Best Practices

Volunteering for a Leadership Position Can Help Gain Valuable Professional Experience

April 11, 2022 | By Suzanne Voigt

Person presenting in front of people

TAGS: best practices, career development, member voices, personal devlopment, volunteer,

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has been an influential association over the course of my 10+ years in career services. In 2020, I decided to get more involved and joined the NACE Liberal Arts Colleges and Majors Affinity Group to better connect with peers across the country who support this student group in their career development. Being part of this dynamic group led a colleague and I to start a subgroup within the Liberal Arts Colleges and Majors Affinity Group specifically for professionals working with fine and performing arts students. Both of these groups have brought very meaningful collaborations and continual professional development to me, and the knowledge I’ve gained has greatly assisted me as I serve students at my university.

In 2021, I was approached by NACE leadership to co-lead the Liberal Arts Colleges and Majors Affinity Group. This was a huge honor for me after participating in the group as an active member. After accepting the role, I was fortunate to work with equally passionate co-leaders to plan and prepare programming for the upcoming year. The process of organizing this group went smoothly as we shared our ideas, reviewed past achievements, and considered what group members wanted to learn. Working directly with NACE, we facilitated the transition from one academic year and group of leaders to the new one.

Overall, after having the opportunity to co-lead the Liberal Arts Colleges and Majors Affinity Group and the Fine and Performing Arts subgroup, I highly recommend joining an Affinity Group for anyone interested in getting better connected to career services and employers across the country. Having the experience to co-lead established stronger relationships that will continue to help me in the years to come, and since the leadership term is a two-year commitment, I look forward to meeting and collaborating with many current and new members next year, too!

If you are interested in getting involved with a NACE Affinity Group, there are many options, and you can find one based on your interests. Getting involved will give you an idea of how the group works on a yearly basis. Once you are involved, if you find that you are really connecting with the group and its objectives, during the spring semester, a call will go out to current members seeking volunteers to serve as a co-lead. This is your chance to connect with current leaders and inform them of your interest in joining them for the upcoming year.

Would I recommend this experience? Absolutely! It is such a positive and meaningful way to get connected to NACE and other professionals in career services. You won’t regret it!

Dr. Suzanne Voigt serves as the associate director for career branding at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte's Career Center. She oversees all career assessment resources, which support students' career development and exploration, and the Competency Compass portal, which assists students in navigating career competencies through on-campus experiences. Suzanne also serves as the career coach for the Arts, Media, and Design Career Community and the faculty/staff liaison to the College of Arts and Architecture.

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