VACE 2024 Conference Schedule

Download the PDF format of the conference schedule (PDF).  Day 1,  Day 2Day 3 (click on the Day link to be taken directly to the schedule for that day).

Day 1, Wednesday, April 24, 2024

12:00 PM - 4:00 PM Registration Roanoke Ballroom Foyer (North Entry Foyer)
1:00 PM – 1:15 PM Welcome and Announcements Roanoke Ballroom C/D General Session
1:15 PM – 2:35 PM Keynote Speaker: Imagine That!
Scott Duncan, Creator and Chief Agitator
Roanoke Ballroom C/D - General Session
Jump start your VACE 2024 Conference experience with this interactive exploration of creativity, teamwork and fun in game show fashion! Be an onstage contestant or active audience participant. Engage with each other in a setting that requires quick thinking, imagination, and stepping outside of the box. Be surprised and delighted by what your collective imagination can come up with under pressure. Energize and get ready for learning, networking, and inventive thinking at the Conference!
2:45 PM – 3:45 PM

Break Sessions #1

Learn to Interrupt: Effective Communication Strategies for Women in the Workplace
Virginia Damron, Senior Career Counselor, Virginia Commonwealth University
Ballroom C/D
There is no best communication style for all workplace interactions – adapting language to your audience is important. Yet in professional development training for workplace communication, different styles between women and men are overlooked. Explore how differences can cause miscommunication. Learn practical tips on how to project confidence, reframe words, and speak with purpose. An interactive session where participants can role play and practice new techniques and receive constructive feedback from each other in a supportive environment.

All In: Empowering Inclusive Leadership
Tamice Spencer-Helms, Learning Facilitator, Mentor Virginia
Ballroom E/F
Learn to foster inclusive, equitable, and culturally relevant mentorship using dynamic exercises, critical consciousness development, and hands-on learning. Gain insights into inclusion, equity, and cultural sensitivity recognizing authentic connections. Participants are empowered to guide young adults with cultural sensitivity, fostering personal growth and well-being. This initiative celebrates the transformative impact of genuine connections.

Unveiling the Future: Leveraging AI at a Small Liberal Arts College
Meghan Jester, Director of Career Exploration, Roanoke College
Ballroom G/H
Discover how AI is transforming job search and career growth. An overview of the PLACE, an innovative Career Services office; AI-driven resource development and promotion; and practical application of AI in individual career development sessions. The presentation equips entry and mid-level professionals with the knowledge to navigate the ever-evolving job market with confidence and efficiency.

4:00 PM – 6:00 PM Hotel Check-In
Take time to check into your room or explore the beautiful hotel and downtown area or enjoy a relaxing break before the President’s Reception. Newcomers! Freshen up and get ready for the Newcomer’s Networking Event!
4:45 PM – 6:00 PM Newcomer’s Reception
Roanoke Ballroom G/H
Newcomers Unite! Join your fellow Newcomers, the Newcomers Committee, and VACE Board Members for a fun time of connections, conversations, and dessert! We’ll start off with a “painless” low-stress icebreaker just for the Newcomers, then roll into a “Dessert First” conversation with members of the VACE Board featuring some tasty dessert samples.
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM President’s Reception
Roanoke Ballroom Foyer
Enjoy light hors d’oeuvres and a drink on us while you network with your fellow VACE members. Cash bar will also be available.
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM Dinner and Awards Ceremony
Roanoke Ballroom A/B
Enjoy dinner with friends and celebrate our award winners who contribute so much to VACE and to the career development and employment industries.
9:00 PM – 11:00 PM Hospitality Suite
Don’t let the fun end! Join us in the Hospitality Suite for drinks, snacks, and great conversation in this grand hotel setting.


