Failure… It’s Not Fatal

by Dia Buchanan, Recruitment Coordinator, Belmont University

As the Spring semester begins, we begin to reflect on this past semester and set goals for the New Year. I encourage you to reflect on lessons learned from 2017, particularly your failures.

As a child, I adored the film The Wiz. The 1978 rendition of the Wizard of Oz is a story about four strangers-turned friends and their journey of seeking character traits which they unknowingly already possess. I used to watch this movie multiple times each day almost every day. My favorite scene was when Dorothy and the Scarecrow searched to find the yellow brick road. As the music and dancing began, I would pretend I was Dorothy and I would force my Nana to act like the Scarecrow and carry me on her back down the yellow brick road-also known as the hallway between our kitchen and living room. It was not until I was an adult that I recognized the principles and teachable moments that were evident throughout the movie. Each character’s journey illustrates a life lesson that captures the spirit of service, courage, and celebration.

My personal experiences relate mostly to the Cowardly Lion because he is able to put aside his own fears to help his friends. In The Wiz, the song, Be a Lion is sung by Diana Ross and Ted Ross. The lyrics recite the following:

If on courage you must call,
Then keep on tryin’ and tryin’ and tryin’,
You’re a lion.
In your own way, be a lion.

Keep on Tryin’.

These lyrics, along with the essence of the Cowardly Lion’s character, relate directly to the experiences of failure. When we are faced with obstacles, challenges, and failures, we have to keep on tryin’ and face them head on, as each new day brings new opportunities. The “tomorrow” of our career paths has finally offer us a golden opportunity. Although we have encountered obstacles in getting ‘here’, the journey has made us who we are as professionals. Have a courageous spirit, and never give up. Do not be discouraged by your failures, look at them as learning opportunities.

We are not connected by atoms, we are connected by our stories.

From my experiences, I learned that when things go wrong, we cannot go with them. Delays should never be seen as denials. My experiences of trial, tribulation, and failure within my personal career path relate directly to my passion for encouraging young people in their career development plans. We will all fail at some point in our lives, but when we share our stories, we help others achieve.

Embrace growth and foster growth within others.

Facing setback allows failure to become an opportunity for personal strength and character building. By being honest and sharing our stories, we inspire others to focus on the process of achieving their professional goals and the positive lessons taught in every situation they may encounter along the way. Courage is recognizing the small wins and the continuation of pursuing the big ones.

Talk It Over:

What small wins did you and your team accomplish in 2017?
What challenges have you learned from?
How will you share your story and help others achieve?

Happy Reflection and Goal Setting! Remember, you don’t have to wait until your summer retreat, one-on-ones, or the new year to set new goals. Reflect and renew on today.


Dia Buchanan enjoys employer engagement and fostering collaborative relationships among employers, university representatives and students. She has 5 years of experience, exclusively focused in higher education administration with an emphasis on recruitment and relationship building. Her work has encompassed many aspects of student development, ranging from college admissions counseling to job search and career exploration advising. This experience has been obtained through undergraduate admissions and career services. Dia currently serves as Recruitment Coordinator in the Office of Career & Professional Development at Belmont University.

Dia holds a M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration and a B.S. in Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University. Her credentials include Global Career Development Facilitation and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Certification. 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.

SoACE Kudos: December 2017 Edition

Communications & Marketing Team, SoACE

Thank you to everyone who served on the 2017 SoACE Communications & Marketing Team: Heather Scarboro, Rachel Wages, Golden Madume, Adbullah Kader, Michelle Passo, Karen Ivy, Samantha Meyer, Richard Combs, Grant Haver, Jessica Long, Kristy Cunningham, and Mary Beth Browder! I appreciate all of the extra time you took away from your busy days to make our association look good. I look forward to working with returning members in the year ahead!

Conference Committee, SoACE

What a great 10th Anniversary Conference for SoACE! The planning committee, board, and all presenters did an amazing job! I am already looking forward to next year in Atlanta!

Kudos to the conference committee for an outstanding time in San Antonio!

KG Leaders, SoACE

Thank you to all of the KG leaders who put in countless hours and tireless days for the conference planning and beyond. Your leadership is appreciated more than you know! You are all great examples of servant ship for our organization!

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Career Services Team

Congratulations to the Embry-Riddle Career Services Team for yet another phenomenal Industry/Career Expo! Thank you for putting in the hard work and dedication that goes into making the event a success time and time again.

LSU Olinde Career Center Team

A banner fall and exciting spring! Thanks for all of your hard work.

UNC University Career Services

I am proud to work with each and every one of you!

Alex Anderson, Southwestern University & Ashley Motley, Kansas State University

Thanks to Alex Anderson at Southwestern and Ashley Motley at KSU who volunteered several hours this semester serving on the SoACE Technology Task Force. Your expertise and enthusiasm enabled our team to make informed decisions and complete our work ahead of schedule. You rock!

