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Registration closes Friday, November 17, 2023

It’s no secret that the last few years have been challenging. The pandemic has driven change and upheaval in businesses and academic institutions across the globe at break-necking speeds. However, it’s the ‘Talent Revolution’ currently taking place that now presents the biggest challenge: what exactly matters when it comes to work? Is it innovative AI, robust leadership, luxury benefit packages, or relaxing advanced degrees and certifications? With engaging round table discussions and empowering speakers, we'll uncover and examine strategies, metrics, and tactics to adjust to the future of the agile workforce.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. Learn more here!

For questions about this conference, please contact our Conference Planning Co-Chairs at conference-planning@wiace.org

Hotel Information: 

The Lismore Hotel

333 Gibson Street

Eau Claire, WI  54701

Room Block Information:  Rooms are currently available within our room block through October 31, 2023 Rooms may still be available at the conference rate after October 31st, but are not guaranteed.

Room Rates:   $90.00 per night

Direct Booking Link:  Click here to book your stay for the conference!

Additional Booking Options: 

  1. Book on the Hotel Website (click the link, select "special rates" and enter the three-letter group code (ACE) in the group code box:    https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/eaudtdt-the-lismore-hotel-eau-claire/?SEO_id=GMB-DT-EAUDTDT&y_source=1_MzI2NDc5OC03MTUtbG9jYXRpb24uZ29vZ2xlX3dlYnNpdGVfb3ZlcnJpZGU%3D
  2. Book by calling the hotel directly:  Call the hotel directly at (715) 835-8888 & select option “0” to be directed to the Lismore Hotels Front Desk. Guests should reference the Group Code (ACE) when calling to book their room, that is the easiest way our Front Desk staff can find the room block.

Conference Registration: 

  • WI-ACE Member Rate:  $230 (Not a member yet? Join WIACE first and receive the member discount)
  • Non-Member Rate: $280
  • Student Rate (Full-time undergraduate or Graduate Student): $100
  • Single Day Rate: $175 (attend Thursday only or Friday only; same price for members & non-members)


Registration closes Friday, November 17, 2023


Click here to download a PDF copy of the agenda




Dr. Carolyn Colleen, PhD, MBA (Fierce Academy)

Building Bridges to Balance, Resilience, and Success: Nurturing the Future Workforce - Celebrating Our 60th Anniversary

Session Description: 

As we celebrate our organization's 60th anniversary, we reflect on the importance of nurturing the future workforce to achieve balance, resilience, and success. This keynote presentation will explore the theme of building bridges that foster an environment of growth, well-being, and achievement.

The future workforce is shaped by the values, support systems, and opportunities we provide. The significance of nurturing students and those who serve them through mentorship, professional development, and a culture that embraces work-life balance. We will consider the components of creating a thriving workplace, including fostering a positive and inclusive environment, promoting mental health and self-care, and prioritizing the holistic growth of our teams.

Join us as we commemorate our remarkable milestone, celebrate our collective achievements, and embrace our responsibility to nurture the future workforce. Together, let us build bridges that inspire balance, resilience, and success, ensuring that the next generation of professionals thrives and contributes to a flourishing and prosperous future.

Speaker Biography: 

Dr. Carolyn Colleen, PhD, MBA, is a dynamic and multifaceted entrepreneur, accomplished author, and internationally recognized speaker who is passionate about helping individuals reach their personal and professional aspirations. With her unwavering commitment to empowerment, Carolyn has left an indelible mark through her various ventures and leadership roles. 
As a devoted mother of three, Carolyn intimately understands the delicate balance between family, career, and lifestyle. In her pursuit of creating positive change, she founded the FIERCE Foundation—an organization dedicated to empowering underserved women and their children by providing education, access, and community support. Simultaneously, Carolyn established the Fierce Network, a vibrant community that equips women with life strategies for achieving success. 
Carolyn's prowess as an author is well-regarded, with notable works such as "F.I.E.R.C.E.: Transform Your Life in the Face of Adversity, 5 Minutes at a Time!" and her co-authored book, "Academic and Educational Entrepreneurship." Additionally, she is the proud owner of Acton Academy Midwest, a STEM-based entrepreneurial and trades school that places a strong emphasis on collaborative learning and real-world projects rooted in the principles of Servant Leadership. 
Drawing upon her expertise in the scientifically-based XCHANGE approach, Carolyn is highly regarded as a consultant in effective leadership, facilitation, and management. Her diverse professional roles have included Executive Director, Program Manager, Associate Professor, and Account Management Executive, all of which showcase her breadth of knowledge and experience. 
Carolyn's dedication extends to advocacy as she served as a delegate for the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations in 2023. Through this role, she passionately champions gender equality and women's empowerment on a global scale. Furthermore, Carolyn serves as the Chair of the Martin Luther King Jr Planning Committee and holds board positions in multiple non-profit organizations that are committed to supporting empowerment and self-sufficiency within underserved communities. 
Driven by her unwavering commitment to empowering people to achieve financial freedom and generational self-sufficiency, Carolyn Colleen stands as a true leader in her field. Her relentless pursuit of positive change and her ability to inspire others make her an influential force in both entrepreneurship and advocacy. 


