Employer Relations Summit

Be a part of the 8th Annual SoACE Employer Relations Summit!
June 22-24, 2022 | Fort Worth, TX

2022 Call for Volunteers

We are excited to start planning for the 2022 Employer Relations Summit in Fort Worth, TX. We are thrilled to have a lot of interest in the planning committee and want to do our best to include as many people as possible.

If you are interested in volunteering, please review the available planning committee opportunities:

  • Employer Engagement (2 people)
    • Identify and invite employers to engage with the summit in a number of different ways (examples: employer panel and economic development overview).
  • Employer Recruitment & Site Visit (2 people)
    • Work with employers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to secure an employer site visit (historically, this has been held on Friday morning). Also, focus on recruiting employers to attend the summit (these efforts will also support SoACE’s greater initiative of including more employers at events).
  • Breakout Sessions and Roundtables (2 people)
    • Manage the call for proposals process for breakout sessions and roundtables (the committee will help select proposals).
  • Keynote (1 person)
    • Identify and select the Keynote speaker. Also, this person will have the opportunity to introduce the Keynote speaker during the summit.
  • Communications (1 person)
    • Support the summit by writing a few blog posts with pertinent information for attendees. In addition, work with SoACE to market the summit through all social media channels.
  • Networking/Social (1-2 people)
    • Plan something fun! As the summit will be in Fort Worth, TX we are looking to host a fun networking/social evening event during either the first and/or second evening of the summit.
  • Campus Career Center Tour/other programming (1 person)
    • Work with a local university to plan a campus career center tour, as well as additional programming initiatives that the committee wants to pursue. *TCU is only 10 minutes from the conference site, so that would be a great option, plus there are other universities within thirty minutes of downtown.

Additional information to consider:

  • The ER Summit dates are June 22 - 24, 2022 in Fort Worth, Texas. As a committee member, we hope you will be able to attend the conference. 
  • Monthly committee calls will start in October. Once the planning committee is finalized, we will send a Doodle poll to schedule the October (and subsequent) meeting(s).

Next steps: Please send Matthew Battista, [email protected], brief answers to the following questions by Thursday, September 30.  If selected to join, we will do our best to accommodate your top areas of interest, but we may ask if you’ll be flexible depending on where interest falls. If that happens, we appreciate your understanding.

  • Have you attended past ER Summits? If yes, which year(s)?
  • Have you served on any planning committees in the past for other organizations (including SoACE)?
  • What are your top two areas of interest (listed above) and why (for each)?
  • What skills and attributes would you bring to the committee?

Thanks in advance and please let us know if you have any questions.


Registration for the 2022 Summit will open in January, 2022. 

Summit Registration Fees:

  • SoACE Members: $TBD
  • Non-Members: $TBD


 Schedule at a Glance (2021 Virtual Event)

The 2022 Schedule will be posted later this year.

Day 1: Wednesday, June 23
10:00 – 10:15 EST | Conference Welcome
10:15 – 11:15 EST | Keynote - Presented by Rod Hooker, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at GM Financial
11:30 – 12:30 EST | Breakout Session 1 & 2
Hold the Line; presented by Matthew French
To Infinity and Beyond; presented by Valerie Mandel & Margaret Ila Christian

12:30 – 1:30 EST | Break
1:30 – 2:30 EST | Breakout Session 3 & 4
Old Rules Out; presented by Summer Salazar & Megan Fortson
Dear, Hey!, Hello; presented by Grace Foy & Erica Betz

2:45 – 3:15 EST | Expand & Energize Connections - Networking Conversations
3:30 – 5:00 EST | End of Day One Fun (Games)

 Day 2: Thursday, June 24
10:00 – 11:15 EST | Employer Panel - featuring Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Clayton Homes, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, & Pilot Flying J
11:30 – 12:30 EST | Breakout Session 5 & 6
Diversity First; presented by Briana Edwards & Kayla McLaughlin
Crafting the Best Hybrid Fair for You; presented by Sheri Blight
12:30 – 1:30 EST | Break
1:30 - 2:30 EST | Breakout Session 7 & 8
Energize Your Employer Audience; presented by Whitney Prescott
Maximizing Employer Partnerships through Hybrid Job Shadowing Programs; presented by Kayla Hamilton & Traci Ackerman
2:45 – 3:15 EST | Employer Industry Spotlights: Tesla & Quest Diagnostics
3:30 - 4:00 EST | Employer Industry Spotlights: ARRIVAL & U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)
4:00 – 4:10 EST | Closing & Thank You

 Breakout Sessions

  • Hold the Line: Creating Cultural Change with Employer Partners, presented by Matthew French
    Brief Summary - As Career Center professionals we have the ability to create real systemic changes to the inequalities faced by many of our diverse student populations in the world of work. In this session we will cover how to audit your employers for inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (I.D.E.A), ways to utilize that knowledge to educate employer partners and create company culture changes that better the experience of our students, alumni and employer partners. It is our duty to hold the line and use our influence to create a better work world for the future.
  • To Infinity and Beyond: Blasting Ahead Through a Global Pandemic, presented by Valerie Mandel & Margaret Ila Christian
    Brief Summary - Have your relationships changed with your employers? Do your students still engage in the virtual environment? While this past year will continue to be labeled as "unprecedented", our mission shifted focus to one of adaptability. Staying agile to meet the needs of students where they were, brought success during this time of unrest. The scope of recruitment changed, but not the relationship between both entities. This session will be a dialogue and discussion between Lockheed Martin and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and how they have collaborated before and during the pandemic. Topics will include student engagement, relationship management, and powering through virtual exhaustion. Both will share highlights of their longstanding partnership and continued efforts toward a common goal.

