Conference Schedule

Times and events are preliminary and subject to change.

Sunday, December 8

3:00 PM - 6:00 PM -- Registration Open

Monday, December 9

8:00A - 6:00P -- Registration Open
9:00A - 12:00P -- Preconference Workshop, Developing a Campus-wide Competency Development Initiative
9:00A - 12:00P -- Preconference Workshop, Career Services New Professionals Workshop
9:00A - 12:00P -- Preconference Workshop, Emerging Leaders Preparing for the Road Ahead
9:00A - 12:00P -- University Site Visit, Rhodes College  
12:30P - 3:30P -- Preconference Workshop, APEX: The Black Career Services Professional Summit
1:00P - 2:30P -- Career Management Technology Meet-Up
1:00P - 2:30P -- Assessment & Data Analytics KG Meet-Up
2:00P - 6:00P -- Exhibit Set Up
2:45P - 3:50P -- New Member/First Time Attendee Orientation
4:00P - 5:00P -- Director's Think Tank (hosted by the Admin KG; Pre-register only)
5:15P - 6:45P -- [email protected] Sessions (Sign up during registration)
7:00P - 9:00P -- President's Reception

Tuesday, December 10

6:30A - 7:30A -- Wellness Activity - Body Blast Workout 
7:00A - 5:00P -- Registration Open
7:30A - 8:45A -- Presidents' Breakfast (State ACE/Consortium Leaders Only)
8:00A - 9:30A -- Exhibit Area Open
8:00A - 4:15P --  Silent Auction Open 
7:30A - 8:45A -- Attendee Continental Breakfast 
8:45A - 9:15A -- President's Welcome & Conference Kick-Off
9:15A - 10:15A -- Opening Keynote, Shannon A. BrownStraight Talk About Leadership: How to Win the Trust of People, Teams and Organizations
10:30A - 11:30A -- Breakout Sessions
11:00A - 4:00P -- Exhibit Area Open
11:30A - 1:00P -- Lunch
1:15P - 2:15P -- Breakout Sessions
2:15P - 2:30P -- Networking Break  in Exhibit Hall
2:30P - 4:00P -- Hot Topics Roundtables
4:15P - 5:00P -- State Networking Meetings
6:00P - 9:00P -- Diversity & Inclusion Networking Night at The National Civil Rights Museum (Optional event; All registered attendees welcome)

Wednesday, December 11

6:30A - 7:30A -- Fun Run
7:00A - 5:00P -- Registration Open
7:00A - 8:15A -- Attendee Continental Breakfast - Special exhibit networking tables!
7:00A - 11:00A -- Exhibit Area
7:00A - 2:30P -- Silent Auction
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/Business Meeting/Awards
1:30P - 4:30P -- Exhibit Area
1:15P - 2:45P -- Interactive Presenter, Maren Greathouse, Director of the Tyler Clementi Center | Working While Queer: Common Challenges LGBTQ Students Face in their Career Development [Read more]
2:45P - 3:00P -- Networking Break in Exhibit Hall
3:00P - 4:00P -- Breakout Sessions
6:30P - 10:30P -- Evening Event 

Thursday, December 12

7:00A - 1:00P -- Registration Open
8:15A - 9:15A -- Breakout Sessions
9:30A - 10:45A -- Closing Speaker, Mercedes Ramirez JohnsonGet it Right Today, Not Tomorrow  (Includes Breakfast Buffet)
10:45A - 11:00A -- Closing Remarks
11:00A -- Hotel Check Out
12:00P - 3:00P -- Employer Site Visit: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
1:00P - 4:00P -- Employer Site Visit: Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum

Event Descriptions


Developing a Campus-wide Competency Development Initiative | $50.00
Monday | December 9, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Presenters: Tim Harding, The University of Tampa, Alicia Smyth, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Erin Minta, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

Description: Competency development is essential for student success for life after graduation. Institutions are shifting their campus-wide culture by intentionally mapping student learning in the curriculum and co-curriculum to competency development. Based on four foundational and universal pillars, this session will engage attendees in exploring approaches and strategic planning for designing their own unique approach to campus-wide competency and career readiness. No matter what type or size of institution, this workshop will be scalable and applicable for all institutions. So bring your preferred morning cup of whatever to get going to participate in this engaging and interactive program designed to provide you with a meaningful strategy and helpful tools.

