KACE 2016 Conference Award Recipients


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In case you weren't able to make the conference, we wanted to brag on our members.  The following individuals were honored earlier this month:

KACE16 Award Winners

Back Row (L to R):

David Gaston: Larry Hannah Career Services Director Award 

David is deserving of this award for his constant desire to help his staff learn and grow. He truly cares about each person and wants his staff members to reach their full potential and follow and reach their career aspirations, and he is more than willing to serve as a strong support person along the way to help in any way he can. David has a strong ability to identify strengths within his staff and tailor staff members' roles and responsibilities to capitalize on those strengths, which provides a huge benefit not only to the staff members, but to the office and University as a whole and most importantly to the students of KU.

I truly appreciate his open door policy and ability to help work through any situation no matter how big or small. David also thinks big and is always coming up with new, creative ideas to enhance our services and help our students and expects the same of his staff. I have been given so many amazing opportunities thanks to him, and I am so grateful. I love being able to discuss new ideas with him and see them come to fruition. David is an outstanding director who is definitely deserving of this award, and I am proud to be a member of his team.

Erin Wolfram: Chairperson of the Year

It's hard to begin to put into words the ways that Erin has gone above and beyond. She developed organizational systems, kept the team in line and on board, and ultimately pulled off an awesome conference. She was instrumental in increasing the number of breakout sessions and in coordinating not one but two great keynotes. I personally confided in Erin for feedback/assistance with program selection and coordination. At times, Erin made tough decisions even when they weren't the easy decision. She kept the meetings on track and made it look easy to make constant positive progress. For these reasons and so many more, she is definitely worthy of the Chairperson of the Year.

Gary Handy: Career Services Member of the Year

Gary is extremely deserving of the CSMOY award. From his involvement in various committees including the Conference planning committee, the membership development committee, and serves as the chairperson for the bylaws committee. From his contributions on these committees, to volunteering his garage to make conference table decorations, Gary goes above and beyond, always with a smile on his face.

Dana Nordyke: Outstanding Committee Member

Immediately following the 2015 conference after signing up for the conference committee, Dana emailed me and asked if she could lead the program/speaker sub-committee out of her own interest to get more involved in KACE, a job that is not easy! As the leader of that sub-committee, she played an integral role in securing our Thursday keynote speaker, Joyce Layman, soon after our first meeting. Additionally, she continued to provide great ideas and insight regarding additional keynote options, which helped us secure our Friday speaker as well, which proved to be a challenge! Dana also did a great job brainstorming potential breakout session speakers, agreed to serve as a presenter herself, and organized the schedule of rooms for all speakers.

She served on the conference booklet sub-committee and volunteered to create the event PowerPoint. I could always count on Dana to volunteer to help with any task that needed to be done. She also had the fantastic idea of using Trello to assist the committee and all of the sub-committees in staying organized and help us communicate effectively despite having members all across Kansas and Missouri. This proved to be a huge help throughout the entire planning process.

Dana was an amazing support person for me and was always more than willing to assist me with any issues that arose, brainstorm new ideas, keep me sane, and provide helpful insight whenever needed. Her dedication to KACE is outstanding, and she is definitely deserving of this award. I am so grateful to have met Dana through KACE and am proud to call her a colleague and friend.

Front Row (L to R):

Brandi Wriedt: Technology Award

Brandi has done a phenomenal job of leading the technology team for KACE this year. She kept us on track as a committee during the busiest parts of the semester. I relate this to herding cats. She always has the most positive attitude in motivating us and keeping us on the same page. Also, I have learned a lot about how to run a good, efficient meeting from the way Brandi leads our team. While I know she is running in a lot of directions in her own career services role, she made KACE a priority in so many ways and for this reason she deserves the Technology Award!

Celeste Gruhin: Employer Member of the Year

Celeste brings her positivity and energy to everything she does! She has been an enthusiastic member of KACE, serving as the Employer Relations representative to the board since 2015. Celeste is a great representative for her own employer, UPS, and is also proactive in trying to promote KACE to Kansas City area businesses and to bring additional employers into the organization.

Ashley Kruger: Brad Barackman Bridge Award 

Ashley is deserving of the Brad Barackman Bridge Award for the mentorship program she has developed in Business Career Services. The School of Business Mentorship Program is designed to bring together students and professionals that share common professional interests. This mentoring relationship will enable business students to be better supported as they explore varied career opportunities and assist them as they navigate those early years of professional life. Ashley works hard to recruit students and employers and helps facilitate connections between them through this program. Her mentorship program is a strong example of a program that creates a bridge between employers and career services and provides a great opportunity for KU students to engage in meaningful career development activities.

