Reflections from our 6th President – Shelly Underwood

Wow! Ten years?!?!  As the old adage goes, “time flies when you’re having fun!”  I’m excited to share with you a bit about my SoACE journey thus far and how, you – its members, continue to inspire me.

As a new professional, I was fortunate to have been encouraged and supported in my interests to get involved in SWACE.  When news of the planned merger with SACE was announced, I remember feeling a strong sense of excitement and enthusiasm for new opportunities that would be afforded given the diversity of the proposed new membership and each association’s rich history.  The extraordinary efforts of the strategic planning and merger team committees laid the foundation for the association we derive so much benefit from.

San Antonio was the destination for the inaugural SoACE Conference and “Synergy” was the theme!  I had the privilege of serving alongside three talented members, Patsy Hammett, Sue Martin and Woody Wentworth, to chair the planning of this much anticipated event.  With the support of Karen Thompson, our President, the board, and a brilliant conference committee, more than 900 SoACE members gathered in the Alamo City to network and grow within the profession we hold so dear.  In this role, I began to realize our shared challenges and opportunities and I remember thinking the “synergy” is real and we have a lot we can accomplish together.  It’s also important to note I learned a few new line dances that year and till this day, I can’t help but crack up when I hear Chubby Checker’s Twist!

Beginning in 2011, I was extremely fortunate to have the experience of serving on the SoACE board for a three-year tenure starting with President-Elect.  This was a challenging, but also exciting time, as I was making the transition professionally from career services at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio to university recruiting at Tesoro, now Andeavor.  Whether we were introducing a new web platform via SoACE Connect, reviewing by-laws to ensure they enabled our work, looking to grow membership, exploring collaborative opportunities with other regional associations, or preparing for a successful conference experience (on the magnificent beaches of St. Pete), I was continuously amazed by the commitment of our SoACE volunteers.  From board members and conference chairs, to committee leads and members, the passion they lend in addition to time and energy is invaluable empowering the association at large to fulfill its mission.  I grew as a professional so much during this time – each board member I served with brought unique perspectives and abilities that strengthened both me and the team.  In the midst of busy days, that just get busier with time, I relied (and continue to rely) on this network for advice, best practices, and motivation.

Here we are, ten years later. SoACE, driven by its membership and supported by a wonderful team at CMC Global, continues to evolve and remains a resource for those both seasoned in our profession and new.  I count my blessings that I have the opportunity to work in the company of such amazing professionals that positively impact our profession and the students and stakeholders we serve daily.  I’m excited to celebrate all that has been achieved in the past decade in my home town of San Antonio this December, alongside you and my Andeavor team.  The “Synergy” is more real than ever and opportunity lies ahead to leverage the talents brought together years ago into one super association!

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