Session #1 – 10:30am ET


Jeffrey Moss – Gigs as a pathway: Harnessing the gig economy to improve career outcomes. 

Many have suggested that (i) the gig economy will drive the end of the employee / employer relationship and (ii) there is a significant skills gap, with college graduates unprepared for careers. These assumptions are just wrong.

This session will highlight how gigs will not replace jobs, but rather a more effective way to match college students with internships and full-time roles. In particular, we will share strategies that career centers are leveraging to use acceptance of gig models to build relationships with companies, demonstrate the career readiness of students, and ensure students appreciate the crosswalks between the classroom and careers, with regard to the Core Skills demanded by employers.


Cindy Verduce & Sonya Snellenberger-Holm – Not Your Mother’s Regional Internship Program: Playing Nice Beyond the Sandbox

Intern NEI, Northeast Indiana’s Regional Internship Program, is a collaborative partnership between economic development organizations; higher education; employer partners; local associations, foundations & consortiums; and student talent to increase the quality and number of internships in Northeast Indiana. We strongly believe internships are essential building blocks in our quest to impact talent development, talent attraction and business attraction to the region. More internship opportunities throughout the region mean more students will participate, and in turn, regional employers will hire more students. Growing and improving the internship opportunities is a Win/Win for our students, employers, and the region’s economic health.


Zach Mercurio – How to Build a Compelling Personal and Professional Vision

The most effective leaders aren’t leaders who have a vision, they are leaders who know how to envision a desired future. Three powerful questions can help us envision a future to create actionable plans which produce a meaningful impact: 1. What is my purpose? 2. What problem do I solve? 3. What will the world be like without that problem?

In this session, bestselling author and international purposeful leadership and meaningful work strategist Zach Mercurio will guide you through creating a compelling vision as well as model how you might help others do the same.

Learn more about Zach at 


Plenary Session – 11:30am ET

Christine Cruzvergara & Joe Testani

Christine & Joe believe that we can build better teams and develop people in order to prepare our students and institutions for what the future holds. In career education, we should expect ourselves to be as agile, adaptable, and resilient as we expect our students to be about the future. In this session, Christine Cruzvergara and Joe Testani will discuss trends they see for the future of work and how we can address some of these challenges in our work.

The ability for Career Centers to reach thousands of students, alumni, or employers with the same or less amount of work, all while improving the quality of service delivery is a rare feat, yet one that is being expected on Career Leaders today, Come learn about the fresh mindset, approach, and skillset it takes to Scale a Career operation. This presentation will advocate for a new set of best practices related to scaling career services based on various research and “think tank” initiatives.

Christine is currently completing her tenure as the Associate Provost and Executive Director for Career Education at Wellesley College where she built a comprehensive career model that engaged the entire college ecosystem ensuring greater opportunity for the next generation of women leaders and garnering national recognition for her forward-thinking vision. In January 2019, Christine will take on her new role as VP of Higher Education & Student Success at Handshake where she’ll lead the strategic development of their university teams and deepen partnerships across the higher education community to achieve more equitable student career success.

Joe currently serves as the Associate Vice Provost for Career Education Initiatives and the Executive Director for Career Education at the University of Rochester. With over 15 years of career services and student engagement experience in diverse institutional settings, Joe has been recognized for his leadership and strategic planning on the departmental, institutional, and professional association level.



Session #2 – 12:30pm ET

Steven Pedigo – The Power of Creative Communities.

As urban areas become coveted destinations to live and work, they have developed a fierce competition for talent.
Cities and communities across the country have undertaken significant efforts to the creative class in hopes of spurring development in their downtown cores. It used to be that location decisions were made based on where your family lived or where you could find a good job. But, as today’s workers become increasingly mobile, quality of place has become a key determinant of where people choose to live.


Eric Woodard – Internships ≠ Jobs

Internships happen at work, but are they work?  In this session Eric Woodard leads a discussion to highlight the differences between internships and work and school that sometimes get blurry.  By drawling clear lines between work and school and internships, this session will empower participants to avoid many of challenges that result when internships and school and work get mixed up.



Marie Artim – Bridging High Touch and Tech in Today’s Recruiting World

Today, we are driven to maximize efficiency but, when it comes to the recruitment process,  has it taken the human out of what we do, and what our candidates and employees crave?  Learn how Enterprise, who has consistently earned recognition as one of the top employers for entry-level hires balances the desire to use technology with a high touch approach to recruiting.  The foundation of Enterprise’s approach is to leverage today’s recruiting technologies to enhance the consumer-driven candidate experience and attract and retain the best candidates while keeping the process personal.