Stacy Ballinger, Florida Gulf Coast University

Stacy met with me at the 2016 SoACE Conference as part of the Consulting sessions offered at the Conference. She provided guidance that changed my career path and my life. I appreciated her honesty and insight!

Katie Beach, Virginia Tech Career and Professional Development

Thank you, Katie Beach, for taking a great idea and making it happen with your Writing on the Stalls newsletter! Each issue has been so creative and informative for students, staff and employers. Nice work!

Stephanie Bird, UNC-Charlotte

Congratulations on a successful, fun, and informative conference! Your leadership made it happen. Thank you for all of the extra hours you put in to make the event so special. 2017 will be a year that members talk about for a long time to come!

Kaleigh Cotten, LSU Olinde Career Center

Congrats on launching the job shadowing program! Way to geaux!!!

Kathy Creel, Middle Tennessee State University

Kathy is a rockstar! Her student continuously rave about how much she supports them through their career development. She goes above and beyond and places high importance on developing collaborative relationships that benefit students. We are thankful for her at MTSU!

Andrea De La Cruz, Florida International University

Thanks to Andrea for supporting the Communications & Marketing team by taking photos at the SoACE Conference. It was greatly appreciated!

Allison Gardner, Northeastern State University

Allison and I have recently been working to launch a brand new internship program and while both of us were a bit overwhelmed in the beginning she has definitely stepped up and taken the lead. She has provided wonderful direction and a true leader and reliable coworker to have on the Career Services Team here. I can always count on her to check in with me and provide a source of encouragement as we are on separate campuses. Allison definitely deserves some Kudos!

Lisa Marie Gonzales-Hatfield, University of Houston-Downtown Career Development Center

Lisa is always willing to go the extra mile for her students. She is also a great motivator at work, serving as our #1 office cheerleader!

Vicki Hamby, University of South Carolina

Kudos for all you have done this semester for your staff. Your dedication and support is much appreciated!

Megan Hollis, Florida State University

Kudos to Megan Hollis and Matina Wagner for putting on an exceptional Drive-In Conference for FloridaACE at Florida State University. It was a pleasure to visit your beautiful campus and impressive career center!*

Kathy Jordan and Jenean Meadows, Virginia Tech Career and Professional Development

Thanks to Kathy Jordan and Jenean Meadows for their work to launch a new program for part-time co-op/intern positions. Excited to watch this new initiative grow!

Laura Kalb, Trinity University

Laura not helped organize two pre-conference sessions for the SoACE conference in San Antonio, but she has also proven to be a rock-star in her regular contributions to the Technology KG and Trinity University as a whole.

Kathy Knapp, University of Houston-Downtown Career Development Center

Kathy is a great collaborator. I appreciate her enthusiasm and willingness to creatively tackle group projects. Thanks, Kathy!

Hon Lam, University of Texas – Austin

Congratulations to Hon for winning the Twitter social media contest and for supporting SoACE through our social media channels year-round. Keep up the great work!

Patrick Madsen, UNC Charlotte Career Center

Patrick is such an amazing leader in career services. We are so blessed to have him as our director here at UNC Charlotte!

Danny Pape, University of Tennessee

Danny took on the role of Associate Director for Employer Development in July, and he has done a great job! His hard work and vision are allowing us to connect with more employers and create opportunities for students. Thanks for leading our employer relations effort, Danny!

Michelle Passo, University of Texas – San Antonio

I cannot say enough great things about Michelle! She took on the conference exhibitor video as well as the videography project at the conference. She came up with a smart plan and implemented it during the event, putting in extra hours with the help of Ben Klinkenberg, a student from Trinity University. I am excited to see the final product when they are done with it. I have no doubt it will be outstanding!

Julie Pendergraph, UNC University Career Services

You never cease to amaze us with your adaptability and institutional memory!

Ashley Pinney, Elon University

Ashley has been an absolute joy to work with. She is full of energy and always has creative ideas. She builds relationships with others so easily and connects with employers so well. She has been a true asset to Elon.

Heather Scarboro, Florida State University

Heather Scarboro did a phenomenal job leading social media efforts during the 2017 Conference. She anticipated our needs, was on point with messaging, and made it a priority to communicate timely information to those “watching from home” as well as to those attending the event. She is absolutely wonderful to work with and we are grateful to have her leading social media efforts for SoACE moving into 2018!

Alex Smith, St. Edwards University

Alex has single-highhandedly developed an outstanding Pre-Law Advising Program at St. Edwards University. Along with creating curriculum for a first ever Career Services-hosted pre-law course, he is constantly collaborating with law schools to have them recruit our students by hosting information sessions or participate in panels. In addition, he researches several recruitment opportunities for students to conduct law school tours, in which he himself drives large groups of students to. This is his 2nd year as a career counselor and Pre-Law advisor and he has really helped put the program and office on the map!