Day 2, Thursday, April 25, 2024

8:30 AM – 10:00 AM Breakfast
Roanoke Ballroom Foyer
9:00 AM – 9:50 AM Business Meeting
Roanoke Ballroom C/D – General Session
 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM  Registration continues
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM One-on-One Professional Development Sessions with Mary Ann Gilmer
Appalachian Room
Mary Ann Gilmer, Founder of GROW Leadership and our closing keynote speaker will hold individual professional development sessions with any conference attendee who is interested in receiving great advice in a coaching session with an executive training consultant. See SCHED for the Sign Up Sheet
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Breakout Sessions #2
Teamship: Internships Reimagined for Modern Work
Dan Gonazlez, Co-Founder and CEO, District C
Jessie Vernon, Program Manager, Institute for Advanced Learning and Research
Roanoke Ballroom C/D
Teamship is a reimagined team-based internship model that provides students with an opportunity to build the skills employers are looking for while solving real problems for real businesses. As we work to diversify and scale high quality work-based learning opportunities for students, Teamship addresses the challenges of traditional internships: equitable access, meaningful work, and high-quality mentorship.

Understanding the Impact of Psychological Safety to Achieve Peak Performance
Camica Credle, Chief Equipping Officer, Credle Consulting
Ballroom E/F
This interactive session explores the powerful impact of psychological safety on achieving peak workplace performance. By fostering psychological safety, organizations can unlock the full potential of their teams and individuals, leading to higher levels of creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving. Gain insights into how psychological safety drives peak performance and discover practical strategies to cultivate a psychologically safe culture that nurtures and empowers employees to reach their highest levels of achievement.

Transforming Federal Work Study for Career Equity and Access
Philip Heavilin II, Director for Internships and Applied Learning, William and Mary Kathleen Powell, Chief Career Officer and Associate Vice President for Advancement, William and Mary
Ballroom G/H
There is a focus on internships in higher education, in the media and in our professional associations. Inequities exist between paid and unpaid internships and students with and without career capital. This presentation engages participants in how to transform federal work-study campus jobs into internships.

11:15 AM – 12:30 PM

Round Tables

Roanoke Ballroom C/D – General Session
Round tables give members with similar concerns, issues, and information the ability to informally discuss challenges and solutions. Join a table for a while and then switch or stay with the group that shares your interests.

Topics include:
▪ Accelerate Your Network: VACE Mentorship Mingle
▪ Dress to Impress or Dress to Express: A Discussion of Professional Dress Standards through an Inclusive Lens
▪ VACE Leadership: Meet Your Board and Committee Sign Ups
▪ Hot Topics for Employers
▪ Hot Topics for Small Colleges
▪ Hot Topics for Larger Universities
▪ Promoting NACE Competencies

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM Lunch
Roanoke Ballroom A/B
1:30 PM – 2:45 PM Employer Panel
Moderator: Ashley Crute, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia/VTOP
Roanoke Ballroom C/D - General Session
Hear from and ask questions of our employer panel and hear about trends in hiring practices, college relationships, and recent college graduate onboarding.
2:45 PM – 3:00 PM Break
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM Employer Speed Networking Event
Roanoke Ballroom C/D – General Session
Have fun at our Employer Speed Networking event and learn about the opportunities for internships, employment and other programs for recruiting great grads into great careers.
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Breakout Sessions #3

The Career Workshop Is Dead: Shifting to Content and Experience Design
Jeffrey White, Director of Career and Life Design, Hollins University Amber Becke, Associate Director of Career and Life Design, Hollins University
Roanoke Ballroom C/D
Addressing post-pandemic decline in workshop attendance, Jeffrey and Amber share insights into shifting from traditional methods to content and experience design, anchored in design thinking principles. Engage in creating content using real-life examples and tools, culminating in a hands-on activity to build and refine prototypes. This session promises practical skills and insights for enhancing student engagement and learning through creative content design.

