KACE 2016 Conference Award Recipients


Posted By : Brandi Wriedt 0 Comment

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 Bloggers–Part 3: Ann Van Zee


Posted By : Brandi Wriedt 0 Comment
Categories :Member Spotlights

van-zee-annIntroducing: Ann Van Zee.  You've seen her name, you've undoubtedly read her blog posts.  But what do you know about Ann?

Ann is the AmeriCorps Program Director and Community Engagement Manger with Harvesters--The Community Food Network.  She has two main areas of responsibility in this position: 1.) Manage all aspects of the AmeriCorps State programs including recruiting, selecting, training, and evaluation of members; compliance with grant requirements and applicable federal/state regulations; and support of future funding requests; and 2.) Manage Harvesters’ community engagement programs (including our internships) to leverage increased community engagement through volunteering and food drives, and to support hunger advocacy goals; develop and implement strategies to increase external speaking opportunities and awareness of regional hunger issues.

From her own words on her career path: "Over the past 20 years in volunteer and program management, I have worked primarily with adult learners, as a small group facilitator, panel moderator, trainer and presenter in a variety of corporate and nonprofit settings.  Prior to moving to Kansas City in 2008, I facilitated volunteer engagement and training to support Department of Defense family programs and social services at three US Army installations and four US military bases in Germany. I was so excited when I got my first "job" in the nonprofit world, even though it was part-time, they were paying me!"

But most importantly, her favorite part of being a member of KACE: "I've so enjoyed being an active participant in this group, over the past 4 years. KACE is one of the very few associations which cuts across education, government, business, and non-profit lines.  For a non-profit like Harvesters, it’s essential to be engaged with other organizations that share some of our key qualities like being mission driven, focusing on continuous improvement, and measuring performance.  For me personally, I really appreciate the opportunity to learn from, and share with, such a diverse group of members.  People are open to new ideas and experiences but are equally generous with their own best practices, networking contacts, etc. I’ve also learned so much about new technology trends, communication tools, and media applications – areas that I was definitely not familiar or comfortable with!"

Want to connect with Ann?  Want to learn about her alternate career option of being a food writer (you know, when she grows up)?  You can connect with her at avanzee@harvesters.org.


Meet the Bloggers-Part 2: Ashley Kruger


Posted By : Brandi Wriedt 0 Comment
Categories :Member Spotlights

Ashley KruegerMeet Ashley Kruger!

Ashley is the Career Advisor Senior with the School of Business with University of Kansas.  She works one-on-one with students in career advising appointments, implements career programs and workshops with the career team, teaches a second year career readiness course, coordinates the School of Business Mentorship Program, and manages social media presence and web content.

Her first job was a paper route in her hometown of George, Iowa.  Every Tuesday evening in middle school she could be found folding papers in her parent's kitchen and delivering those folded papers around the neighborhood! "It was a good job for a middle school kid and taught me a lot about hard work and responsibility."  Since undergrad, Ashley has been in Student Affairs/Career Services.  "I started as a student Orientation Leader, learned more about career paths within student services through various experiences and internships and fell in love with Career Services!"

"I very much see the Achiever in my every day life--I'm pretty active and always love doing something, and every day I have a running to-do list of things I would like to accomplish that day. I'm the type of person who has to do something every day in order to feel accomplished--even if that something is making myself a good cup of coffee! :)"  (I completely agree with this as a fellow Achiever!)

If she wasn't working in career services, Ashley said "When I was younger, I always wanted to be an archaeologist. My undergraduate degree is in History and I have always loved learning about other cultures, people, and how they lived! I've always thought about being a nurse as well--I really like science and the idea of helping others in that way is appealing to me."

Want to connect with Ashley?  You can contact her at akruger1@ku.edu




Introducing: Kay-lynne Taylor


Posted By : Brandi Wriedt 0 Comment
Categories :Member Spotlights

kay-lynneIntroducing KACE member: Kay-lynne Taylor!

Kay-lynne is the Director for the Career Development Center at Missouri Western State University.  In her role she works with career exploration, career preparedness, student employment program, Student Professional and Academic Retention Tracking Assessment Program (SPARTA), external employer relations & Workforce Development and Title IV campus-based community programs and civic engagement.

Kay-lynne says that her "strategic" strength offers her the ability to see the long view while making key decisions for the department that best meets the needs of the students, faculty, staff and constituents of the Career Development Center.

As a seasoned career services provider and career coach, Kay-lynne would like to grow up to be a speaker and presented on these topics or an art consultant.  If she were to have a hashtag to define her career path is would be #LivingtheDream.

Want to connect with Kay-lynne?  Email her at ktaylor19@missouriwestern.edu

Want to be featured as our next Member Spotlight?  Fill out the form here.

Meet Melody Head


Posted By : Brandi Wriedt 2Comment
Categories :Member Spotlights

Melody-1Meet Melody Head!

Melody coordinates on-campus recruiting events, manages Newman University's College Central Network system, delivers workshops, and coordinates the cooperative education on-campus program.

Prior to her work in career services, her only previous career was serving as a high school business educator for 32 years!  (She doesn't look like she's old enough to have been doing that job that long).  One thing that matches between the two careers is her passion for helping young people gain confidence and ready to enter the job market upon graduation.

Melody is an ISTJ.  In her own words "I'm very practical and realistic, which is why my 'passion' is helping young people find their way.  Just give me a task and I can organize, plan, and implement it to completion."