Emmanuela Stanislaus, Florida International University

For her dedication and time to bring up the professional level at SoACE.

Tara Stevenson, Flagler College

Congratulations to Tara Stevenson for all of her hard work to upgrade FloridaACE’s MemberClicks system! It was a lot to take on with everything else she had on your plate but she did an outstanding job. Thank you, Tara!

Stephanie Stuckey, University of South Carolina

Stephanie has been our Employer Relations Team ROCK this semester. She has been a steadfast team leader over the past two years. She has gone above and beyond, and then some,caring for her team here at Carolina. Her implementation of our Partnership Program will be instrumental in helping ensure that our Gamecocks get excellent career opportunities.

Heidi Thuesen, Virginia Tech Career and Professional Development

Congratulations to Heidi Thuesen for a successful networking event for Veterans. We appreciate the time and effort you have put into special programming for Veterans at Virginia Tech this year.

Rachel Wages, UNC – Charlotte

I cannot say enough great things about Rachel and the amazing job she did with conference communications this year! The newsletter was a great idea that we will continue moving forward. Rachel is responsive, innovative, and extremely talented. We are lucky to have her serving as our Conference Marketing Liaison!

Brent Winner, Robinson Career Advancement Center

Brent is a rock star on our team! He consistently goes above and beyond to make sure our department is running efficiently and effectively. He is always willing to step in to help solve an issue or to simply fill in where there is a need. He is an invaluable member of our team due to the care and commitment he shows for our employer, students and team!

Top 10 Things to Expect at the SoACE Conference

Are you excited for the upcoming conference?  I don’t know about you but I sure am.  Last year, we had a great time in Fort Lauderdale.  This year, we will be celebrating the 10 year anniversary of SoACE.  We’re returning to the city where it all began…San Antonio!  Here are 10 things to expect at this year’s conference.

  1. Lots of Networking – SoACE is a great opportunity to meet new colleagues and reconnect with old ones.  Bring lots of business cards and be open to making new friends.
  2. Great programs – We have tons of amazing breakout sessions planned for attendees this year.  This is a great way to learn about best practices within our field and apply them to our offices.  Be sure to check out the listing ahead of time to decide which sessions you’d like to attend.
  3. Fun – In addition to all of the professional development opportunities, SoACE is a lot of fun.  Our members love what they do and have fun doing it.
  4. Opportunities to be active – Make sure you pack your exercise gear!  There are a number of activities planned to keep you active during the conference.  Participate in the low impact aerobics on Monday morning and/or the fun run along the Riverwalk on Tuesday morning.  If organized activities aren’t your thing, the conference hotel has a great gym that’s open 24/7 with free weights, cardio machines, and indoor/outdoor pool (pool is open from 6:30am-11pm).
  5. Volunteer – You have several ways to help out with the conference.  You can serve as a room host, assist with guiding individuals to the Tuesday night reception, and/or collect tickets at the start of various conference events.  If you are interested in serving as a room host, contact Andrew Harper at  To assist in the other capacities, contact Emmanuela Stanislaus at
  6. Chance to give back (through philanthropic initiative) – Each year, we attempt to connect with a local organization in our conference host city to help with their efforts.  This year, we have partnered with The DoSeum which is a premiere children’s museum with engaging STEM-based exhibits that inspire active learning through inquiry and play.  Their work relates with what we do in career services as they try to meet the challenges of the 21st century workforce to meet the need of more STEM professionals.  Please consider donating to this organization by clicking here.
  7. Great exhibitors – We have some great exhibitors as a part of the conference this year.  Make sure you stop by the exhibitor booths to learn more about their services and how they can make your operations more efficient.  Be sure to also tell them “thanks”.  Exhibitors help keep the conference costs lowered, so our offices can have affordable access to this annual conference.
  8. A great city to explore – San Antonio in December is such a magical experience.  Take in the beauty of the holiday lights along the Riverwalk during this time or partake in other local attractions.
  9. President’s Reception – Join us for a “Denim and Diamonds” themed reception on Sunday night.  This is a fun event to welcome you to the city of San Antonio.  Please note that the western attire is optional.
  10. Tuesday Evening Event – Get ready for an unforgettable Tuesday night event at La Villita.  We will be highlighting the vibrant San Antonio culture with the “Night in Old San Antonio” theme.  Additionally, The Spazmatics  will be our featured band to provide us entertainment for the evening.  We’re calling this an 80s Fiesta.  Bring your energy for this fun filled night.

What are you excited the most about?  Looking forward to seeing everyone in San Antonio!