Breaking Barriers: Redefining Professionalism for Inclusive Workplaces
Breona Walker, Assistant Director of Career Education, VCU
Roanoke Ballroom E/F
Explore professionalism’s roots and its impact on marginalized groups in contemporary workplaces. Discover how this concept, originally designed for ethics, perpetuates hierarchies that disproportionately disadvantage workers of color, non-binary, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and other underrepresented groups. Uncover Eurocentric norms shaping one definition of "professionalism" and address the impact of professionalism as a racist social construct, tackling implicit biases in hiring, promotions, and workplace dynamics. Discover the importance of creating inclusive cultures that actively dismantle oppressive structures, benefiting workers and enhancing productivity and innovation.

Demystifying CPT and OPT When Working with International Students
Caleb Simon, Community Relations Coordinator, University of Lynchburg Kara Douglas, Career and Internship Counselor, University of Lynchburg
Roanoke Ballroom G/H
This program addresses complexities of Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT) for international students, targeting local employers and career services personnel. Gain insights into legal, administrative, and compliance aspects of CPT and OPT employment. By equipping both employers and career services staff with essential knowledge, the program aims to facilitate the successful integration of international students into the workforce, thereby enriching the professional landscape with diverse talents and perspectives.

5:00 PM - Until Dinner on Your Own
Explore the area and dining options with your VACE colleagues. Roanoke has a great variety of fun and delicious fare. Need some company? Join groups for dinner at different locations by signing up at the Registration Table.
8:00 PM – 11:00 PM Hospitality Suite
Don’t let the fun end! Join us in the Hospitality Suite for drinks, snacks, and great conversation in this grand hotel setting.


Day 3, Friday, April 26, 2024

8:30 AM – 10:00 AM Continental Breakfast
Roanoke Ballroom Foyer
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Breakout Sessions #4

Faculty Learning Opportunities Incorporating NACE Competencies in the Classroom to Help Students Become Career Ready
Laura Faulcon, Director of Career Exploration and Development, Reynolds Community College
Roanoke Ballroom C/D
Learn how the Career Services Team at Reynolds Community College provided training to their full-time and adjunct faculty through a series of eight, never-before professional learning sessions aimed at incorporating NACE standards into course content and garnered employer feedback to improve student outcomes.

Equity Audits: A Process for Self-Assessment and Improvement
Derek Chen, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator, James Madison University
Roanoke Ballroom E/F
With increased need for evidence and data-informed practices, departments must develop processes for self-assessment. To enhance JMU’s University Career Center’s work from an equity-minded lens, they conducted an Equity Audit examining ongoing professional development for staff, effectiveness and accessibility of programs and services, and articulating action steps to meet diverse students’ needs. Learn how this process can be applied to your office.

Optimizing Professional Development Workshops Through Active Learning Strategies
Suzanne Shelburne, Asst. Director of Career and Professional Development, VA Tech
Roanoke Ballroom G/H

Learning occurs when students actively practice, process, and apply information. Formative assessments and deliberate practice are two impactful approaches for engaging students and fostering critical thinking. These strategies help students to practice and process information and skills from professional development workshops. Students can receive constructive feedback and reflect on learning. This session will showcase practical examples of formative assessments and deliberate practice activities for topics such as resume and cover letter writing, interviewing techniques, leveraging AI in job searches, and effective networking.

10:10 AM – 11:00 AM

University Panel
Moderator:  Lee Svete, Radford University
Roanoke Ballroom C/D - General Session
Hear from and ask questions of a panel of college and university professionals about current trends in career preparation and employer relations.

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM The Learning Journey: Self-Development, Team Development, Student Development
Mary Ann Gilmer, Founder, GROW Leadership
Roanoke Ballroom C/D - General Session
Understanding the life experiences that shape who we are and how we learn is critical to future self-development. Learn how to identify those aspects of your life that have shaped your career development and how to craft learning experiences that accelerate your learning, the learning of your team members, and the development of students.
12:00 PM – 12:15 PM Wrap Up
Roanoke Ballroom C/D - General Session
Thank you for being a part of the VACE 2024 Conference