  • Old Rules Out: Expanding Opportunities for Students by Providing Equitable Access for All Employers Through Updated Recruiting Guidelines and Employer Education, presented by Summer Salazar & Megan Fortson
    Brief Summary - The recruiting landscape changed dramatically over the past year. This allowed us an opportunity to implement DEI strategies into our recruiting guidelines and efforts to educate employers on the current and future of university relations. Join Texas Career Engagement at UT Austin to learn more about our innovative approach to employer engagement and outreach. This presentation will highlight 3 major efforts implemented this past year, including: updated recruiting guidelines to help increase opportunities for students; a successful 90-day pilot to review organizations without a physical address that resulted in the adoption of this new procedure; and implemented an employer education and development program – Hook Talent EDU – that engaged and educated more than 400 recruiters from organizations of all sizes and industries.

  • Dear, Hey!, Hello: Shifting your language to reach the right audience, presented by Grace Foy & Erica Betz
    Brief Summary - Ever feel like your messages are falling flat? It has happened to all of us – but there is a solution! It might be time to look at how you're using customization in your messaging to external constituents. During this session, Erica & Grace of Vanderbilt University will show attendees how to shift their vocabulary depending on the audience. Your Employer Relations Team has to meet stakeholders where they are, which includes understanding the constituent's connection to the university. This session will provide solutions focused on reaching three primary groups: alumni, employers, and students.

  • Diversity First: Connecting Employers and Students from Historically Marginalized Communities For Career Success, presented by Briana Edwards & Kayla Mclaughlin
    Brief Summary - Diversity First: A Networking Event - This student group showcase event was centered on diversity and marginalized student success through specific student groups who strive to create inclusion, diversity, and equity within their practice. We wanted the students to practice networking and professional development by engaging with the employers through pitching their student group missions, programs, sponsorship opportunities, and student leadership boards. This would not only benefit the students with fundraising and corporate partnerships but would also allow the corporate companies to create unique relationships with GT student groups. This benefited the career center in strengthening student and employer outreach and partnerships. We will review the purpose of this event, learning objectives, overall presentation, and data analysis for successful results and improvements. This event can be implemented at any university with little to no cost and high-profit value.

  • Crafting the Best Hybrid Fair For You, presented by Sheri Blight 

    Brief Summary - Many of us have mastered the art of virtual job fairs this past year - but what is next? We know virtual is here to stay but it won't replace in-person fairs. How can we leverage our new technology to make enhance fairs with hybrid components to make it work for both the students and the employers? Join us to learn best practices on different approaches to Hybrid Fairs to find one that fits your needs.

  • Energize Your Employer Audience: Building a Strong Employer Communications Strategy, presented by Whitney Prescott 

    Brief Summary - Do you feel like you're flying by the seat of your pants when it comes to communicating with your employer base? Learn how
    the University of Georgia Career Center Employer Relations Team implemented a cyclical employer communication strategy
    that not only energizes new employers but encourages further engagement among existing employers year after year. Our
    team will share the timeline as well as templates. In this interactive session, you will also have the opportunity to reflect on
    your current employer communications, gather ideas from colleagues across the region, and develop an action plan for your strategy.

  • Maximizing Employer Partnerships through Hybrid Job Shadowing Programs, presented by Kayla Hamilton & Traci Ackerman

    Brief Summary - During the pandemic we all saw a need to pivot our programming to match the changing world. This included changing the
    way we involve employers in our events. Moving virtual was difficult enough, but starting the migration back to a sense of
    "normalcy" is presenting new challenges. What does the new normal look like? How will employers and students want to
    interact with their career centers? Is there a place for virtual programming in a face-to-face world?
    At UT Dallas we faced all of these questions and put theories to the test with our Explore the World of Work Job
    Shadow/Externship Program. Originally designed to be completely in person, this program benefited from the many changes
    we made during COVID. We saw an increase in student and employer participation and employers were praised the
    smoothness of this transition. In this presentation we will partner with one of our employer participants to demonstrate how we have been able to transition this program to a hybrid modality and increase our employer and student involvement. We will discuss the pivots that we made and what the future of this program will look like to benefit anyone wanting to create their own program.

 Employer Panel 

  • Panelist Company: Hewlett Packard Enterprise       
  • Panelist Name: Renée Hebert
  • Panelist Title: University Program Strategy Manager                
  • LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/reneehebert/

Bio: Renée Hebert has been a team member at HPE for over 5 years, currently focused on recruiting strategy and the intern program for the Americas region. In this role, she manages the recruiting for 700 intern and graduate hires in 10 different countries and the intern experience for approximately 450 interns.

