade my experience on the FloridaACE Board for anything.

If you are attending the FloridaACE Annual Conference next week, the conference planning committees have been working hard to ensure that your experience is absolutely amazing! You can take a look at the online version of our Conference Program on the website, along with a Schedule-at-a-Glance. I also recommend downloading the FloridaACE Conference Plus app, provided this year courtesy of Career Fair Plus. You can find it on the App and Play stores.

If you have not registered for the conference yet, there is still a limited amount of time. You can either register for the full conference, Thursday only, or buy tickets to attend the FloridaACE Enterprise Closing Banquet & After Party. You can also follow along with us from home through the app and by following the #FloridaACE17 hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Since our first Drive-In Conference was such a success, we will be doing it again this year. The 2017 Drive-In Conference will be held on November 3rd in the Florida State University Career Center. More details to come in the weeks and months ahead.

The Board accomplished many great things over the past year and met all of the goals we set out to achieve. The most exciting of these is that we were able to increase employer membership by 80%. Welcome to the new companies that are now part of the FloridaACE family: ADP, AFLAC, American Traveler, Ellucian, Ernst & Young, Fastenal, Florida Hospital, PwC, and WellCare Health Plans! We are also grateful to our longtime employer members and I would be remiss if I didn’t give a huge shout out to our top-tier conference sponsor, Enterprise Holdings.

As I transition into the role of Past President, I want to thank our board members who are rolling off the board for their service and dedication to FloridaACE: Adam DeRosa, Robin Kazmarek, Rob Liddell, Carla Toles McKinney, and Kim Franklin. We also have some members who went above and beyond this year in big ways, including Tara Stevenson, Stacy Lanigan, Stacy Ballinger, Matina Wagner, Bill Blank, and Megan Hollis.

It has been a sincere honor to serve as this year’s FloridaACE President. I am confident that you will love the energy of the 2017-18 Board and you can expect great things to come in the year ahead. I hope you will engage with us and help us keep the momentum going into the future by volunteering to serve on committees, presenting at professional development events, and contributing to the blog with your best practices.

I hope to see you next week at Saddlebrook Resort & Spa! If you have any questions about the conference, please reach out to me or our Vice President and Conference Chair, Rob Liddell.

Most sincerely,

Alicia Smyth
2016-17 President
Florida Association of Colleges & Employers



Message from the President: Conference updates, award nomination deadline and more!

By Alicia Smyth, 2016-17 FloridaACE President

3c05226By now you’re likely in the midst of recruiting season. Either you are busy attending career fairs and sorting through candidates or you are hosting companies on campus and planning career events. Either way, I’m sure you are looking forward to summer!


Speaking of summer, registration is now open for the 2017 FloridaACE Annual Conference! This year’s event will take place June 14-16 at the beautiful Saddlebrook Resort & Spa in Wesley Chapel, FL (just north of Tampa). Our theme this year is Bridges and our programming and events will be focused primarily around bridging gaps and building connections.

We took your feedback from last year’s conference into careful consideration and are adding an additional roundtable session into the programming. We will also host a coffee meet-up on Thursday morning and offer several pre-conference options (registration coming soon).

Attending the conference? Book your room now to avoid increased rates! Rooms are available on a first-come, first serve basis at Saddlebrook Resort & Spa in Wesley Chapel, FL. A block of rooms has been reserved for June 13-17 at the rate of $135/night for a one-bedroom suite, free wi-fi, discounted overnight self-parking rate for $12 per vehicle per night ($7 daily rate). We also have a very limited number of two bedroom suites available at the rate of $215/night. All rooms are upgraded and have a full kitchen, living room, dining area, and patio. You can find hotel booking information on our website.

Visit the FloridaACE website to register as a conference attendee or exhibitor, view the at-a-glance schedule, become a President’s Council Sponsor, or fill out the Roundtable Proposal Form. Keynote speakers will be announced soon and those individuals who submitted a program proposal will be informed within the next few weeks.