She is looking forward to keeping current on what employers are needing from the future potential workforce.  Want to contact Melody?  You can email her at headm@newmanu.edu.


Meet the Award Recipients


Posted By : Brandi Wriedt 1 Comment

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.

Have we met?


Posted By : Brandi Wriedt 0 Comment
Categories :Member Spotlights

Brandi WriedtFor the past 10 months I have been introducing you to various members of KACE.  Now, it's time for you to put a face with a name.  My name is Brandi Wriedt, Career Coordinator at Truman State University.  In addition to helping all students that walk through our door, my specialty areas are in the office technology, advertising and public relations for our services/events, and our data collection and analysis.  I'm a data nerd!

My first job was working at Sonic as a carhop and later I was promoted to Shift Manager.  I loved the people I worked with and the job itself.  When I decided to change my major in college it was one of the main reasons I decided to go into Hotel and Restaurant Management.  I enjoyed most of my classes and  got to experience both the large lecture halls with 400+ students and the small, personalized attention in classes of 17-20 people.  Also, the cooking and etiquette courses definitely prepared me to teach our etiquette dinners and work closely with Food Services to create a distinct menu.

I mentioned earlier that I'm a data nerd (I really do love data!) so one of my non-surprising strengths is Analytical.  I use data to make most of my decisions and it plays into my Deliberative as well because I want to make the overall best decision so I need the supporting facts.  This is also why I will use every channel possible to make sure I can produce reports and statistics that are accurate.

I'm excited to be a new member to KACE this past year and, more so, to have been honored with the 2014 New Member Scholarship.  I've had the opportunity to meet and work with a great group of people and I'm excited to see everyone again at the conference in December.  If you haven't registered yet, you can do that here.  However, if I was able to have any career outside of career services or human resources I would definitely want to be a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher (aka Home Ec).

Want to connect with me?  You can email me at bkeller@truman.edu.

Introducing: Polly Matteson


Posted By : Brandi Wriedt 0 Comment
Categories :Member Spotlights

SONY DSCThis wonderful lady is Polly Matteson.  The Assistant Director/Employer Relations Coordinator for the Truman State University Career Center.

As a member of a 3-person professional staff for our centralized career center (serving around 6,000 students), each of us works closely with students with career and decision making.  In addition to working daily with students, Polly works with employers to develop recruiting relationships and coordinating on-campus recruiting.

Before working in the Career Center Polly taught high school for a bit before serving as a flight attendant for TWA.  She also recruited, developed curriculum, and trained flight attendants--which is phenomenal since she has a Masters in Education-Curriculum & Instruction!  After American and TWA merged, the TWA flight attendants were furloughed and Polly was able to use those transferable skills to work with college students--and she's great at it!

One of Polly's strengths (and I know this with certainty) is her "Developer" strength.  This is demonstrated not only with our student employees but also with our student clients.  In addition I think her other four really sum her up: Empathy, Positivity, Activator, and Relator.

Why does Polly love KACE?  "I love the friendships and collaborative opportunities that this group has provided.  Thank you for letting outliers from northeast Missouri join the group!"  I second that!

If you want to connect with Polly or want to hear her sing (that's her dream job--and she's pretty good, too) or want to invite her to karaoke, you can email her at pollym@truman.edu

Meet Amber Goreham


Posted By : Brandi Wriedt 0 Comment
Categories :Member Spotlights

GorehamAmber_7824It's my pleasure to introduce to you Amber Goreham.

Amber is the Director of the Career Services Center at University of Central Missouri.  She directs, plans, coordinates, develops and implements a comprehensive university-wide program of career services and student employment.  Amber also directs and manages all areas, functions, operations, personnel, and services provided by the Career Services Center.  Prior to serving as the Director of the Career Services Center, Amber was the Office Professional/Event Coordinator for the Missouri Center for Career Education.

One of Amber's greatest strengths is "Strength."  This is one of the rarest strengths identified in StrengthsQuest.  She uses this in everything that she does: it helps her stay on top of her projects and deadlines, helps her pay attention to the details so that she is careful and thorough in everything she does.  Amber knows exactly where she is headed, how she will proceed and when she will reach her goal.  She is a very dedicated and driven individual!

I wonder if she has used this strength to figure out how/when she will become a professional bowler.  You see, that's what she wants to be when she grows up 🙂

Want to bounce ideas around with Amber?  Create a close network of colleagues (as she's hoping to through KACE)?  Contact her at agoreham@ucmo.edu

Introducing: David Hogard


Posted By : Brandi Wriedt 1 Comment
Categories :Member Spotlights

DAVID-HOGARD3x42Introducing President-Elect, David Hogard.

David is the Assistant Director for Employer Relations with Pittsburg State University.  He's in charge of coordinating employer on-campus recruiting events/interviews, managing the Gorillas4Hire database, connecting with organizations/employers to encourage their participation on campus, and assists with Career Services sponsored events and fairs.  Get this, he even serves as a Freshman Experience faculty member where he advises over 30+ undeclared students!

Prior to serving as the Assistant Director for Employer Relations with Career Services, David was the Assistant Director for Alumni Relations with Pittsburg State.

David's MBTI type is generally ESFJ but feels he may be getting a little more ESTJ as he gets older 🙂  But his "E" is his strength in that due to the main nature of his job responsibilities and overall personality.

I think his type would really serve him well in his dream job of taking over for Guy Fieri and hosting "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives" on the Food Network.

Want to learn about some great off-the-grid restaurants, or want to connect with David?  You can contact him at dhogard@pittstate.edu