Conference Schedule At A Glance

Pre-conference Programming

This year, SoACE will be providing a variety of pre-conference programming virtually in the days leading up to the conference! All pre-conferences are free and open to SoACE members, click the "Register" button below each pre-conference you would like to attend, to secure your spot!

Times listed below are CST.

Monday, November 29
12:00P - 1:30P -- New Professionals Workshop

Dr. Charlie Wilder and Mark Colvenbach


Tuesday, November 30
12:00P - 1:30P -- Emerging Leaders

Shereada Harrell and Tiffany Johnson


Wednesday, December 1
10:00A - 11:30A -- First Time Conference Attendees

Rachel Brand and Oliver Blanco


Thursday, December 2
12:00P - 1:30P -- Directors' Think Tank Thursday

Alicia Smyth



Official Conference Programming

Times and events are preliminary and subject to change. Times listed below are CST.

Sunday, December 5

8:00A - 6:00P -- Registration Open
1:30P- 3:30P -- APEX: The Black Career Services Professional Summit | Renard Miles and Briana Edwards
2:00P - 6:00P -- Exhibit Set Up
5:00P - 6:00P -- [email protected] Sessions
6:30P - 7:00P -- New Members Networking Meet-Up
7:00P - 9:00P -- President's Reception (Hors d'oeuvres & drink ticket provided)

Monday, December 6

6:30A - 7:30A -- Morning Yoga
7:00A - 5:00P -- Registration Open
8:00A - 9:30A -- Exhibit Area Open
7:30A - 8:45A -- Continental Breakfast Provided
8:45A - 9:15A -- President's Welcome & Conference Kick-Off
9:15A - 10:15A -- Opening Keynote | Four Day Weekend
10:30A - 11:30A -- Breakout Sessions 
11:00A - 4:00P -- Exhibit Area Open
11:30A - 12:45P -- Lunch/Business Meeting/Awards (Lunch Provided)
1:00P - 2:00P -- Breakout Sessions 
2:00P - 2:30P -- Networking Break in Exhibit Hall
2:30P - 4:00P -- Hot Topics Roundtables
4:15P - 5:00P -- State Networking Meetings
6:00P - 8:00P -- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Networking Mixer
5:00P - Until -- Evening/Dinner on your own

Tuesday, December 7

6:30A - 7:30A -- Fun Run
7:00A - 5:00P -- Registration Open
7:00A - 8:15A -- Continental Breakfast Provided
7:00A - 11:00A -- Exhibit Area Open
8:15A - 9:15A -- Breakout Sessions
9:30A - 10:30A -- Breakout Sessions
10:30A - 10:45A -- Networking Break in Exhibit Hall
10:45A - 11:45P -- KG Meetings
11:45P - 1:00P -- Lunch Provided (Grab & Go)
1:30P - 4:30P -- Exhibit Area
1:00P - 2:00P -- Breakout Sessions
2:15P - 3:15P -- Breakout Sessions
3:15P - 3:45P -- Networking Break in Exhibit Hall
3:45P - 4:45P -- Breakout Sessions
6:30P - 10:30P -- Evening Event (Dinner & Drink Ticket Included)

Wednesday, December 8

7:00A - 1:00P -- Registration Open
8:15A - 9:15A -- Breakout Sessions
9:30A - 10:45A -- Closing Speaker (Includes Breakfast Buffet) | Nick Tran
10:45A - 11:00A -- Closing Remarks
11:30A - 1:30P -- Career Day Tour at Minute Maid Park (Optional)
12:00P - 2:00P -- Employer Site Visit | KTRK-TV 13 ABC News Station (Optional)

View Breakout Session Descriptions (PDF Download)

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Pre-conference (Virtual) | New Professionals Workshop
Monday, November 29
12:00PM – 1:30PM CST

Description: If you are a new professional to the Career Services field or just needing a refresher, the New Professionals workshop will provide you with a historical and philosophical overview of the profession through practical insights, strategies, interactive conversations and tools.  The workshop will consider the latest trends in career coaching; the use of technology; innovative programming; the incorporation of career competency education; and much more. You will learn how to position yourself to be a successful professional in Career Services and Higher Education through a variety of lenses.


Mark Colvenbach
Mark Colvenbach currently serves as Executive Director in the Office of Career Services at The University of Tampa. Colvenbach has served in various roles in the Office of Career Services over the past eighteen years including Manager of Employer Development and Coordinator of University Internships. Prior to joining the staff at the University of Tampa, Colvenbach worked nearly three years in the non-profit sector.

Colvenbach is active professionally in several organizations, including various leadership roles. Colvenbach held multiple positions on the board for the Southern Association of Colleges and Employers (SoACE) including President. In addition, Colvenbach served for five years on the board of the Florida Association of Colleges and Employers (FloridaACE) in roles including President and three years as the Professional Development Director. As a member of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), Mark attended the NACE Management Leadership Institute, a one- week intensive professional development training geared towards current and future Career Center directors. Colvenbach has presented numerous times at conferences for NACE, SoACE and FloridaACE.