Pricing Information:







One of our goals for this year is to create ways for graduate students to engage with FloridaACE in an affordable and beneficial way. We will be offering a discounted rate for graduate students (see pricing above). To be eligible for this rate, graduate students must be willing to commit 2-5 hours of volunteer service to the association before or during the conference. Graduate students must be full-time, not currently employed in their field, and studying in a related discipline. Organizations have the opportunity to sponsor a graduate student one of two ways: a) registering them for the conference (if pre-selected) or b) selecting the option on the President’s Council form (if you would like the Awards Committee to select the recipient).


The deadline to nominate an exemplary individual for the Brownlee Leadership Award, New Member Award or Student of the Year Award is Friday, March 3rd! More information can be found on the website.


Please join me in congratulating Vice President and Conference Chair, Rob Liddell! Rob just started a new job as Director of Career Services at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Rob’s new employer is allowing him to continue on the FloridaACE board for the remainder of his term.

If you have questions about the conference or if you would like to join a conference planning committee, you can reach Rob at

I hope you have a fun and rewarding semester and I hope to see you in June at Saddlebrook!



Tune in Tuesday: FloridaACE Honors CCFCC with President’s Award

Alicia Smyth, 2016-17 President, Florida Association of Colleges & Employers

CCFCC LogoAt the 2016 Annual Conference in June, 2015-16, FloridaACE President Adam DeRosa presented the Colleges of Central Florida Career Consortium (CCFCC) with the Florida Association of Colleges & Employers President’s Award. The President’s Award is awarded at the discretion of the current President and may not be given every year. It is intended to recognize the member or group’s contribution to FloridaACE and serves as an example of their impact to those in our profession.

“For years, CCFCC has been a major supporter of FloridaACE.  This support has been both monetarily through the President’s Council and administratively through consistent volunteering at the board and conference committee level.  CCFCC members are the spirited heartbeat of FloridaACE, always the life of the party.  The support from CCFCC has helped FloridaACE grow and thrive,” stated 2015-16 President DeRosa.

CCFCC MembersThe CCFCC consists of career centers from the following SACS-accredited ICUF institutions in Central Florida: Bethune-Cookman University, Eckerd College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Flagler College, Florida Institute of Technology, Florida Southern College, Rollins College, Saint Leo University, Southeastern University, Stetson University, The University of Tampa and Webber International University. The organization began in the late 90s and has continued to grow and thrive over time thanks to strong leadership and an annual Career Expo, an event that brings in revenue used to support members with professional development opportunities and to sponsor conferences such as FloridaACE and SoACE.

derosa_sheehyThis year, CCFCC not only sponsored FloridaACE at the President’s Level ($3,000 and above), but also incentivized CCFCC members to submit proposals to present at the conference by providing four conference registration scholarships. Additionally, CCFCC hosted a reception for members and employers during the conference and will be partnering with FloridaACE to serve as a co-sponsor of the SoACE Conference in December.

CCFCC Chair John Sheehy accepted the award on behalf of the organization. When asked about the partnership, he shared the following:

Although separate organizations, the CCFCC and FloridaACE are very much connected and possess similar goals in regards to the professional development of our members and the overall career development of our students within each of our respective schools.


I have witnessed and participated in the growth of both organizations over the past eight years, and am proud to have assisted in their advancements.


The ongoing sharing of information and collaboration between the two organizations and their member institutions is without a doubt a strong, driving force within our profession; not only in Florida, but also nationally, as we interact with those outside our region during conferences and symposiums.


As Chair of the CCFCC, FloridaACE has been a critical component of the development process for members. Cross-organizational participation is heavily encouraged and supported by programs, such as providing conference registration fees for members whom are selected to present during the annual conference. I am a strong believer of creating new initiatives, but when a catalyst is already in place, which will reach the same goal, let’s not “re-create the wheel.” – John Sheehy

2012 marked the inaugural year of the FloridaACE President’s Award.  This award was established to recognize FloridaACE members who go above and beyond throughout a given year to meet the needs of membership and provide an opportunity for the association to reach the next level. A list of past recipients is available on the FloridaACE website.