Rhiannon Racy: Rookie of the Year

Over the past year, Rhiannon has played integral roles in the both the membership development and conference planning committees. This past summer, when another KACE member moved to a new position outside of career services, without hesitation Rhiannon jumped in and took on the leadership role of chair of the membership development committee. Since then she has done a fabulous job communicating and coordinating with several other members to ensure the membership committee is on top of all of their tasks and as effective as possible in providing a welcoming environment for our members.

Additionally, as part of the conference planning committee Rhiannon has led the decorations sub-committee and took on the time consuming and challenging task of creating the conference booklet, all while navigating a position transition at the University Career Center. Rhiannon has been an extremely valuable asset to both of the committees she is on and to KACE as whole in her first year as a professional member, and she is definitely deserving of this award. I truly appreciate all of her commitment and effort, and it does not go without notice!

Meet the Award Recipients


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Congratulations 2015 KACEConferenceAward Winners(1)

Award recipients (L to R): Brandi Wriedt, Carol Guard, Chance Clutter, Mindy Cloninger, Phyllis LaShell.

Not pictured: Katie Sawyer

Rookie of the Year: Brandi Wriedt (Truman State University)

This KACE member joined our organization in 2014 and immediately became actively involved. She volunteered to serve on a committee while attending the 2014 Conference and has worked diligently throughout the year. She is a highly organized and positive individual who jumps in with both feet, and utilizes her Achiever strength to make things happen. You have seen her work over the past year with the Technology Committee’s member spotlights to help us get to know each other better.

Brandi Wriedt, Career Coordinator from Truman State University, is an excellent choice to receive the New Member of the Year Award because of her willingness to get involved right away in KACE and share her talents.

Outstanding Committee Member Award: Carol Guard (Johnson County Community College)

This person’s presence on the 2015 KACE Conference Committee has truly helped make this an exciting conference. Her knowledge of the Kansas City area has allowed her to provide numerous suggestions of fun and interesting site tours and unique entertainment and dining options that are sure to make this conference one of a kind! Most importantly, Carol is 100% accountable and always prepared and organized. The entire committee worked extremely hard, and this member’s KC "insider" information really helped guide the rest of us. Additionally, she has been able to seamlessly handle the conference space and catering needs at JCCC.

Carol Gard, Administrative Assistant – Johnson County Community College, has been definitely been an Outstanding Committee Member of KACE in 2015 and deserves the honor. As one of the multiple nominators stated; Carol, you are amazing!

Chairperson of the Year: Chance Clutter (University of Kansas)

Shortly after the 2014 conference, this member started scheduling site visits for the 2016 conference. Throughout the entire process they were extremely thorough and organized and made sure we explored all of our options (even in the bitter cold) and really weighed the pros and cons of each. We visited at least five hotel/conference sites. He valued all of the committee members' opinions, questions, and concerns and made sure to address them all. With his diligent leadership, we were able to secure a 2016 site by March, despite some challenges along the way and even used charm to secure a fantastic rate for the hotel rooms, conference rooms, and catering--lower than our original quote.

Chance Clutter, Assistant Director- University of Kansas Career Center, is the recipient of the Chairperson of the Year Award for his outstanding work as 2016 site selection committee chairperson.

Larry Hannah Career Services Director Award: Mindy Cloninger (Pittsburg State University)

This person has served as Director of Career Services at her university for over 9 years and provides our staff with astounding support and leadership. She is a strong advocate for the University and additionally serves an active role in the local community, where she currently holds leadership positions with Rotary International, our local Business Education Alliance, the Area Chamber of Commerce, and is a member of the School Board for our Community Schools. She is keenly aware of the importance of community involvement and provides all of her staff with support and encouragement when it comes to professional development.

As Career Counselors, we stress to our students the importance of working in a positive work environment. We have that environment at our University and we are truly one family in the Office of Career Services. We are fortunate to have Mindy Cloninger, has our Director of Career Services at Pittsburg State. She deserves to receive the Larry Hannah Career Services Director of the Year Award.

Employer Member of the Year: Phyllis LaShell  (Workforce Response Coordinator at KANSASWORKS - Dept. of Commerce)

This award goes to a member who is always willing to step up in a variety of ways whenever needed. That includes presenting at KACE conferences when needed and for her monthly updates to the membership about employment trends in Kansas.

This award goes to a member who is always willing to step up in a variety of ways whenever needed. That includes presenting at KACE conferences when needed and for her monthly updates to the membership about employment trends in Kansas. Phyllis LaShell, Workforce Response Coordinator for KANSASWORKS, certainly deserves this recognition with the Employer Member award for 2015.

