By Dr. Lakeisha Mathews, President, National Career Development Association
Chicago, Illinois, a U.S. city known for its diversity, culture, and industry was a perfect location for the conference. Hosted at the Sheraton Grand Riverwalk Hotel the conference took place on Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes of North America; lands that were the traditional homelands of Native people.
The conference program centered around learning and enhancing your skill set as career practitioners in K-12, Research, Business and Industry, and Higher Education. Featured, were three dynamic key note speakers including Tucker Bryant, Dr. Kimberly Frazier, and Dr. Monica Band who each presented a unique message to inspire, inform and challenge us in our work as career development professionals. First, Tucker Bryant, an award-winning poet and Stanford graduate, encouraged attendees to embrace innovation. Second, Dr. Kimberly Frazier, Past-President of the American Counseling Association, challenged attendees to hone their leadership skills in order to create inclusive organizations. Lastly, Dr. Monica Band, LPC, and Washington D.C. based trauma-informed licensed mental health therapist, reminded attendees that inclusivity is key for clients and practitioners. In addition to the keynote speakers there was a robust slate of sessions including concurrent sessions, poster sessions, and Professional Development Institutes.
Career development around the world was woven into the conference experience in several ways. First, the NCDA Global Connections Committee provided ambassadors to international conference attendees to help them navigate the conference with ease. Second, we brought back the International Reception held on the first day of the conference and sponsored by Kuder Incorporated. Third, we recognized the work of several international practitioners including Maha Fakhry Moussa, the recipient of the NCDA Merit Award. Dr. Moussa is the Chief Party of the University Centers for Career Development at the American University of Cairo. In addition, the Asia Pacific Career Development Association presented David Reile with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Fourth, we provided scholarship to international members by expanding our BIPOC scholarship program. Finally, the conference concluded with the first NCDA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Symposium for practitioners who work with marginalized and BIPOC populations.
The Conference theme Career Development Around the World: Making Connections and Increasing Access to Impact the Global Labor Market, has also been major focus of my presidency which has been spent advocating for greater access to career services for students and professionals around the world and for enhanced support for our international members. Over the last year, NCDA has spent a significant amount of time nurturing our global partnerships which we highlighted at the conference including:
- Sponsoring the first Arab Career Development Conference (ACDC) in Aswan, Egypt.
- Traveling to Taiwan to support the work of NCDA’s strategic partner, the Psychological Assessment Corporation (PAC).
- Deploying a delegation to Saudi Arabia to train career professionals in our Facilitating Career Development curriculum.
- NCDA Board of Directors and Trustees virtually participating in the Asia Pacific Career Development Association conference.
- Maintaining organizational membership with the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (IAEVG).
- Continuing to build a strong partnership with CERIC, an organization seeking to advance career development in Canada and I had the pleasure of presenting at the conference in Ottawa, Canada.
- Designating the NCDA Board tasked the Trustee-at-Large, Jim Peacock, with oversight of NCDA’s international committees to provide strategic support to the Global Connections Committee and International Student Services Committee.
- Launching the Career Conversations podcast providing career practitioners around the world access to interviews with thought leaders in career development. This includes the Career Development Around the World series launched in August 2023 featuring guests from Taiwan, Japan, Latin American, Canada, Egypt, Italy and New Zealand.
The future looks bright for NCDA and career professionals around the world and I encourage you to reach out to the new GCC leaders and to get involved!
Dr. Lakeisha Mathews, CCSP, GCDF, CCPC/RW