Tune in Tuesday: Message from the President

3c05226I hope the beginning of the fall semester is going well for everyone! It’s a busy time for both career services professionals and recruiters alike. I hope that in all of the craziness that comes with a new academic year, you are able to make some time for yourself and your continued professional growth and development.

Your FloridaACE board has been busy as well. We met last month and are finalizing plans for the very first FloridaACE Drive-in Conference. If you haven’t registered yet, now is the time, as we only have 15 seats left as of today. The event will be held Friday, November 4th from 8am-12:30pm at the University of Central Florida. Speakers include keynote Calvin Williams (Florida State University), an employer/faculty panel moderated by Barbara Cambia (Lynn University), and breakout sessions presented by Tim Harding (The University of Tampa), Melena Postolowski (Stetson University), and Lonny Butcher and Doris Alcivar (University of Central Florida). Cost is only $25, plus the price of on-campus parking, and includes breakfast. Registrants must be current members of FloridaACE. Special thanks to Kim Franklin, Bill Blank, Stacy Lanigan, Emmanuela Stanislaus, Tara Stevenson and Melanie Brown for their initiative and hard work to make this happen!

During our meeting, we also spent time reviewing the feedback received from the 2016 conference survey and are working on some modifications for next year to make your 2017 FloridaACE Conference experience even better! Please save the date for June 14-16, 2017 at the beautiful Saddlebrook Resort & Spa in Tampa, FL. Registration will open early next year. In the meantime, be on the lookout for a draft schedule-at-a-glance, call for programs and round table sessions, call for nominations for our annual awards, information about President’s Council sponsorship opportunities and an announcement regarding membership renewals.

In other news, I am excited to announce that FloridaACE is partnering with CCFCC to co-sponsor the President’s Reception entertainment at the SoACE Conference, December 4-7 at the Westin Beach Resort & Spa in Ft. Lauderdale. Did you know that Florida is second only to Texas in membership numbers for SoACE? Since this year’s conference is in our backyard, we hope you will join us to represent our great state! FloridaACE board members will be welcoming conference attendees before the reception. If you are able to make it, please stop and say hello!

Thank you for allowing me the honor of serving as this year’s FloridaACE President. You will surely benefit from the energy and enthusiasm that our new and returning board members bring to the association’s leadership. The board is fully committed to providing value-added opportunities for member engagement and professional development. This is YOUR association and we want you to get the most out of it. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have ideas or an interest in volunteering.

Most sincerely,

Alicia Smyth
2016-17 President
Florida Association of Colleges & Employers


Register Today for the 2016 FloridaACE Annual Conference

Alicia Smyth, Conference Chair and Vice President, FloridaACE

WeFloridaACE LogoRedesign-Hashtag are excited to announce that registration is now open for the 2016 Florida Association of Colleges & Employers Annual Conference (#FloridaACE16)!

This year’s conference will take place June 22-24 in Miami, FL at the beautiful Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay. Our theme is Innovate. Integrate. Motivate. and we plan to do just that with the programming and networking offerings that the conference will provide.

Registration is $299 for members until May 11 and $329 after May 11. The non-member rate is $349 until May 11 and $379 after May 11 and includes a membership through January 1, 2017. One-day registration is available for Thursday (see website for pricing). When registering, please make sure you are logged into your account to receive member rate pricing.

Your conference registration includes:

  • Optional pre-conference site visit to the University of Miami Toppel Career Center (includes chartered bus transportation and boxed lunch – space is limited and reserved for conference registrants)
  • Three very special keynote speakers, along with breakout sessions for Career Services and University Relations/College Recruiting professionals
  • President’s Reception (Wednesday)
  • Business Meeting Breakfast (Thursday)
  • Awards Luncheon (Thursday)
  • Closing Banquet and After Party (Thursday)
  • Brunch (Friday)
  • Networking opportunities with professionals in Career Services and University/College Relations
  • Much more!

Book your hotel room today! Rooms are available on a first-come, first serve basis at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay, Miami, FL. A block of rooms has been reserved for June 18-27 at the rate of $140/night for a standard deluxe room with $1.00 guest room wi-fi, a discounted overnight self-parking rate of $20 per room per night and $10 shuttle service to Lincoln Road Mall, Marriott Stanton South Beach and Bayside Marketplace. Visit for more information.