Check out this awesome podcast featuring Marie discussing how Enterprise Holdings (Enterprise, National, Alamo Rent-A-Car) hire about 9000 management trainees and 2000 interns nearly every year. How they find people, how they qualify them, and how they hang on to them.


Session #3 – 1:30pm ET

Christian Garcia – You Can’t Spell Culture Without C-U-L-T!

Not all cults are bad.  For many years, folks at the University of Miami have described the Toppel Career Center as a cult: the kind of cult that is positive, cohesive, all about collaboration, and one that takes new and innovative risks.  Creating this type of culture takes lots of work and patience but if done right, makes all the other work fall into place easily. Join me for an open and honest discussion about why this is so critical to our success, how we got here, and bumps in the road we had to overcome (and there were many). Most importantly, you will learn the impact that having a strong, unique, and visible culture can have on your work, the people, and your institution as a whole.


Rose Nakamoto – Leading a Visionary Career Operation. 

According to The Emerging Technologies’ Impact on Society and Work Report, “85% of the jobs that Gen Z (b. 1995-2015) will be doing in 2030 haven’t been invented yet.” Our students will be going out and working in organizations that are evolving in focus and in structure. Given what we know about the future of work and learning and the growing expectations for career preparation from our students and campus communities, how do you lead a reimagine effort for your career center and for your institution without new resource investments? Learn how one Career Center embarked on a process to design and plan where and how to invest existing resources to lead a dynamic vision and move in a new strategic direction.

Areas of focus will include –

  • Building and setting a new vision, focus and priorities with existing resources
  • Developing clarity of purpose and inspiration for the “why” behind the change (and powerfully communicating and connecting this with your vision).
  • The new distributed model of student career development versus the centralized career services approach.
  • Leveraging the strengths and values of your staff and embracing your unique institutional culture in the change process


Nida Saleem – Experiential Learning: A Deep Dive to Find Hidden Treasure From Theory to Practice

The sea of job and internship opportunities is vast enough to feel overwhelming.  We all know that a good experiential learning experience should look like, right? Let’s use this time to unearth what the key components of experiential learning are, define what questions we should be asking employers, and better identify the experiences best suited for student growth.

Nida is a member of the NACE Board of Directors as well as the Intern Program Manager at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.


Session #4 – 2:30pm ET

Branden Grimmett –  Intersecting Identities: Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives in Career Services. 

Many college students experience marginalization on their own university campuses based on their race, educational background, ability, gender, immigration status, religion, sexual orientation, and other categories. This session will provide insights into the lived experience of our most vulnerable students, while helping us understand how intersecting identities and our own biases impact our work with specific student populations. Participants in this session will gain critical tools for understanding privilege and its impact on our work, new techniques for mitigating the effects of implicit bias, and examples of program models that help empower students to embrace their true identities.


Camille S. Norman – Confessions of a Campus Recruiter.

With years of experience of successfully recruiting students from various university programs, Ms. Norman has traveled the USA to find top talent for internship programs across various industries and majors. This presentation will go over key strategies for career services departments to help increase the number of students achieve a full time employment offer upon graduation. From identifying early adopters and expanding to companies that will follow the lead, to having the right events and programs for local employers to participate in, and to bringing awareness to students of opportunities all play an essential role to increasing the employed numbers of your students/alumni.


Mark S. Babbitt – The Role of Workplace Intelligence in the Future of Work

In this interactive conversation, we’ll discuss the essential elements of Workforce Intellegence or WQ – to include company culture and climate, leadership archetypes, understanding the company’s “why” and more. Once we understand a company’s WQ strengths, weaknesses, and levers for change we can become much more adept at helping the young professionals we mentor choose the right employer – and career – for them.

After this talk, participants in the Thought Leaders Symposium understand:


  • The importance of helping job seekers determine the level of WQ, and ascertain the “real” employer brand, of any organization
  • How candidates can better understand a target employers’ current culture, workplace climate, leadership style and other key elements in a candidates decision-making process
  • The power of feeling a profound sense of community and the availability of self-less mentors as key factors when choosing an employer

Ultimately, this session will help attendees gain a clear understanding of Workplace Intelligence, so they can better serve the students and young professionals counting on them most.


Closing Keynote – 3:30pm ET

Dr. Corey Seemiller 

Dr. Corey Seemiller is the co-author of Generation Z Goes to College, which aims to prepare college administrators and educators for a new generation of college students. She is also the co-author of Generation Z Leads, a practical implementation guide for educators in designing meaningful leadership development experiences for Generation Z college students. Her upcoming new release, Generation Z: A Century in Making, showcases various aspects of the lives of those in Generation Z. Dr. Seemiller’s TED Talk on Generation Z at TEDxDayton in October 2017 showcased how Generation Z plans to make a difference in the world.