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Career Services New Professionals' Workshop | $50.00
Monday | December 9, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Presenter: Toni McLawhorn, Roanoke University, Ray Rogers, St. Edward's University

Description: If you are a newer professional to the Career Services field or you just need a refresher, the Nuts and Bolts Workshop for New Professionals will provide you with practical insights, strategies, and tools to equip you for various roles within a career center. 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 that comprises the state of the art 21st Century. You will learn how to position yourself to be a successful new professional for the future.

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Emerging Leaders Preparing for the Road Ahead, Hosted by the Administration KG | $50.00
Monday, December 9, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Presenters: Tiffany Johnson, Arkansas State University, Katie Hudon, University of West Florida

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. 

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APEX: The Black Career Services Professional Summit | $50.00
Monday, December 9, 12:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Presenter: V'Rhaniku Haynes, University of Central Florida, Renard Miles II, University of Tennessee at Martin, Kelvin Rutledge Southern Connecticut State University

Description: As the profession of career services continues to evolve and diversify, it is important to create affinity spaces for professionals to unpack and contextualize their lived experiences. APEX will provide intentional professional development, fellowship, and networking among graduate students, entry-level, mid-level, and senior-level professionals of Black, African American, and African descent. The summit will allow participants to explore and define issues of professional growth and capacity through structured content, informal dialogue, and focused mentoring and connections. The summit aims to cultivate a space where Black Career Services professional remained committed to the professions and build capacity to become the future leaders of tomorrow.

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Director's Think Tank

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.

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[email protected] Sessions

5 @ 5 Sessions – Would you like to get five new ideas in an hour? Join us at 5:15 PM for these innovative sessions where you can choose a topic and hear from five expert speakers about new ideas, resources, programs, etc. centered around that topic. After each speaker presents a brief talk, attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions and share their ideas. 5 @ 5 attendees will leave this fast-paced session with five different perspectives and ideas to bring back to their organization.

If you would like to attend one of the free 5 @ 5 sessions, please indicate the topic during registration.

  • Diversity & Inclusion 
  • Employer Relations
  • Experiential Education 
  • Assessment in Career Services 
  • Career Advising and Counseling
  • Technology

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Fun Run

Looking to get some fresh air and exercise to start the day?  Join your friends for the annual SoACE Fun Run and Walk!  Runners and walkers of all speeds are welcome.  We will identify a turn-around point for a 3-mile there-and-back route.  As always, please shorten (or lengthen) your route as appropriate.  We’re looking forward to another great memory!  Please direct any questions to Charlie Wilder at [email protected].  

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Tuesday Diversity & Inclusion Networking Night (6:00 P - 9:00 P)
Complimentary - all attendees invited. Please RSVP during registration.

All conference attendees are invited to attend the SoACE Diversity & Inclusion Networking Night at the National Civil Rights Museum.  This event is hosted by the SoACE Diversity & Inclusion Committee, Employer Relations Knowledge Group and the Experiential Education Knowledge Group.  The event will be held on Tuesday, December 10th from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis and shuttles will be provided throughout the duration of the event from the Peabody Hotel to the museum.

Thank you to our event sponsors, Tennessee Association of Colleges & Employers, the University of Memphis Career Services, and Career Shift.

Attendees will enjoy heavy hors d'oeuvres and refreshments while networking and will have the opportunity to explore the National Civil Rights Museum.  

The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel is a very special experience that takes visitors through centuries of history.  The museum experience is a self-guided so that visitors can experience oral histories, films and interactive components at their own pace.  Please allow approximately 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours for the full tour.  Click here to learn more about the exhibits.

Please RSVP to attend this free event in your conference registration.  If you have already registered to attend the conference and want to add your RSVP please email [email protected].

Wednesday Interactive Speaker (1:15 P - 2:45P)
Working While Queer: Common Challenges LGBTQ Students Face in their Career Development
Presenter: Maren Greathouse, Director of the Tyler Clementi Center, a Research Center examining the impact of bias, peer aggression, and campus climage on students holding marginalized and/or stigmatized identities.

While the LGBTQ movement has made great strides over the last 50 years, it is still legal in 17 states to be fired because of your sexual orientation or gender identity.  This interactive session will explore some of the common concerns and challenges that LGBTQ-identified students experience in their career development and offer attendees guidance on how best to respond and mitigate barriers that limit professional opportunities for LGBTQ students.

