It has been fun and informative to read reflections from those who have served as President of SoACE over the last 10 years. For me, having served as your President in 2016-2017, it has been an honor and privilege to be a part of such an esteemed association and colleagues. Being in SoACE is being a part of a larger family who shares your daily challenges, frustrations and rewards. It’s having colleagues you can reach out to and say, “How did you handle this?” and know all are willing to share whatever information, experiences or suggestions they may have.
Reflecting on the upcoming 10th anniversary of SoACE takes me back even further in time. I have been around for quite a while and remember the decision to merge two organizations to form a new, larger association with a shared vision and passion to serve our career center and employer HR/college relations members. I remember the apprehension of leaving behind an association that existed for over 50 years and itself been through many changes. I needed to learn another new name and acronym. Over the years I have been a part of SCPA (Southern College Placement Association) which I joined in the early 90’s; from there we changed our name to SACE (Southern Association of Colleges and Employers). The name changes were reflective of the path that NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) took over the years.
The first Conference Committee had strong intentions of being inclusive of values and incorporating fun things from each association, so we chose to have dual representatives: one person from each of the previous SWACE and SACE associations. I fondly remember planning meetings held at the Hyatt Regency on the Riverwalk and the lasting friendships that were made. It was a large committee but one that wanted to be sure the first SoACE Conference was one to be remembered and one which would set the tone for the future of the new association. I believe we had close to 700 attendees at that Conference. An amazing Conference, amazing time and many amazing new friends. I still, to this day, reach out to those friends and colleagues for their professional opinions and personal friendships.
So many memories and so many places we have met over these 10 years: exploring Disney, riding the monorail and partying at the Animal Kingdom; dancing at the Opryland Hotel and meeting Dolly (yes, she was an impersonator but it was fun!); deep dive fun at the aquarium in Dallas; dancing on the beach in St. Petersburg; another Riverwalk but in Savannah; SnowACE in Chantilly, Virginia; bats in Austin and cruising on a yacht in Ft. Lauderdale. What a 10 years we have had! I can only hope that as we begin our next 10 years we will continue to grow and develop lasting relationships—both professional and personal. I’m looking forward to seeing you all in San Antonio – renewing friendships and making new friends. See you all soon!
Mary Mahoney, SoACE Past-President 2017-2018