Colvenbach thoroughly enjoys being active in various community organizations as well. In 2012, Colvenbach completed the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Tampa program and since has become an active committee member of the Leadership Tampa Alumni group leading Education Day as the Chair since 2017. For the past fouryears, he has served on the Spurlino Family YMCA in the Tampa Bay area.

A native of New York, Mark graduated from State University of New York at Geneseo with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Following his move to Florida, he completed his Master of Science at Florida State University.

Dr. Charlie Wilder
Associate Director for Cooperative Education and Internships
Office of Career Development and Corporate Relations

Dr. Wilder currently serves as the Associate Director for Cooperative Education and Internships at the Office of Career Development and Corporate Relations in Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. Dr. Wilder earned a bachelor’s degree in Educational Psychology, a master’s in College Counseling, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Instructional Systems and Workforce Development, all from Mississippi State University. Dr. Wilder’s has 12 years of experience in university career services in roles involving employer relations, student career development, assessment, cooperative education, and internships.

Dr. Wilder has been actively involved with SoACE for several years, serving on the conference committee, knowledge groups, and in multiple roles on the Board of Directors. He is a Past President of the SoACE and currently serves as Director of Finance.

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Pre-conference (Virtual) | Emerging Leaders
Tuesday, November 30

12:00PM – 1:30PM CST

Description: Successful leaders understand the ever-changing nature of their industry and the importance of preparing for the road ahead. Join us at this SoACE pre-conference session designed to equip emerging career services leaders with the competencies, strategies, and networks needed most to successfully execute their roles. We will dig into real-world case scenarios and hear from a panel of current career services leaders. Plan to learn from others and share your experience with various leaders in the field as we cover hot topics to help emerging leaders navigate the challenges facing their organization and campus Community.

Tiffany Johnson
Tiffany D. Johnson, Director of Career Services at Arkansas State University (A-State), leads a team of 12 multigenerational professional and paraprofessional employees. They provide employability skills training for approximately 14,000 students while building a strong rapport with industry leaders. Tiffany has increased employer engagement and student participation while also implementing a Corporate Sponsorship Program.

Prior to joining A-State, she was employed at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) for six years in Career Services and two years in Minority Student Services. She also served as the Miss Essence Pageant Director for eight years and taught Upward Bound English and College 101. Tiffany received her Master of Science degree in College Student Personnel Services and Bachelor of Art degrees in Journalism and Public Relations from UCA.

Tiffany currently serves as President for the Arkansas Association for Colleges and Employers, Administration Knowledge Group Chair for the Southern Association of Colleges and Employers, State Director and Diversity and Inclusion committee member for the Cooperative Education and Internship Association. She is also a proud, active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Ms. Johnson resides in Jonesboro, AR with her handsome son Kyler and adorable puppy, Roxy.

Shereada Harrell
Shereada Harrell joined the staff of the Career and Professional Development (CPD) Center, formerly known as the Career Center at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, in 2017.  She serves as the director and leads the centralized career services office.  The CPD Center team provides events, programs, and services that are designed to meet the career and workforce development needs of over 10,000 enrolled college students, along with alumni, employers, faculty, and administration.

Shereada previously served as Associate Director of Employer Relations at the University Texas at Dallas Career Center.  She has over ten years of tenure in career services, also includes work at Troy University in Alabama, Arkansas State University, and University of Central Arkansas. Shereada received a bachelor's degree in mass communication from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and a master's degree in College Student Personnel Services and Administration from the University of Central Arkansas. She has served as Director of Membership and Retention board of directors for the Southern Association of Colleges and Employers (SoACE) and chair of the Sponsorships and Exhibits on the Conference Committee for SoACE. She also is a member of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) and the National Career Development Association (NCDA).

In her spare time, she can be found traveling or spending time with family.

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Pre-conference (Virtual) | First Time Conference Attendees
Wednesday, December 1

10:00AM – 11:30AM CST

Description: Join us during this event to learn a bit more about how SoACE operates, membership benefits and to meet your colleagues and SoACE leadership! You'll be formally introduced to SoACE at this meeting, and you'll meet peers who may become your friends for years to come.

SoACE provides many opportunities to get involved as much or as little as you desire. To start, we highly suggest attending the Knowledge Group meeting of your choice. These groups are a great way to meet others in similar roles across the region. They also provide volunteer opportunities. Knowledge Groups also give members a chance to continue the conversations they started at the conference throughout the year through webinars and other meetings.

Rachel Brand
Rachel Brand, M.S., has experience in career counseling and employer relations within career services. She received her master’s degree in Organizational Leadership with a concentration in student affairs from Western Kentucky University. Rachel is the Assistant Director of Employer Relations and Community Outreach at the University of Kentucky. In this role she gets to do her favorite thing, meet new people and build relationships! Rachel meets with employers to determine the best recruitment strategy to implement based on the organizations needs and helps them to navigate the vast landscape that is university recruiting. She works to maintain the relationships through strategic communication, presenting new ways to engage with the university/students, and consistently following up with each employer.

