Highlights of a Meaningful Experience: National Career Development Association (NCDA) 2022 Global Conference

   By Dr. Sharon Givens, President of the NCDA-2021-2022


The National Career Development Association (NCDA) is facing many changes during a period of larger national and global shifts. The world of work has become incredibly complex. Technological and social forces are changing how work is performed, who does it, and even what work looks like.


In planning NCDA’s 2022 conference, I imagined that the series of events over the last two years has also brought career professionals back to a renewed and stark understanding that career development is a focal point of life. 


The pandemic has been a vocational magnifying glass, bringing elements of career development and work life to the forefront. This made this year’s conference extremely timely and relevant. If there is a silver lining to the disruption we’ve experienced, it is having an opportunity to take a fresh look at the way we deliver career services and view the future of work with optimism and resilience.

Embracing Change and Developing Resilience

The theme for NCDA’s 2022 Global Career Development Conference was Innovative Career Development Strategies to Embrace Change: Moving Forward with Resilience. The theme was addressed through many unique and inventive lenses. We welcomed 1,087 participants from 20 different countries via face-to-face and virtual sessions. 


Some of most eminent scholars and practitioners in the field shared their knowledge, experiences, and expertise. The keynote speakers: Gregg Brown, Dr. James Moore III, and Scott Pulsipher strategically connected groundbreaking career development approaches to everyday work. The collective information they provided addressed career services across the life span in ways that could be used to build on personal and professional strengths.


The quality and caliber of all of the event’s presenters this year was outstanding. They offered a variety of specific and timely approaches to innovation within career support systems. These approaches ranged from diversity, equity, and inclusion to digital fluency and STEM initiatives.

The breakout sessions presented rich content that addressed various aspects of career development and the trajectory of work. More specifically, the program content offered an opportunity to reflect on concepts related to the future of work – looking at what is temporary, what is transformative, and the critical implications for career development professionals.


A Call to Action

Throughout the conference many participants had an awakening. Much of the data provided in the presentations gave a clear message that as career development professionals we have a call to action. The time has come to explore the future of work. What work looks like tomorrow depends on how we address historical injustices that shape opportunities today. This means recognizing the importance of confronting the past to build a better future.


Exploring changes in the workplace and the long-term impact on workers, employers, educators, and communities is key. Career development professionals had an opportunity to rethink what is now possible in the workplace and combine the best of how we worked prior to the pandemic with what we’ve learned during this time of change.

Conference attendees were reminded that they are not alone in today’s complex climate. Attendees took part in their perspective constituency groups and committees. The conference also created various spaces for formal and informal networking. Individuals were able to connect with resilient and empathetic people.


Serving the Local Community

As the president of the association, I believe the end of all knowledge should be service to others. One of my priorities for this conference was to give back to the community. NCDA partnered with Working Wardrobes. This outstanding volunteer-based, non-profit organization provides workforce readiness for at-risk populations in Orange County, California. NCDA conducted a professional shoe drive to support this organization. Monetary donations were also accepted.


Recognizing Achievement in Career Development

Each year, one NCDA member is honored for their lifetime contributions to our field. The Eminent Career Award, NCDA’s highest honor, went to Dr. Marilyn Maze this year. I also had the distinct pleasure of selecting three NCDA members who have helped me during my presidency as the recipients of the 2022 Presidential Recognition Awards.


The first Presidential Recognition Award went to Charles Lehman. Charles has served two terms as NCDA’s faithful Treasurer and has been relentless in his advocacy on behalf of the association and its fiscal management. 


The second award was presented to Dr. Cheryl Love, a valued colleague who stepped up this year to chair the NCDA Community Service Project with Working Wardrobes. She was also instrumental on NCDA’s Diversity and Cultural Inclusion Committee throughout the pandemic helping to plan various programs featuring DEI topics. 

The third award went to Melissa Messer. Melissa was honored as the past editor for NCDA’s Career Developments Magazine. Melissa started as the editor in 2015 and finished her tenure in 2021.


NCDA Opportunities, Initiatives, and Resources

My goal was to exceed the expectations of the attendees in Anaheim, California, and encourage a record number of professionals to come together at the conference in Chicago, Illinois, next year. However, there are many NCDA opportunities, initiatives, and resources to engage in throughout the year:

  • NCDA’s robust live and virtual professional development opportunities to include webinars, on demand courses and the “Career Practitioner Conversations” podcast.
  • NCDA will be launching a mentoring program this Fall. This is an opportunity for early career professionals to be mentored by experienced scholars and practitioners who share similar interests and goals.
  • Earning NCDA’s high-quality competency-based credentials ensure that you are proficient in the field, while enhancing your professional brand.
  • NCDA also provides various career development publications.


Please see our website for additional information on all the opportunities listed above. If you are not yet an NCDA member, I highly encourage you to join and take advantage of the rich and diverse space of practice and learning where every member matters!


Looking Ahead

Given that 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven't even been invented yet, the key to successfully navigating career services can no longer be based on the notion of skill durability and career longevity. We must instead embrace the fluidity of the modern work environment and seek out ways to make the best of each opportunity as it emerges.


This requires career development professionals to develop innovative strategies to embrace change. These strategies may entail forward-thinking, recognizing the importance of staying nimble, acquiring knowledge and ideas from the cutting edge of career development practice and research, a willingness to experiment, and a commitment to listening closely to constituents.


Ultimately the conference empowered constituents to reflect on methodologies that address the future trends of work and the ability to embrace the unknown. This will ensure that we as career development professionals give our clients and students the optimal service they deserve.


It has been my honor to serve as President of NCDA for the past nine months. I am so proud to have the opportunity to lead the association through challenges, global and national conversations, and continued success. My hope is that each conference attendee took a lasting light that will shine resources, strategies, and techniques into their various work settings.