By Jennie Nilsson

Our November 17, 2017 ACE professional development session was a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues and explore how much our roles have evolved – and haven’t! I have had the good fortune of being on the ACE Professional Development Committee since 2007, and while the membership of the committee and the themes of the events have changed over the years, one thing has always remained the same: my colleagues’ dedication to student success and willingness to share their expertise and best practices. Last week’s ACE PD event was a perfect example of this.


The day started a bit different than past events, with lunch and networking to get us going for a day of fun and learning. We were then treated to an engaging keynote address by Martina Valkivicova from UBC’s Career Centre. Martina provided an overview of the importance of emotional intelligence – for us as practitioners, but also for developing our students as the workforce of the future. Her vision for the future of career services as a transformational service for every student is an inspiration.

Martina’s engaging keynote set the stage for concurrent sessions on using technology and understanding how our students’ neurological development influences their job search activities and outcomes. The tech showcase featured poll everywhere, a great tool for engaging students in a classroom setting; V-Mock, an online customizable tool for providing students; with bulleted resume feedback and benchmark progress; and Qualtrics, a sophisticated survey tool to collect and analyze application data for better collection and assessment of students’ program applications. Jennifer Fraser’s session was a whirlwind introduction to understanding the brain development and subsequent actions of our student demographic, and using this understanding to build confidence and resilience for the youth we work with. As I say every time, I wish I could clone myself because I always want to attend multiple sessions! Luckily for all of us, there’s good notes and the slide deck in the resource section of our website!

The fun continued afterwards with an amazing 25th Anniversary celebration, honouring Andrea Giles for her commitment to ACE and co-op education in BC with a Lifetime Achievement award. The party included retired and revered members of the ACE community, and celebrated our achievements as an association over the last quarter of a century. As always, I feel inspired and honoured to be a part of such an accomplished and welcoming group of practitioners.

Members at the November 2017 PD event