Supporting students in their career endeavors is an undeniable passion for Renée. Prior to HPE, Renée worked in higher education for 15 years leaving legacies at Clemson University, the University of North Texas and the University of Louisiana Monroe. Her experience was varied but always focused on student services and preparing students for life as a professional and leader.

Renée attended the University of Louisiana Monroe where she earned a masters in counseling and a bachelors in psychology. She is a certified career coach and resume writer and a member of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) and the Professional Association of Resume Writers (PARW).


  • Panelist Company: Clayton Homes                                                   
  • Panelist Name: Fadi Natour
  • Panelist Title: Lead Corporate Technology Recruiter/Talent Manager
  • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/fnatour/

 Bio: Fadi Natour currently serves as the Talent Manager for Clayton Homes’ Information Technology department by providing HR services to managers including: performance management, employment practices and platform training administration.  Fadi is a proud University of Tennessee Alumni. Go Vols!


Bio: Stephen Clayton joined the Communication and Outreach department at the Dallas Fed in August 2010. He assumed responsibility for the Bank’s Community Engagement department in October of 2015. Clayton leads a team responsible for building relationships across the Eleventh District that support the amplification of Dallas Fed research and facilitates dialogues with business and community leaders about the economy and community issues.

Clayton has served as an adjunct professor of economics at Austin College in Sherman, TX. Prior to joining the Dallas Fed, Clayton was a financial advisor at Edward Jones Investments in Carrollton, Texas. He has been published in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports and written publications for the Dallas Fed. Clayton has a BA from Austin College with a focus on economics, philosophy and math.


  • Panelist company: Pilot Flying J                                       
  • Panelist Name: Chelsea Spradling
  • Panelist Title: College Relations Recruiter
  • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chelseaspradling/

Bio: Chelsea Spradling’s job as a recruiter and college programs manager provides her the opportunity to not only support a company she loves, but also serve students as an ambassador and resource. In addition to college recruiting, Chelsea currently serves the Merchandising, Food & Beverage, Marketing, and Legal teams with recruiting needs. Chelsea is a graduate of Tennessee and received her bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain Management with a concentration in Marketing.

Employer Industry Spotlights

Tesla: Tesla was founded in 2003 by a group of engineers who wanted to prove that people didn’t need to compromise to drive electric – that electric vehicles can be better, quicker and more fun to drive than gasoline cars. Today, Tesla builds not only all-electric vehicles but also infinitely scalable clean energy generation and storage products. Tesla believes the faster the world stops relying on fossil fuels and moves towards a zero-emission future, the better.

Λ Γ Γ I V Λ L: Arrival, Ltd is a British American firm headquartered in London, UK that develops electric vehicles, primarily lightweight commercial vehicles. In June 2020, Arrival announced a new passenger bus designed for coronavirus-era social distancing. In December 2020, Arrival established its North American headquarters in Charlotte, NC, USA. Radical new technologies will have a huge impact on wide-scale electrification. Best in class electric vehicles priced competitively with fossil fuel equivalents and with a much lower total cost of ownership, while delivering an exceptional experience. Revolutionising vehicle design and production through smart robotic assembly of our proprietary components and composite materials eliminates legacy processes.
Arrival Microfactories installed locally with a small footprint and low capital expenditure. Operational within months, enabling rapid deployment worldwide. Led by experienced talent sourced from industry-leading companies and supported by a talented and growing global workforce of over 1500 people.

Quest Diagnostics: Quest Diagnostics is a clinical laboratory that empowers people to take action to improve health outcomes. Derived from the world's largest database of clinical lab results, our diagnostic insights reveal new avenues to identify and treat disease, inspire healthy behaviors and improve health care management. Quest annually serves one in three adult Americans and half the physicians and hospitals in the United States, and our 47,000 employees understand that, in the right hands and with the right context, our diagnostic insights can inspire actions that transform lives.

U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO): GAO provides Congress, the heads of executive agencies, and the public with timely, fact-based, non-partisan information that can be used to improve government and save taxpayers billions of dollars.  Our work is done at the request of congressional committees or subcommittees or is statutorily required by public laws or committee reports, per our Congressional Protocols.

2021 Summit Committee

Chair: Beth Mannella, Elon University
Assistant Chair: Matthew Battista, University of Tampa

Employer Engagement:
Natalie Feller, UT - Knoxville
Daisy Gillam, University of North Texas
Allison Hendricks, University of Houston
Candiss Territo, Tarleton State University
Tasha Litton, University of South Alabama

Breakout Sessions:
Rachel Brand, University of Kentucky
Jay Skipworth, UNC Charlotte

Networking / Social Activities:
Charles Howard, Clayton State University
Alicia Low, Oklahoma State University

Communications & Marketing:
Sheri Blight, Kennesaw State University

Questions? Contact the SoACE Office by email or phone 1-877-946-1013.