By Todd Burrell, Conference Chair
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
On May 2-4, 2012, 866 individuals convened at The Westin Chicago Northwest in Itasca, Illinois for the IACAC Annual Conference, CONNECT 2012. And based on the initial feedback and discussions, the conference held true to the theme when many connections were made by so many.
Throughout the three days of the conference, attendees had many opportunities. There were 56 educational sessions, receptions hosted by IACAC committees and member institutions, ways to give back to the community and IACAC through Project Reach, raffle prizes and silent auctions, as well as breaks to visit with other members while discussing ways we can better serve students. Of course, there was still time to unwind and take part in some great entertainment options.
The conference officially kicked off with a rousing introduction of the Annual Conference Committee. More than 30 individuals worked together for the past year in assembling this great conference. Because of their time and effort to IACAC, we were all afforded another amazing professional development opportunity. THANK YOU to these individuals and also THANK YOU to all who served as a volunteer on one of these committees.
Back by popular demand, Brad Karsh, President, JB Training Solutions presented on Making Connections: Networking With Your Team. Brad’s unique way to get all involved in his presentation made for a fun and engaging keynote.
As part of the opening ceremonies, we heard from President-Elect candidate, Mike Dunker, on his view from the back of the bus and how he has moved to the front. Based on his speech, Mike is well on his way to being the driver of the IACAC bus.
Also, to conclude the opening, we recognized our Project Reach recipient, Little Village Lawndale High School in Chicago. Valerie Franklin represented the school, and thanks to the many caring individuals of IACAC, we were able to provide them with numerous supplies and financial support totaling more than $3,600.
In addition to the work with Little Village Lawndale High School, Project Reach also reached out to help those in need after the Harrisburg tornado. This effort, in conjunction with the Southern District Seminar, enabled members to give back to those in need almost immediately. Once again, IACAC members have come through in helping others when needed.
On Wednesday afternoon, a group of retirees gathered for an informal reception. If there is anything to say about IACAC retirees, it is that they continue to give back not only of their time, but of their thoughts and ideas. IACAC is truly fortunate to have individuals who care so much for the mission of the association as well as the members. This group, along with other retirees, will allow IACAC to continue to keep the momentum. Stay tuned for some great ideas from this group.
In addition, IACAC welcomed graduate students to the conference and a special reception was held for these individuals. There was much enthusiasm from these participants and if their ideas are any indication of the future of college counseling, we are going to be in great hands, and IACAC will play a major role in the work that is done.
While dinner was on your own on Wednesday night, IACAC members still continued to give back. With two local restaurants donating a portion of their proceeds to Project Reach, we were able to collect $670.
The evening concluded with great entertainment options based on the game show; “Minute to Win It.” Be sure to view the photos on the IACAC Facebook page to catch all of the action from this night of fun.
On Thursday morning, we welcomed 24 exhibitors to the conference. Without the support of the companies and the individuals representing them, IACAC would not be able to provide such an elaborate and full conference. Please continue to support our exhibitors as they help us to help our students.
Mark it down…May 3, 2012; A historic day in IACAC. After more than 2 years of work and soliciting feedback, IACAC members voted overwhelmingly to approve the new board structure. Be sure to check out the IACAC website for the new by-laws and more details on this structure. A special thanks to the Ad-Hoc Committee on Board Structure.
Throughout the entire conference, IACAC welcomed Fran Cubberley, NACAC Board of Directors to Illinois. Fran updated all members on the happenings within NACAC as well as recognizing IACAC individuals who serve on various national committees. In addition, Kim Chaffer Schroeder, NACAC Board of Directors and Coordinator of the Affiliates Presidents Council joined us for the conference.
On Thursday evening, at the conference banquet, we awarded some IACAC members with the James A. Alexander Newcomer Award, the Molly K. Arnold President’s Service Recognition Award, and the Patricia A. Kasowski Recognition Award. Congratulations to these individuals on all that you have accomplished. View a complete listing of these award winners.
To further build on the theme, all in attendance were treated to a glimpse of the past with some performances by five IACAC members that garnered standing ovations. If you missed it, watch the videos on our Facebook page. They’ve gone viral.
Finally, the entertainment committee kept the tradition of the annual dance, but brought in a new twist with dueling pianos. Needless to say, the evening could have continued well into the morning if allowed. By the look of the photos, everyone had a great time. Check out the pictures from the photobooth.
Despite all of these activities over the past two days, on Friday morning, conference attendees were treated to an engaging and revealing town hall discussion about the governmental policies and legislation which directly impact our profession and students. This was led by Government Relation Chairs and a special guest to the conference, Dr. Lynne Haeffele, the Senior Policy Director for Education in the Office of Lieutenant Governor.
The information presented allowed all to learn more about what we can do not only as individuals but as an association.
New for the conference, all in attendance came together one final time in the connections sessions. These sessions allowed for people to gather and discuss various topics that affect us and the students we serve and work with on a daily basis.
The Annual Conference came to an end with the conclusion of the General Membership meeting. This meeting served as an opportunity to thank Carin Smith, Past President, for her service and time to the association. As well, Laura Docherty was recognized and passed the gavel to Todd Burrell who took over as President on June 1, 2012.
On behalf of the entire Annual Conference Committee, we would like to thank the conference sponsors for their support, and the attendees who came through to raise almost $6,700 from the various opportunities provided by the Raffle Committee.
For all IACAC members, it is the hope that this next year will be one to where you can share your story and make your connections. The conference is an exciting venue that allows this to happen, but it is what happens throughout the entire year that truly defines IACAC and all that we do as an association.
Mark your calendars now for Annual Conference 2013, May 1-3.