Practicing What I Preach: EACE 2018 Professional Development Grant
By Cheryl Rotyliano, Ithaca College
My professional career, like many others, has taken different directions over time. I have worked to support undergraduate students with mental health, supported active duty military members relocating to a new duty station, managed a caseload of chronically homeless veterans, calculated GPA’s for a college admissions office, rented apartments, started my own business, and for the past 2 years, I am very happily a Career Coach!
Through this winding road, there is a common theme: I need to help others and I have deep passion for teaching others how to utilize the resources that surround them. As it says in my LinkedIn profile, “I like to lead and coach by example.”
As a Career Coach, or really anyone in a helping profession, I believe practicing what you preach is so important. If I tell a student to have a professional and attractive LinkedIn profile, what message am I sending if mine is plain and outdated? Involvement in professional organizations is something I believe is extremely important for professional development in any field.
If I’m being honest, reading the EACE email with promotion for the Professional Development Grant wasn’t happenstance. I had been paying attention to EACE emails because I was impressed with the quality of information and programs the organization had been producing. Moreover, I always make time to dig online for resources and read new information. When I saw there was an opportunity for a grant, I thought to myself, why wouldn’t I apply for this? Of course, there were many other things on my plate, but in valuing practicing what I preach, I made time because it was a valuable opportunity (and it didn’t require very much time at all considering the benefits.)
The EACE conference was the most valuable conference I’ve attended in my career to date. From beginning to end, it was a welcoming environment that was large enough to be effective with networking, yet small enough to not get completely lost in the shuffle. The conference is a “fit” for many different constituents, which increases the value. I was able to hone in on coaching skills and strategies, learn new programming and event ideas, have conversations about diversity and inclusion, gain perspective from employers and recruiters, and network with other colleges and universities who are implementing a career community model.
In an attempt to vocalize the way the conference made me feel, I would say: inspired by innovation, better educated, and more connected to networks and resources. That’s the elegant way of saying “mind blown.” I am still processing a lot of the information and finding ways my Career Center can utilize these new insights. If I listed all the sessions I enjoyed or got something out of, you’d find a list of all the sessions I attended! With that said, I found my favorites were the sessions regarding career communities/clusters facilitated by professionals at the College of Holy Cross and Rutgers University, a session on employer outreach strategy by Princeton University, and a session about service delivery efficiency practices (VG1) by Stockton University.
I’m excited to become more involved in an EACE committee in the upcoming year. I’ve seen the value first hand, and I want to ensure others have the same opportunity to have a great experience. High-fives all around for a great conference, and continuing to all practice what we preach!
Cheryl Rotyliano is a Career Coach and Community Developer at Ithaca College