Follow us on:   
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in comments
Filter by Content Type
Resource Listings

A Review of the Nova Scotia Career Development Association 2012 Conference


by Patrick Brush


The 14th Annual NSCDA Career Development Conference—“Hoped-filled Approaches to Career Development” was held on May 30 – June 1 in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. This conference has continued to offer an opportunity for career practitioners within the province a place to connect and be open to new ideas that assist us and challenge us in the work that we do. This year was no exception, as we had Gray Poehnell as our pre-conference workshop facilitator presenting on Guiding Circles. Gray also delivered the keynote address on Hope-filled Engagement, challenging us to be respectfully present to those with whom we work. Gray also facilitated a workshop on the topic ofMattering on the final morning of the conference.  The feedback for Gray was very positive: “excellent choice for conference”; “really enjoyed Gray”; “keynote was excellent”; “I so enjoyed the conference! Gray was the highlight.  He is an amazing speaker.”; “I think he was the perfect selection for our colleagues to hear, especially when we all know change is upon us.”


We were also fortunate to have Joan Jessome, President of the Nova Scotia Government Employee’s Union, with us as our conference closing speaker. She shared her remarkable life story which inspired us and made clear the source of her extraordinary commitment to social justice. Joan also spoke to us about her passion for her career— advocating for the rights of workers and all those who are marginalized in Nova Scotia.  I believe that it is important for the career development sector to hear from, and make better connections with, the labour movement. One person wrote that they found Joan inspiring and hopeful. Her talk challenged us to remember that advocacy is hope in action.


This year there was real growth and excitement with the conference. Three events were held in conjunction with the main conference: a Mental Health Charting the Course pre-conference session; a Career Summit Dinner hosted by Career Cruising; and a networking luncheon hosted by CERIC.  We were also fortunate to have many talented presenters who offered 30 diverse workshops. This year was our first year to have these workshops coded to the Canadian Standards and Guidelines for Career Development Practitioners.


The conference this year, while a positive event, also challenged us as it called upon us to be hopeful in challenging economic and social times, where many of our clients, and in fact we as career practitioners, are feeling less hopeful than usual due to the current labour market conditions. In fact the current labour market conditions in Canada and beyond are going through drastic changes that affect both those who are not working and those who are. This year the conference was under pressure, as organizations and government departments that have traditionally sent their employees to the conference in the past were under considerable funding restraints. As well, core funding that we have always received in the past was cut in half. The Conference Planning Committee worked particularly hard to find new sources of funding and stay within our budget!


The conference serves a vital component in providing a place to connect with one another and learn best practices in career development. For many of us working in the field it can be challenging to stay hopeful in our work when more and more, on a daily basis, we witness injustice, inequality, poverty and other social ills. Gray Poehnell and Joan Jessome both provided some solid examples for us on how to be hopeful and committed to our clients in these challenging times. It is my hope that we use this wisdom to work at influencing systems so they better meet the needs of those who we are working for, our clients.


Patrick Brush, BA, B.S.W., S.W.C.,has a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Calgary and currently works as a career practitioner, doing case management with unemployed adults. Patrick lives and works in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia for PeopleWorx, and was Chair of the 2012 Annual Nova Scotia Career Development Association Conference. Contact him


Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 July 2012 10:55


Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar