Reflections from our 3rd President – Norma Guerra Gaier

When I stop and think about SoACE and all of the incredible colleagues and friends I’ve been blessed to meet and work with over the years, I immediately find myself in my happy place! Dating back to the very beginning of our association’s existence, I vividly remember serving on the board for SWACE on the day that both SACE and SWACE sat at the table to solidify our existence as SoACE! That was only the beginning of a highly collaborative and spirited movement that has paved the way for fruitful conversations and great memories at conferences, hot topic discussions at board meetings, and new initiatives that have helped us realize great success for our membership and for those we serve. While each group brought their own identity, conviction, traditions and passion for our work, we realized that by merging together as SoACE, we would become one of the strongest and most impactful regional associations in the country.

That year, I was excited to welcome new friends to the Alamo City, San Antonio, Texas, which was my home at the time, for the inaugural SoACE conference. It was at this conference that my candidacy for SoACE president-elect was announced on the slate with other phenomenal nominees, and it was also at this conference that I met folks from other states in our newly expanded regional association who are now longtime friends.

My time as president of SoACE, during the 2009-2010 term, is an experience that I will always hold very dear to my heart. I was surrounded by amazing leaders on the board and within our organization, who taught me so much about leadership and life. I can only hope that I did the same for them. One of the stand-out memories that I have is our conference at the Gaylord Hotel in Nashville. If you know me, you know that I have a deep appreciation for music, so hosting the SoACE Live and In Concert Conference was perfect! We had a special appearance from “Dolly” that was quite entertaining, but the biggest treat of all was a special SoACE Unplugged session that featured some of my all-time favorites performed by SoACE volunteer musicians, Charlie Wilder, Mike Phillips and Darrell Easley! That is a performance I will never forget! I wonder if we can get them to do an encore in San Antonio this year?!

Aside from my fond memories, there are a few strong pillars that I believe define SoACE:

Strength – SoACE is solid! We are strong in our membership and our contributions to the field…too many to name!

Opportunity –We provide our membership with every opportunity to network, learn, and lead. If you have served our association, THANK YOU! If you haven’t yet engaged, I highly encourage you to do so. There are countless ways you can contribute, so contact a board member to learn more.

Action – Take the initiative and share your thoughts and ideas. Many of the incredible initiatives, services and programs that are part of SoACE originated because a member spoke up and shared their thoughts…we want to hear your voice!

Connections – Reach out to others and benefit from the tremendously diverse talent that comprises our membership. Ask questions, find common grounds, challenge each other, and learn along the way!

Energy – Contribute to and feed off of the high voltage energy that defines SoACE. As our association continues to expand, I am excited to see all of the great things we will realize over the next 10 years!

I hope that our paths will cross again soon, and I definitely look forward to welcoming y’all back to San Antonio, Texas in December for our 10th anniversary SoACE conference!


Reflections from our 9th President – Wayne Hampton

I have enjoyed reading the reflections of each of our past few presidents of SoACE, and know that we are so fortunate to have had such amazing individuals leading this organization for the past 10 years!  I am truly humbled to be in their company.  The work that they started, continued, and championed, is the reason why our organization is as strong as it is today.

As I write this, coincidentally, it is my last day on the Board as I move out of the Past President role.  I still remember when I was approached to represent my current home state of Tennessee in the “state showcase” for breakout sessions at that year’s annual conference.  Little did I know that this would eventually lead to helping with the conferences in Nashville, Savannah, and St. Petersburg, and then two opportunities to serve on the Board!

The Board in Fort Lauderdale

Being a part of SoACE has given me the opportunity to develop leadership skills (well, at least I hope I developed these skills – the Board members I served with may disagree!).  It has also reminded me why we do the things we do.  Our motto this past year in Disney Campus Recruitment has been “We Change Lives” and being part of SoACE has allowed all of us to do that.  SoACE is filled with dedicated, passionate, smart people whose number one goal is to employ students.  After all, isn’t that the main reason most students are attending college?

From the variety (and evolution) of Knowledge Groups, to recently hosting our third successful Employer Relations Summit, to fantastic webinars, to raising the bar year after year with our annual conference, we have the opportunity through SoACE to develop our skills in ways that not only benefit our colleges, universities, and organizations, but benefit the students we serve as well.  I know that I am better in my role because of having been a part of SoACE.

I appreciate all of the visionaries who have served before and with me, who have created an organization that, in my opinion, is second to none.  When I first moved into the role of SoACE President, I told the Board at the time that my one goal was not to mess things up. 🙂  I am glad that I was successful in that one endeavor.

For those of you who have been involved over the years in any capacity – thank you for your service!  For those who have been thinking about it – I encourage you to find a way to get involved.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t recognize and thank our partners at cmcglobal, our association management firm, whose guidance has also helped us to become a strong organization.

I am excited about another year of SoACE and look forward to seeing many of you in San Antonio!


Exciting Change to SoACE Knowledge Groups

Hello SoACE Members!

It’s hard to believe that it’s nearing the halfway mark of the summer; pretty soon students will be back and things will kick off into high gear.  We are writing today to let you know about an exciting adjustment to the Knowledge Groups!

After much discussion, research and board involvement, we are excited to announce that the Two Year KG is now the “Small Colleges and Universities KG”.  This KG is aimed towards members working for institutions of higher education whose enrollment is less than 6500 students.

This group of colleges includes 35% of our college members and we know that there are certainly common issues, themes, successes and challenges among the smaller schools.  We wanted to provide an avenue for discussions around this issues to occur.  We are hoping this will increase participation in more than one KG (i.e. – Career Advisors may counsel at a small school and thus may want to participate in both KGs).

This adjustment will increase the opportunities for cross-development for members by offering another opportunity to get involved.  For more information about the “Small College and Universities KG” and all of our Knowledge Groups, please click here.

If you are not already a member of one or more KGs, NOW is the time to join!  If you have any questions, please contact one of your KG Directors.

Thank you for your participation in SoACE!

Courtney Edwards
Director – College Knowledge Groups

Erica Lake
Director – Targeted Knowledge Groups