Maren Greathouse serves as Director of the Tyler Clementi Center, a research center examining the impact of bias, peer aggression, and campus climate on students holding marginalized and/or stigmatized identities. Ms. Greathouse oversees all strategic planning, research efforts, academic initiatives, external partnerships and operations. She was the founding Director of the LGBTQ and Intercultural Resource Center at Rutgers University-Newark and LGBT Student Development at Towson University. She holds a Masters of Science degree in Social Responsibility from St. Cloud State University, a program grounded in the study of social identity politics, structural oppression, and the social responsibility of individuals, organizations, governments and the private sector. She is currently pursuing a terminal degree in Higher Education with the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education. Her research interests include equity and diversity, student affairs praxis and class dynamics in higher education.

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Wednesday Night Event (6:30 P - 10:30P)

We are excited to host our closing evening event at Graceland! You will have access to Presley Motors Automobile Museum, Presley Cycles, and the Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum. 

You will also have the opportunity to add on a mansion tour for an additional $25.00. You will board a shuttle bus in front of the shuttle boarding area and be driven to the front door of the Graceland Mansion. Mansion tours are self-guided iPad tours, which allow you to proceed at their own pace. Guests usually spend 45 minutes to an hour on the tour. Please note that no food or beverage are allowed on this tour.

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Thursday Morning Closing Remarks Keynote Speaker
Presenter: Mercedes Ramirez Johnson, proprietary Second Chance Living concept 
December 12, 9:30 - 10:45 

In 1995, Mercedes Ramirez Johnson narrowly survived a commercial airplane crash that killed 160 people, including her parents. She presents her proprietary Second Chance Living concept, an innovative mindset and approach with a proven track record, to organizations such as General Electric, ExxonMobil, Microsoft, NASA, Chevron, and the various branches of the US Armed Forces. Before becoming a speaker, Mercedes spent nearly a decade in high-level sales in the pharmaceutical and medical software industries. A record-breaking, multimillion-dollar producer, she became the youngest female and sole Latino account executive at Cerner Corporation. She is an active leader in philanthropic organizations advocating for children and children’s health initiatives, notably for Make-A-Wish and The National MPS Society. Mercedes and her story have been the subject of considerable national and international media coverage. Her extensive media experience includes appearances on The BBC, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Health Channel and as a recurring guest on numerous nationally syndicated daytime talk shows on NBC and ABC. In addition, numerous national magazines and major-market newspapers have run cover stories and special-interest pieces about her, and she was recognized as one of the country’s top young Hispanic up-and-comers by People Magazine’s Spanish edition, People en Español. Mercedes and her husband live in the Dallas area with their four sons.

Thursday Employer Site Visit: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital -- $35.00, Includes Transportation & Lunch
December 12, 12:00 (concludes no later than 3:00pm)

Join us December 12 for a visit with our partners from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. During this visit, we'll meet with a former St. Jude intern turned Talent Acquisition Specialist and other members of the Human Resources team to learn about opportunities and the St. Jude career process. Participants will learn about the history of St. Jude and an interesting connection between St. Jude and our conference host site, The Peabody Hotel. The visit includes lunch, transportation, a tour of the St. Jude campus & hospital, and a stop at the gift shop.

For a sneak peek at their current career opportunities, visit


Thursday Employer Site Visit : Memphis Grizzlies at the FedExForum
December 12, 1:00 (concludes no later than 4:00pm)

Note: This venue is within walking distance of The Peabody Hotel. Transportation will not be provided or will be on your own.

Join us at the FedEx Forum on December 12 for a visit with our partners from the Memphis Grizzlies, the Grind City's NBA team. During this visit, we'll meet with the manager of HR, fall interns, and Grizzlies corporate executives. Participants will also experience a behind-the-scenes tour of FedExForum, including players locker rooms. During this visit, participants will learn about the Grizzlies CUP partnership with colleges & universities, their internship opportunities and sales program, Grizzlies company culture, and why we should all be Grizzlies fans! 

For a sneak peek at the Memphis Grizzlies current career opportunities, visit their employment page

Thank you 2019 Conference Sponsors!

Diamond Level ($10,000+)

Conference Diamond Sponsor:

Platinum Level ($5,000+)

Featured Speaker & Name Badge Sponsor:


Silver ($1,000+)

Diversity & Inclusion Mixer Sponsors:

Refreshment Break Sponsors:


General Silver Level Sponsors:


Bronze ($500+)