Trevor McCray, Ph.D. (UW-Madison)

Advancing Community Cultural Wealth: Using Asset-Based Frameworks to Support Latine/x/o/a Career Influences

Session Description: 

Drawing from Social Networks and Community Cultural Wealth data collected from the Networks and Cultural Assets Project, this presentation examines how students use their cultural assets and interpersonal relationships to support and influence their career decision-making. While forming their career aspirations, developing professional identities, and maintaining pride in their communities of origin. This presentation aims to help individuals attending this session on various influencers that drives college students' career interest. Ultimately, through the shown research data, individuals attending will take away tangible tools to impact and embrace the next generation of unique talent within this era of the workforce.      

Speaker Biography: 

Trevor D. McCray is a Research Associate working alongside the Networks and Cultural Assets Project Team within the Center for Research on college-Workforce Transitions. With a background in Criminal Justice, Higher Education, Trevor earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Arlington Department of K-16 Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Trevor has over six years of experience as a student affairs practitioner, primarily centered around career development. He promotes inclusive practices, avenues, and opportunities that speak to the whole career development cycle for students, staff, faculty, and employers. 



Brian Barts, Director & Sara Anger, Career Development Manager/Career Coach

UW-Stout Career Services

Grow, Persist, Succeed (GPS): a coordinating program navigating career readiness in on-campus student jobs

Session Description: 

Join us for an insightful session on the GPS program, 2022 WI-ACE Innovation Award recipient, a student focused skill-building program, aimed to impact retention rates of UW-Stout students through career readiness competency development achieved through campus-based applied learning experiences.  We will share our innovative approach, focusing on applied learning, career guidance and fostering collaborative efforts across campus.  A concise overview of the program’s mission and objectives will be shared, along with first year successes and challenges, and leave you with changes for the second year based on feedback and data-driven insights.        



Todd Kuckkahn

Put Your Oxygen Mask On First

Session Description: 

Can we just get it right? Change and uncertainty will always be around us and impact the future of work. So, let's start by getting ourselves right and "put our oxygen mask on first" so we can better help others. Differences make us better and it is even more true with the five generations we have in the workplace. Are we tolerating diversity or engaging it? If we take care of these, talent retention and attraction become part of a regular cycle leading to meaningful engagement and increased productivity. 

Speaker Biography: 

Todd Kuckkahn is on a mission to revolutionize company culture and leadership. Throughout his career, Todd has done countless presentations, workshops, and seminars at local, state, national and international conferences. Todd annually hosts Live2Lead featuring John Maxwell and other internationally known leadership speakers.

Todd is passionate about sharing his experience and knowledge in communication, leadership, generations, personal growth, and company culture. He writes for numerous publications, including an international publication.

His passion for leadership and culture earned him an independent speaker, coach, teacher, and trainer certification with (John C.) Maxwell Leadership. He is both DISC and DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) certified.

His numerous live and virtual speaking engagements include conferences for: International Economic Development Council Leadership Summit, United Way Great Rivers, State of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce Executives. State Society of Human Resource Managers, Big Ten Conference Fundraisers, International Maxwell Certification, Special Olympics International Torch Run, New Beginnings Motivation, and UnleashU Now. He has also appeared on numerous podcasts and co-hosts his own, Crushin’ Company Culture.

Todd is a proud University of Wisconsin graduate in education and holds a Master of Science degree in education from UW-Platteville. He is willing to travel anywhere in the world to add more value to others than he receives through his faith.


Dr. Sunem Beaton-Garcia, Ed.D. (Chippewa Valley Technical College)

Future-Proofing Education: Generative AI's Role in Higher Learning and Workforce Development

Session Description:

How can faculty, staff and executive administrators “reimagine” -

  • their vision, mission related to ChatGPT and other technology
  • their approach to teaching and learning
  • their academic policies and processes
  • recreate the student experience to keep pace with societal change.

The more the technology landscape changes, the greater the opportunity to create human assistive technology which potentially strengthens high education’s value proposition.

Speaker Biography: 

Dr. Beaton-Garcia is an experienced educator and administrator with a passion for technical education. She holds a Doctorate in Education from Nova Southeastern University and has spent over 25 years in academia, serving as a professor, department head, and dean. 

Dr. Beaton-Garcia’s commitment to technical education is evidenced by her extensive involvement in the development and implementation of innovative curricula that integrate industry-recognized certifications and practical, hands-on training. She has also been a strong advocate for partnerships between educational institutions and industry, facilitating opportunities for students to gain real-world experience and for faculty to engage in innovative practices.  

Dr. Beaton-Garcia is a passionate advocate for the community and the College, exemplified through her service on various local, state, and national boards. She is committed to creating a supportive and inclusive environment for students and faculty alike, where innovation, creativity, and excellence thrive. 

As President of Chippewa Valley Technical College, Dr. Beaton-Garcia has led the institution through a period of growth and transformation, expanding program offerings, improving student outcomes, and strengthening relationships with industry partners. She has also prioritized the use of technology to enhance the student experience, investing in state-of-the-art labs and classrooms, and implementing online learning platforms to increase access and flexibility for students. Under her leadership, CVTC has been recognized as a military-friendly college and one of the top 150 two-year colleges in the nation by the prestigious Aspen Institute. 

Thank you to our 2023 SILVER Sponsor:

In-Kind Sponsor: UW-Eau Claire

Sponsorships are still available! Learn more here >

About the association

WI-ACE is an organization of representatives from Wisconsin employers and Wisconsin higher educational institutions devoted to connecting students and graduates with internships, co-ops, and full-time positions



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