At last all good things must come to an end. In the past few articles, I shared with you highlights of the Maryland Counseling Association’s (MCA) 2017 conference. Counselors and coaches from all over the country drove or flew in to engage in Courageous Conversations about diversity and inclusion. This years conference was even more meaningful as it was a celebration of the 50th year of the association’s existence.
I had last attended the conference in 2015 when I had the honor of speaking about women in the military. The presentation focused on the unique challenges women face when they transition out of the service. I was also selected to speak this year. My presentation was on social media specifically how counselors could use social media to even the playing field. You’ll have to stay tuned to the blog to find out more about that.
In comparison to prior conferences, this one really delivered. The topics generated much discussion leaving you with a lot to think about. Not only were the sessions great, so was the networking.
I was able to see old friends and colleagues such as the current President of MCA, and author of Find Your Federal Job Fit, Karol Taylor and President and Founder of the Workforce Excellence Group, Bruce Wahlgren. But also, Master Career Specialist, Maria Schaffer. Karol, Bruce, and Maria served on the board of the Maryland Career Development Association when I served as President.
At many conferences it can be hard to connect and meet new people, but not at this one. It was an honor to meet Dr. Michael Lazarchick who introduced me to the National Employment Counseling Association (NECA). NECA is a multinational organization dedicated to improving employment opportunities for all. I had never heard of NECA before this conference. Dr. Lazarchick served as the President of NECA and currently serves as the Master Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF).
Career Specialist, Speaker, Author, and founder of Motivated Coach, Bill Fenson challenged me to think outside the box when it comes to my own business, Infinity Coaching. He has a five-step process that helps you achieve your goals.
One of the most impressive individuals I met was Daniel “Danny” Cardenas LGPC, Lead Mental Health Clinician for the Board of Child Care. Danny, a true difference maker, recently founded The Village Mentality. The Village Mentality consists of a group of young professionals working towards a positive social action within minority communities. The group’s main areas of focus are education, mental and physical health and financial literacy. Based in the DMV area, they provided community service and outreach programs and workshops at schools, universities and health fairs. Follow The Village Mentality on Instagram to see the amazing things they are doing and consider having Danny and his team present at your next youth event.
As you can see, from the educational sessions, karaoke and networking, this was an event not to be missed. If you are a counselor, consider joining your local counseling association and/or the American Counseling Association. Attending the events they host will keep you current with the latest studies, philosophies, societal trends, and technological advances. You will learn strategies you can use when working with clients. The best benefit of all, you will develop a network of colleagues that are always there to support you. And folks, that’s a wrap until next years conference. Hope to see you there!