Letter from the President – Ray Rogers

Innovation & Value – Looking Forward to Our Second Decade

In 2007 I was still living and working in Florida.  Although I had been working in career services for many years, I had only been casually engaged with SACE.  The conferences were fun and provided me with a great network of colleagues in the career development and college recruiting world, but I had stopped attending SACE conferences in order to try out other professional associations that also aligned with my work and professional development needs.  I struggled to find an organization that was taking an honest look at the future of the profession, addressing the emerging issues of the day while intentionally shaping who we were becoming.

Then came the announcement that SWACE and SACE merger had happened and the 2007 San Antonio conference was to be the official kick off of this new organization.  I remember the excitement of that first conference, caught up in the energy this large group of southerners generated during the opening reception. With well over 500 attendees, we pretty much took over the Hyatt Regency that year.  Plus, we were back in my home state of Texas!  I certainly felt right at home.

The new, and not so new, organization really spoke to me, bringing all the right elements together.  It was right-sized and focused on all the areas of the field that were important to me.  SoACE sincerely wanted to support our state associations while providing excellent formal and informal ways of networking across the region. I remember feeling very energized when leaving those early SoACE conferences.  More and more, the content addressed new trends that were emerging and explored innovative ways of connecting our work to student/alum success.  It seemed to be a future-facing organization, primed to make a real difference in shaping the profession.

SoACE was then and continues to be a strong and influential regional association.  Our membership continues to grow, our pool of leaders is expansive, and our financial standing is strong.  I am proud of the work of our KG’s, our amazing conferences, our consulting programs and scholarships, and our many webinars and professional development opportunities offered throughout the year.  The theme of my SoACE experience these past ten years could well be summed up in just a couple of words, innovation and value.

Bringing the conference back to San Antonio for our 10-year anniversary seems fitting in many ways.  Thanks to the numerous talented and generous individuals who contributed to what our association has become.  2017 seems like an appropriate time to stop, reflect and congratulate ourselves on all that has been achieved.  And, for me, it is also a commitment that we will keep moving forward.

I look forward to seeing you all in San Antonio next month.

Ray Rogers
2017-18 SoACE President
St. Edward’s University

Letter from the President – Ray Rogers

Our 10-year anniversary event in December will be quite a milestone; looking back from where we have come since that time and what the future may hold.  We return to the place of our very first conference in 2007, the beautiful Riverwalk in San Antonio. Fittingly, Building Bridges to Opportunities is the theme for this special conference year and precisely captures the essence of our association’s mission. The Conference Committee is busy putting together what I believe will be one of the best SoACE conferences yet. From our keynote speakers, to some unique innovations in educational and networking sessions, you are definitely going to notice we stepped it up this year.  And, if you thought last year’s Tuesday night celebration was exciting, just wait until you see what we have in store this year.  Conference registration is now open and hotel rooms are filling up quickly.  I encourage you to make plans now to attend.

I also wanted to announce some changes within the SoACE board leadership.  Two board directors stepped down earlier this summer resulting from changes in their work roles.  Jamie Gaertner has moved to a new role with Enterprise that would also keep her from fulfilling her role as Director – Diversity and inclusion, and Alicia Jackson left Oklahoma State last month, starting a new position outside of the field that will keep her from being able to complete her role as Director – Membership Development and Retention.  We are extremely appreciative of the time and talent Jamie and Alicia have given to SoACE and will certainly miss them.  I am happy to announce that Kelvin Rutledge, from the University of Georgia, has agreed to step in as Director – Diversity and Inclusion, and Elizabeth Boggs, from Stetson University, will be serving as the Director – Membership Development and Retention.  We are excited to have them on the leadership team.

For many of us, the beginning of the 2017-18 school year will be remembered by hurricanes.  Both Harvey and Irma hit hard within the SoACE footprint.  From first-hand experience from my many years of living in both Florida and Texas, I know how deep the impact of these storms can be, and the toll they can take on our personal and work lives.  My most sincere hope that everyone is safe, housed, and dry.  Here’s to a hurricane-free remainder of the season.

Raymond Rogers
2017-2018 SoACE President
St. Edward’s University
Career & Professional Development


Letter from the President – Mary Mahoney

Mary with husband, Ken, at Neyland Stadium

Hi Everyone!

I hope you are having a good summer. Each year I look forward to summer getting here thinking it will be calmer and I can catch up on all those things I have been putting off or saving for “summer projects”.  Then June comes with freshman orientation sessions which everyone in our office now participates in and people are taking vacations and there is the NACE Conference, the Employer Relations Summit and before you know it fall has arrived and it is time to start all over again. When did our lives get so busy?!

I feel like I just started as your SoACE President but in reality my term is coming to an end on June 30. At that time I move into the Past President role serving for one more year overseeing Awards and Nominations. I have enjoyed serving as your President. We have an amazing organization that truly cares about its members. Everyone at some point should have the opportunity to sit in on a Board meeting as we debate, discuss, analyze and decide what is best for the members and the organization as a whole. We really can get intense sometimes as we try to make decisions that are best for the overall association and are fiscally sound. I am honored that I was a part of the Board. I appreciate all the hard work that our Board, Conference Committee and members who volunteer their time on various committees do to make the SoACE organization strong. Individuals from other associations have often commented on how friendly and welcoming SoACE is. It truly is our southern hospitality, and you the members, that makes SoACE special.

It is exciting that we will celebrate our 10th year as SoACE this December 10-13 in San Antonio, Texas. I was there for the first SoACE Conference in San Antonio, and it was a wonderful experience to see the blending of two organizations come together to create SoACE. SWACE and SACE were both good organizations, but together we became even better and stronger. I hope you plan to be a part of SoACE for many more years to come. Dust off your boots and cowboy hat and get ready to boogie or do whatever they are planning for us. I know Stephanie Saunders Bird (yes she got married!) and her Conference Committee are working hard to have a memorable Conference for everyone.

Thank you for being a part of this great association! I have enjoyed meeting many of you throughout the year and look forward to continuing those relationships. Have a wonderful summer and take some time for yourself!

Mary Mahoney
2016-2017 SoACE President
The University of Tennessee
Center for Career Development