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.

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.

Nominations for FloridaACE Awards Now Being Accepted

Tracy Joinson, Florida Association of Colleges and Employers


2014 Award Winners

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 to a deserving student who has demonstrated exceptional achievement in the field of experiential learning.  Any student of a 2 or 4 year Florida higher education institution may be nominated for this award.

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 for eligibility criteria, nominating procedure and basis for selection.  Winners will be announced at the annual conference during the Awards luncheon.

Submission deadline is March 3, 2015.

2014 John T. Brownlee Leadership Award Recipient- Sheila Hood, The University of Tampa

Mark W. Colvenbach, Director of the Office of Career Services, University of Tampa

Each year membership comes together for our annual pilgrimage to a Florida destination (usually a beautiful beach) to catch up with old friends, meet new colleagues and share best practices to help us all be more effective professionals.   Part of this tradition is to award the highest of honors, the John T. Brownlee Leadership Award, given in acknowledgment of a member’s outstanding contribution for the newly re-named        FloridashACE organization.  To provide a brief but important FloridaACE history lesson,  The John T. Brownlee Leadership Award was established by the Florida Association of Colleges & Employers (formerly known as FCPA) 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.  Those who knew John knew of the high standards he practiced in both his personal and professional life.  He was a son, husband, father, colleague, and friend.  He found the time to be active professionally, socially, and in the community, but always kept family number one.  Continue reading

Kayla Murphy of Flagler College Awarded 2014 Student of the Year

Tara Stevenson, Private College/University Representative, Florida Association of Colleges and Employers

photo 2Kayla Murphy interned with Flagler College Career Services this past spring and proved to be an integral piece to the success of our office.  She plans to go into the field of Student Affairs following her graduation in December with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration.  This semester Kayla is interning in Student Activities to add more experience to her resume.

As an intern with Career Services, Kayla’s responsibilities included:  Continue reading

Tara Stevenson Wins 2014 Florida ACE New Member Award

Tracy Joinson, Past President, Florida Association of Colleges and Employers

She was off and running almost from day one.  Tara Stevenson, Director of Career Tara Stevenson HeadshotServices at Flagler College, joined FloridaACE in 2012 and became immediately active in the organization.  She very quickly joined a conference committee and although not the chair of the group, took the lead in efficiently organizing an activity.  Maybe she caught the FloridaACE bug (or is it more of an addiction???) because after the conference was over, she again quickly responded to a call for volunteers for a new standing committee of the organization, the Communications & Outreach committee.  It was obvious Tara was making a more long-term commitment to the organization because it was clear that this wasn’t a “temporary” committee.  It was no surprise that when the new Committee members were solicited for chair/co-chairs, Tara did not hesitate to be a co-chair, and remains as such today.  As part of that Committee’s work, she started FloridaACE’s first Facebook page in late 2013 and continues to manage it always looking for interesting content and postings to engage members.  Who doesn’t love her TBTs or Friday Fun posts?

There must have been more than one person noticing Tara’s quick involvement and contributions because she was nominated and elected to the FloridaACE board of directors as the Private College/University representative at the 2014 annual conference.

Although we have MANY wonderful and dedicated members in Florida ACE, it seems Tara is just the type who was in mind when the New Member Award was created in 2010.  She joins the ranks of (illustrious!) past winners:  Valerie Kielmovitch (2013), John Sheehy (2012), Lisette Guillen-Dolby (2010), Eric Hall (2009) and Jennifer Browning (2008).