Visit the FloridaACE website to register as a conference attendee or vendor, volunteer to serve on a conference committee, view the at-a-glance schedule, or fill out the Conference Proposal Form or Roundtable Proposal Form. Information will be available soon regarding President’s Council.

Additionally, there is still time to nominate a fellow FloridaACE colleague for the Brownlee Leadership Award or the New Member Award or nominate an exemplary student for the Student of the Year Award. The deadline for nominations is March 4, 2016 and more information can be found on the website.


The Programs Committee is beyond excited to announce our conference keynote speakers! Our opening keynote speakers will be Trudy Steinfield and Manny Contomanolis.  Dr. Steinfield is the Assistant Vice President and Executive Director of the New York University Wasserman Center for Career Development.  Dr. Contomanolis is the Senior Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Career Services at the Rochester Institute of Technology.  Be sure to connect with Dr. Contomanolis on Twitter and LinkedIn.  You can also connect with Dr. Steinfeld on Twitter or LinkedIn.   Our closing keynote speaker is Molly Nece.  Molly has a background in the Human Resources and currently serves as a Talent Development Manager at UNC Wilmington.  She is also a motivational speaker and coach.  Visit Molly’s website or connect with her via Twitter or LinkedIn.

Submit a program or roundtable proposal by March 7, 2016 to share your ideas and best practices with your colleagues from around the state.

  • Did you create any new successful programs, partnerships, models, or outreach efforts?
  • Have you done any research on trends in recruiting or career services?
  • Do you have any advice on how to successfully manage students or staff?
  • Do you have suggestions for new technology to use or ways to improve your visibility on social media networks?

To submit a program or roundtable proposal, please click here to access the Conference Proposal Form or the Roundtable Proposal Form.

As a reminder, the top rated program from the 2016 annual conference will have the opportunity to present their program as a webinar in the fall of 2016 and the lead presenter will receive FREE conference registration for the 2017 FloridaACE Conference. Contact Emmanuela Stanislaus at if you have any programming-related questions.

Stay tuned for more conference updates to come. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any conference related questions or are interested in volunteering at

We will see you in Miami!

2016 Conference Announcement

Alicia Smyth, Vice President, Florida Association of Colleges & Employers

FloridaACE Conference 2015.jpgThe 2016 FloridaACE Annual Conference (#FloridaACE16) is not one to be missed! Plans are already underway and we have a professional development, networking and fun-packed event in store for our employers and career services professionals who attend.

Our theme is Destination Miami: Innovate. Integrate. Motivate. And we are going to do just that! We will share innovative ideas that will help to shape the future of our profession. We will integrate what we learn into our everyday work with students and colleagues. We will leave feeling motivated to be the best version of ourselves, and to encourage others to do the same, each and every day.

Miami_MarriottThe 2016 Annual Conference will be held June 22-24 at the beautiful Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay in downtown Miami, with gorgeous views of the bay by day and of the city by night. Room reservations can be made at the rate of $140 a night. Internet guest room access will be available for $1 per night and parking is discounted at $20 per night. A shuttle service to Lincoln Road Mall, Marriott Stanton South Beach and Bayside Marketplace will also be available for $10 a day.

Prior to the official start of the conference, attendees will have the opportunity to travel by chartered bus to visit the University of Miami’s Toppel Career Center, a state-of-the-art facility run by Associate Dean and Executive Director, Christian Garcia.

Much more is in store for attendees. Keep up with updates through the blog, Facebook, Twitter, email announcements, and the FloridaACE website. For more information on the conference, including pricing information and a tentative schedule at-a-glance, check out the 2016 Annual Conference page. Calls for proposals and award nominees will be coming in the weeks ahead and registration will officially open in February, after the membership renewal grace period ends.

It is a sincere honor to serve as your conference chair. If you have any questions or are interested in joining a conference committee, please feel free to contact me at

See you in Miami this coming June!



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

Alicia Smyth, 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, 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.