Oliver Blanco
Oliver Blanco is the Assistant Director of Employer Relations at the Rockwell Career Center with the C.T. Bauer College of Business, University of Houston (UH). Previous to joining the Employer Relations team, Oliver was with the Graduate/Alumni Career Counseling team between 2013-20, and with the BBA Career Counseling team between 2007-13. Prior to the Rockwell Career Center, he worked in human resources with the Houston Independent School District (HISD), the largest school district in Texas, and seventh-largest in the nation.
Collaborate with Oliver to develop strategic campus recruitment plans, then connect with Bauer MBA, MS, and BBA talent. A proud UH alum, Oliver believes in strong community engagement. He has volunteered with the H.E.A.R.T. Program, Houston Hispanic Forum, OUT for Education, Trees for Houston, Houston Food Bank, TrashBash, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and Houston LULAC National Educational Service Centers, Inc. Oliver enjoys consulting student organizations at Bauer and is also Cougar Ally trained to increase the safety, and comfort level for LGBTQ+ students at UH.

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Pre-conference (Virtual) | Directors' Think Tank Thursday
Thursday, December 2

12:00PM – 1:30PM CST

Description: The Directors Think Tank provides an informal, open forum for Directors and others in career services with administrative responsibilities to discuss relevant topics and issues facing today's career centers and share ideas and solutions for success.

Alicia Smyth
Alicia Smyth has served as the Executive Director of Career Services at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach campus for the past 7 years, leading a team of 11 student-centric career professionals. She has been with Embry-Riddle for nearly 22 years, serving in roles that have allowed her to gain experience in career advising, database administration, social media marketing, assessment and strategic planning, event planning, employer relations, programming, fundraising, teaching, and much more.  Alicia earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Florida and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership, Student Personnel Administration in Higher Education from the University of Central Florida. She is a former president of FloridaACE and served on the board in various roles from 2010-2018. Alicia served on the SoACE Board from 2017-2021, first as the Director of Communications and Marketing and then as the Director of Targeted Knowledge Groups. She is a 2012 recipient of the FloridaACE President’s Award, 2017 recipient of the SoACE President’s Award, and 2020 recipient of the FloridaACE John T. Brownlee Leadership Award. Alicia currently serves on the Awards Committee for SoACE and the Honors & Awards Committee for NACE. She is a member of the NACE Management Leadership Institute Class of 2019.

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Career Day Tour at Minute Maid Park | $25.00
Wednesday, December 8

11:30AM – 1:30PM CST
*Tour time is subject to cancellation due to unknown play-off schedule events

Minute Maid Park is a unique Houston location for your students to enjoy a memorable Career Day experience. Career Day Tours offer an in-depth look at Minute Maid Park and its rich baseball history as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the operations and career path of the department of your choice.

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Employer Site Visit | KTRK-TV 13 ABC News Station | $25.00
Wednesday, December 8

12:00PM – 2:00PM CST
*Proof of vaccination is required in order to participate in this tour

The tour will be approximately 1 hour in length. Tour will consist of touring the newsroom where Assignment Editors, Associate Producers, Editors, Producers, Digital Producers are diligently working on the next upcoming newscast or breaking news story and the broadcast studio, and the control room where the producer and director oversee the actual newscast.

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Opening Keynote | Four Day Weekend
Monday, December 5

9:15 AM - 10:15 AM CST

Four Day Weekend
Four Day Weekend is an award-winning comedy show built around audience suggestions and participation. They will provide/create a custom show using lines of dialogue and words of inspiration provided by YOU, our SoACE Conference attendees!

They perform shows every weekend at their Dallas and Fort Worth theaters and have been voted “Best Comedy Club” and named “Best Entertainment Experience in Texas.”


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Closing Keynote | Nick Tran
Wednesday, December 8

9:30 AM - 10:45 AM CST

Nick Tran
Nick currently looks after Schlumberger’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) portfolio. In this role, Nick Leads the organization’s Corporate Social Sustainability and Philanthropy efforts within the communities where Schlumberger operates. Promoting STEM education by providing thousands of robotic and coding kits to schools in underserved communities through partnerships with various non-profits, representing Schlumberger at Oil & Gas Trafficking Awareness Group (OGTAG) to combat human trafficking within the energy industry, and serving as the Chair for the organization’s annual United Way, March of Dimes and Junior Achievement campaigns. In addition to Nick’s contributions to Schlumberger’s CSR efforts, he is also a Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) trailblazer and has championed positive change for people of color, disabled people, the LGBTQ and veteran community.

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2021 Conference Exhibitors


Annual Sponsors

Diamond Sponsors ($10,000)


Gold Sponsors ($7,500)


 Silver Sponsors ($5,000)

Bronze Sponsors ($1,000)


Friends of SoACE ($500)