Technology Award: Katie Sawyer (McPherson College)

This member took over the KACE Twitter platform this year and has done a phenomenal job. Our followers have increased and we've also seen an increase in the number of retweets. She has done a great job of choosing relevant content and getting it out to our followers. Knowing how busy we can be at work; this member made the time to provide consistently informative and relevant articles for all of our members.

Katie Sawyer, Career Services Director – McPherson College, certainly has earned the KACE Technology Award for 2015. We appreciate and recognize her dedication and hard work.

Let the countdown begin!


Posted By : kzaremba@ku.edu 1 Comment
Categories :Conference

We are officially less than 50 days away from the 2014 KACE Conference! (49 to be exact!)

The Conference Planning Committee is hard at work to bring you "Big Ideas in the Little Apple". So, tell us, what are you most excited for at the 2014 Annual KACE Conference? Will it be reconnecting with members you haven't seen since last year's conference? Exploring Manhattan and the touring the Kansas Wheat Commission Complex and GTM Sportswear? Will it be the awesome line-up of break-out sessions? Or the keynote address by Dr. Emmanuel Contomanolis? (You won't want to miss this, trust us!) Or maybe it's the thrilling, mysterious entertainment and dinner planned for Thursday evening. Whatever it may be, we want to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below and get ready for an awesome Conference. Let the countdown begin...

And the award goes to…


Posted By : kzaremba@ku.edu 0 Comment

awardsDo you know one of your KACE colleagues who has been a ROCK STAR this year? Consider nominating them for a KACE award at the annual conference. Complete the nomination form today to submit your nomination! Below is the listing of award descriptions:

Career Services Member of the Year Award
In recognition of outstanding contributions by a Career Services member to KACE during the past year.

Chairperson of the Year Award
In recognition of the outstanding contributions by a KACE committee chairperson during the past year.

Employer Member of the Year Award
In recognition of outstanding contributions by an employer to KACE during the past year.

Rookie of the Year Award
In recognition of outstanding contributions by a member who is in their first year of membership.

Technology Award
In recognition of outstanding contributions to KACE or to their profession through the development of innovative programs and services.

Outstanding Committee Member Award
In recognition of outstanding contributions by a KACE committee member during the past year.

Brad Barackman Bridge Award
In recognition of the KACE member who implemented, over the past year, an outstanding program that serves as an effective “bridge” between employers and Career Services.

The Larry Hannah Career Services Director Award
In recognition of a Career Services Director who made an outstanding contribution to KACE during the past year.

The form is short and simple, so don't wait! Nominate someone today! In case you missed the 2013 conference, take a look at the past award winners!

So, who is it that you will nominate?

Bring your BIG ideas to the little apple


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Categories :Conference

The 2014 Conference theme has been decided: Big Ideas in the Little Apple! I think this describes the conference perfectly. Each of us has big ideas in our specific area of specialty, whether you are an employer or career services personnel. This is the perfect time to share those ideas and build on them in engaging conversations.

Last year I enjoyed presenting about Practical and Free Technology for Promotion, Practice, & Productivity with my colleague, Erin Wolfram. Being fairly new to the profession, I was nervous to discuss this topic with others who were already established in the field. However, presenting at the annual conference gave me the opportunity to showcase new ways of marketing to college students. I felt like I was able to showcase free, easy-to-implement tools that others could use to enhance their work with students. That was so rewarding! After our presentation, I was approached by many KACE members asking questions which extended the conversation even further. I'd highly recommend this experience to anyone.

So, share YOUR “Big Ideas in the Little Apple"! What are you waiting for? We want to hear your proposals! Do you have an innovative idea related to the field? Have you done research that would be valuable to KACE members? Is there a program that you had success with?

The process for submitting your idea is simple. Log in to the KACE website and select the “Conference Session Proposal Form” under the Events tab. We are asking that you submit your proposal by May 15th.

If you have any questions, type them in the comments or direct them to Kent McAnally at kent.mcanally@washburn.edu. We look forward to hearing your big ideas.

-Katrina Zaremba

2014 KACE Conference: Save the Date!


Posted By : kzaremba@ku.edu 0 Comment
Categories :Conference

Mark your calendars for the 2014 Annual KACE Conference!

Leading up to the conference, I'll be posting interesting facts and updates about the big event in Manhattan. If you have favorite places you would like me to cover, please let me know!

Katrina Zaremba | kzaremba@ku.edu