2018 SoACE Employer Relations Summit

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‘The third time is a charm’ … and the fourth? … Well, you will have to see for yourself! The fourth annual SoACE Employer Relations Summit will be held Wednesday, June 20 – Friday, June 22. There are so many great reasons you should attend. We have listed the top 3 here.


Being in a new space can spark innovation and encourage us to think outside the box to grow the services we offer. This year the event will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Charlotte is where I have wanted to be since I was little and where I have called home for the past 10 ½ years. The Queen City is constantly growing and something for everyone and plenty to explore. It is such a welcoming and diverse city where you will most certainly never be bored. We may be the biggest city in the state, but still know the value of good, old-fashioned Southern hospitality!

Carrie Gray, Red Ventures
Employer, 2018 Summit Committee Member



During the Summit, you will be able to form new relationships and strengthen existing ones. With the narrowed topic of ‘Employer Relations’, you are able to regain focus through connection with colleagues.  Individuals from varying degrees, backgrounds and years of experience will attend this event. Our schedule allows you to share space with peers and make new connections. You may even find your next mentor, mentee or future boss!

Last June a few of my colleagues attended the SoACE Employer Relations Summit. Upon their arrival back to the office, I saw each face energized, as they shared all the knowledge and great takeaways they learned from the conference. I, however, was attending a separate conference and was not able to attend last year’s sessions. Nevertheless, motivated by the words and testimonials of my coworkers I decided that this year, in 2018 I would attend my first Employer Relations summit.

I’m excited to be a first-time attendee and learn from my professional peers about best practices within Career Services, especially how to develop stronger employer relations on college campuses. It is always invigorating attending sessions, networking with colleagues and just having an overall great time.

As a member of NACE, SoACE, and FloridaACE I’ve had the liberty of attending all conferences and by far have loved SoACE & FloridaACE. So I am really looking forward to the SoACE Employer Relations summit in Charlotte, NC.

Carmen Carter, First Time Attendee, 2018 Summit Committee Member
Florida International University


Learn and sharpen your skills within Employer Relations. The Summit offers unique learning opportunities for representatives from institutions of all organization and size.

Breakout sessions and networking roundtables will center on our theme ‘Invest. Accelerate. Drive.’ Topics will relate to Best Practices; Technology and Data Analytics; and Partnerships: Student, Faculty, Alumni. The sessions will offer an in-depth exploration of key topics. Attendees are encouraged to actively participate through group work, development of plans, or other relevant tangible takeaways. Roundtables allow participants to dip quickly into topics in an open environment for idea sharing, bench marking and guided discussion. Have an idea or topic you’d like to share? The call for proposals is currently open. Submit your ideas today.

The SoACE ER Summit is a great opportunity to network with and learn from employer relations professionals. The 2017 Summit in Nashville was extremely helpful! I took away unique programming ideas and employer development strategies that I have since implemented on my own campus and that have helped to enhance and streamline our offerings and processes.

Jill Boatright, 2017 Summit Chair
Loyola University New Orleans

Our keynote speaker for the event will be Raven Solomon. Her speaking style is moving, provoking, amusing, and inspiring!  The Charlotte, NC native defied the odds, overcoming poverty, bullying, battles with anxiety and devastating loss to become Valedictorian of NC State University and later a corporate executive at Frito Lay.  It’s in those moments of tragedy, triumph and loss that her character was shaped & her tenacity was fueled which ultimately led her to establish an inspirational platform as a speaker and corporate coach. Raven is very excited to partner with SoACE and deliver a message of motivation and empowerment that spurs action that drives results!

Invest in yourself and drive (or fly) to the SoACE ER Summit 2018. We look forward to seeing you in Charlotte! Questions? Reach out to the Summit Committee Co-Chairs Bethany Ferrall or Dia Buchanan.


Dia Buchanan is the Recruitment Coordinator in the Office of Career & Professional Development at Belmont University. She presently serves within SoACE as co-chair of the Employer Relations Summit and Assistant Program Coordinator of Tweet Chats and Social Media for the Employer Relations Knowledge Group (ERKG). Connect with her on LinkedIn for collaboration.


Member Spotlight: Kelvin Rutledge

Kelvin Rutledge is currently the Director of Experiential Programs for the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at The University of Georgia and a third-year Ph.D. student in the higher education program at Florida State University. As an avid lemonade drinker and TGIT live tweeter, Kelvin enjoys finding the sweet intersections of life through interaction, conversations, and dialogue and seeks to find opportunities where career services and social justice intersect. Kelvin ultimately aspires to be a change agent in higher education and contribute to the field of student affairs through scholarship and research. Find him on Twitter @MrAbsoluteZero.

How did you get into the Career Services profession?

I started my career in the career services profession by becoming a Graduate Assistant in the FSU Career Center while enrolled in my masters program. I was fortunate to have an assistantship that allowed me to do career advising, experiential learning, employer relations, assessment, and student outreach and engagement.

Describe your SoACE Experience. How did you get involved, what do you do for SoACE, and how has that experience influenced your day-to-day work?

My SoACE experience has always been meaningful and beneficial. I first engaged with SoACE when I decided to submit a program proposal for the 2013 annual conference and it was accepted. From there, I was able to present, join the Diversity and Inclusion committee, and become a member of knowledge groups. From my volunteer activities, I was able to facilitate programs and presentations, engage at the annual conference, and widen my professional network. Most recently, I was able to step in and finish out a term as the Director of Diversity & Inclusion. I would say the biggest thread running through my SoACE experience has been the willingness to find a meaningful fit for me within the association and finding ways to leverage it. Due to that, I’ve been able to maximize the value of membership.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

I recently attended the ACPA—College Student Educators International Mid-Mangers Institute.  A faculty member shared with me the following piece of advice: “Trust your brilliance because it’s lighting a candle you are afraid to lead with at the moment.”

What is your favorite quote?

“The place in which I’ll fit will not exist until I make it. …You have to decide who you are and force the world to deal with you, not with its idea of you.” ~James Baldwin

What has been your greatest accomplishment to date?

My greatest accomplishment to date has been being selected to be the Career Development & Advancement Chair for the 2019 ACPA Annual Convention. With this role, I will help lead and cultivate an experience where professionals critically reflect and engage in how we discuss and forecast the future of career advancement for higher education professionals. I’m excited to incorporate the association’s strategic imperative on racial justice and decolonization into how the future of this work can and should be facilitated across identities, institutions, and the profession as a whole.

What is the secret of your career success?

A good portion of my career success has been rooted in the idea of utilizing an interdisciplinary perspective in how I approach the work of career services and higher education. While yes, I do think it it is important to ground our professional practice and the practices and standards of organizations like NACE and NCDA, I think it is also important to incorporate additional frameworks. My professional practice is informed by works and perspectives featured in queer theory, post-colonial feminism, and critical race theory. Because of these lenses, I think differently about how I see myself engaging in the work and bring a voice not necessarily featured in most spaces. I think career success can occur when you are able to challenge the current ideology, systems, and institutions and re-frame them to produce new ways of thinking and innovation.