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.


Top Reasons to Renew Your SoACE Membership

Post by: Amanda L. Walker, Director of Career Services at Austin Peay State University

The Southern Association of Colleges and Employers, Inc. (SoACE) is an organization of human resources, college relations and career service professionals. Our mission is to promote partnerships between career services professionals and employers by providing innovative resources, professional development and networking opportunities to facilitate the career development and employment of students and alumni. SoACE is organized exclusively to create a common understanding between individuals in career services and college relations focused on the career development and employment of the college educated to:

  • Promote and foster relationships among the constituents
  • Serve as the voice of the profession for the southern region of the United States
  • Create and retain leaders in the profession by facilitating the exchange of knowledge and insight
  • Provide professional development and promote high professional standards
  • Identify trends, issues, challenges, and opportunities in the profession.

*(SoACE Website, 2015)


  1. RESOURCES: Did you know that SoACE offers monthly newsletters? SoACE keeps the membership up to date on policies, events, programming, national trending data, as well as, recognizing outstanding members. In addition, SoACE provides webinars throughout the year to spotlight topics that can help employers and career practitioners learn more on effective recruiting, career advising, and branding. SoACE also partners with our 16 state professional associations of colleges and employers to share specific statewide events, programming, and news. We support our members by sharing and providing information from all employer and career support networks!
  2. SUPPORTS ITS MEMBER’S RESEARCH INITIATIVES: SoACE offers research fellowship awards to members wishing to conduct research in the field (through an application and proposal process). In addition to supporting prospective research projects, SoACE creates an environment that is conducive to presenting and sharing research with its membership at its annual conferences. What other organization would offer to pay for your research and then provide you with a venue to explain it?! This is another example of why SoACE is a great organization. soacekglogo
  3. KNOWLEDGE GROUPS: We all have challenges that we face in our day to day roles in recruitment, management, or career advising. The Knowledge Groups were designed as a way to share current challenges, best practices, and a forum for discussion of national, regional, and university trends related to employment and career education. SoACE has 8 different Knowledge Group areas focusing on different content areas of our profession. Talk about a professional support group…and the best part is it’s included in the membership fee!
  4. OUR COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION: The Southern Association of College and Employers is committed to attaining a pluralistic, diverse membership and providing access to all programs and resources to individuals regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, veteran status, disability or appearance. SoACE encourages the recruitment and professional development of individuals from all groups by continually developing, examining, and instituting policies, practices and procedures. In 2013, began and established an award to annually recognize an individual and a group/organization that has demonstrated a sustained commitment to the pursuit of diversity and inclusion in the community and workplace., We are an organizations that is committed to diversity and inclusion and we not only talk the talk but we walk the walk!
  5. CONTINUING EDUCATION: SoACE offers continuing education for participation in workshops and training sessions during the annual conference. SoACE is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEPTM) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events (or programs) that meet NBCC requirements. Sessions (or programs) for which NBCC-approved clock hours will be awarded are identified in the program bulletin (or in the catalogue or Web site). The ACEP is solely responsible for all aspects of the program. SoACE is also is an HRCI approved Continuing Education Provider and may offer HRCI approved clock hours for events or programs that meet HRCI requirements. We are providing incentives for our members to continue their professional growth while being a member! june15.c1
  6. ANNUAL CONFERENCE: SoACE Annual Conference allows members great benefits such as, Network with career services and college recruiting colleagues, get up-to-date information on trends and issues affecting the profession, learn best practices that you can adapt for your program, benchmark with like organizations and institutions, explore new and emerging technologies, share challenges and solutions with your professional community, and learn about new products and services for the field that can help you cut costs and increase your productivity. Imagine the possibilities for professional growth and networking with individuals that you can request resources from to help aid you in your current position!
  7. OTHER SERVICES TO MEMBERS: SoACE offers several other services such as the job postings boards and consulting services. SoACE wants to help share jobs with the entire membership to help you fill your hiring needs. SoACE also wants to provide members with consulting services if requested. For a nominal fee, SoACE will help you establish a team that fits your needs as an employer or college which will allow for benchmarking in you field. Often, it takes an outsiders prospective to document challenges and opportunities for your employer or college. SoACE External Review Services does exactly that, they help benchmark what other colleges and universities are doing in the field as well as what other employers are doing in the field as well. Regardless if you need to fill a position or make the case for why you need additional team members, SoACE has you covered!

For current members, the renewal for your SoACE membership opens in July! And for those that are considering SoACE think of all the benefits you can receive as a member and most importantly the relationships you can build with colleagues in your field.


Amanda WalkerAmanda Walker serves as the Director of Career Services at Austin Peay State University. She has ten years of higher education experience, with the last seven in Career Services. Amanda has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Masters of Arts in Higher Education/Student Personnel from The University of Mississippi. She is currently in the dissertation phase pursuing a Doctor of Education  degree in Higher Education at Delta State University. Her expertise areas are employer relations and internships. Most recently she served as co-researcher on the National Study of Unpaid Internships in 2014 conducted by Intern Bridge, Inc. Amanda has presented in both regional and national conferences on Internships.

KG Update: Employer Relations Knowledge Group

soacekglogoOur Employer Relations Knowledge Group is on the move…

This year, the SoACE Employer Relations Knowledge Group (ERKG) jumpstarted a year of professional development with a planning session during the annual SoACE conference in New Orleans last December.  We leveraged the ideas from the group as a whole to set goals for the year.  Professional development activities that are planned include in-person activities; social media interaction and virtual webinars.

In February, the SoACE ERKG 2015 hosted its first Tweet Chat on the topic of Employer Relations in Public vs. Private Universities and Colleges.  In April, Courtney Edwards from Louisiana State University & Erica Lake from the University of South Carolina hosted a webinar on Creating an Employer Drive-In Conference.  Over 50 SoACE members registered and 30 logged in to learn best practices about hosting these events for employers.

The next opportunity to connect with other professionals in the Employer Relations Knowledge Group will be on Wed., May 27th, 2015 at 12 pm EST/11 am CST during a Tweet Chat led by Denise Rudolph from James Madison University on the topic Challenges We Face in Employer Relations.  To participate sign on at www.tweetchat.com using your Twitter account information, then join the conversation with #soaceerkg.

We are very excited to see the longtime idea of hosting an event to help employer relations professionals learn and grow come to fruition at the Inaugural Employer Relations Summit that will be held in conjunction with the SoACE Board this June.  The event is an institute-style conference with longer sessions to allow participants to “dive deep” into topics.  Keynote speaker, Myrna Hoover, Director of the Florida State University Career Center will share information from her book Employer Relations and Recruitment: An Essential Part of Postsecondary Career Services.  Additionally, there will be round table topics that allow participants to discuss hot issues in Employer Relations.

We are so excited that the event has been welcomed with so much interest that registration has reached capacity.  We look forward to the learning that will occur at this new event!  Special thanks to the Conference Chair, V’Rhaniku Haynes from Florida State University and former SoACE board Director of Professional Development, Amy Diepenbrock from St. Mary’s University for all of their leadership in making this event a reality for our membership.  Additionally, we also thank Emory University for hosting us on June 24 – 26 in Atlanta, GA!

We are excited about the remainder of the year and are thankful to our Employer Relations Knowledge Group leadership for all of their hard work this year!

Update submitted by Employer Relations Knowledge Group Chair, Erica Lake. Erica is the Associate Director for Employer Relations at the University of South Carolina Career Center.