The 2022 NACE Conference was held in Portland, Oregon this year. This was our first in-person conference since 2019 and there was a lot of excited and anxious people in attendance. Safety protocols were taken to keep us safe, but you can never truly feel safe with over 1,700 people in attendance.
I have been a member of NACE for the past 15 years and have continued to look for ways to expand my role within the organization. I have served in multiple roles which have allowed me to grow a network with professionals across the world.
I am currently finishing up my role as a Co-Chair for the Mentorship Enhancement Task Force. I received a phone call from the incoming NACE President in July 2021 to talk about the task force and the importance he placed on mentorship. He asked me to Co-Chair this critical task force and work to revamp the program and increase awareness/participation for NACE members.
Fast forward to the NACE conference in Portland and my task force was provided a session to discuss the work we have been doing for the past 12 months and highlight the improvements we recommend to the Board of Directors.
I have attended past NACE conferences in Anaheim, Chicago, New Orleans, Dallas, and Orlando but this was my first opportunity to present to my colleagues. We were given a prime slot on the second day of the conference to present our work and recruit new mentors into the program.
My Co-Chair who is based out of St. Louis, Missouri and I spent multiple Microsoft Teams virtual sessions going over the presentation format, slides, and flow. We decided to give a big overview of the program changes and then jump into a panel discussion with current NACE mentors and mentees to get their perspective on the impact of mentoring for each of them.
We soon discovered the NACE conference committee booked our session in the LARGEST room at the event. We had no preconceived perspective on how many people would attend our session, but we did not imagine we could fill every seat in this large space. NOTE—we did not get close to filling all seats. 😊
No worries! We had a very good crowd, and the folks were able to get a more personal touch from my co-chair and I. These folks were able to ask the panelist questions and we had on the spot sign-ups for new mentors and mentees.
We shared the work of the task force and identified our strategies and marketing plans to create a world class mentoring program.
The new program will have 3 mentoring layers:
- 1 on 1 mentoring (traditional)
- Reverse mentoring (new)
- Mentoring Circles (new)
Mentoring research identifies Reverse mentoring and Mentoring Circles are unique ways to increase mentoring awareness and participation. We discussed the benefits of each mentoring model and introduced the software we recommended to match mentors with mentees. The current matching process is manual and does not consider the demographics of the mentor or mentee. This software matching process was a big hit with the NACE board and folks in attendance during our session.
The marketing plan will utilize all social media platforms and the NACE website to promote the changes and encourage NACE members to join the program.
I was excited to see the NACE President, David Ong in attendance during our session. This was his pet project for the year, and he was extremely happy with our progress and excited to roll out the new program to the general membership.
David gave us a by-name shoutout during the general session late that day to thank us for the work we put in over the year. This was the highlight of the conference for me and got more members wanting to discuss the mentoring program and to sign up. I walked around with sign-up sheets for the rest of the conference and got many mentors and mentees signed up.
My official Co-Chair role ends on 7/15/2022 but we still must complete one more project before our term ends. I have decided to take a year off from serving on another NACE committee or task force. This was my second national commitment to the career field in the past two years—time to take a small break and concentrate on my local duties.
I plan to get back into the national work of our career field in 2023 by either serving on another committee/task force or taking a larger step up to become a NACE Board Member. This would provide me with additional leverage within the career field as we set policy to keep us relevant.
Yes, I’m still dreaming big! 😊
My 2023 conference travel plans will be less than this year. The 2023 conference will be held in Lake Buena Vista (Disney World) so I do not have to endure another 7 hours of traveling. My travel time over to Disney World will be just over an hour and I don’t have to worry about flight layovers in Salt Lake City or Minneapolis.
Look forward to getting the band back together next year.