by Rich Feller

Arriving a day early from Fort Collins, Colorado to attend two Cannexus Pre-Conference Workshops I regret missing the third.  Eager to attend anything Mark Savickas presents I missed the Cannexus Actively Mastering What We Passively Suffer: A Counselling Session. Yet having access to Mark, and networking with him and his lovely wife in the Westin’s restaurant was a special treat.  I couldn’t get enough of Chris Kulbaba and his cutting edge work with The Social Media Toolkit and Career Counselors, and immersing myself in Norm Amundson’s Career Flow in Action the first day all expectations were exceeded. From there I joined the audience on the edge of our seats as Trey Anthony’s story and mentoring message inspired all of us to live fully with joy.

Having completed some work on the topic of legacy, I was moved by the richness and research behind Diane Doyon’s A Career Legacy Circle on day two. Fitting in meetings with CERIC leaders to discuss international collaboration caused me to reflect about how distance does not need to limit future National Career Development Association’s arrangements with Cannexus and other international groups working to advance career development policy. An update on NCDA’s recent international collaboration which includes a review of attending Cannexus appears in an article in Career Convergence magazine.

Fortunate to present on Survey on Working America: The Results are Clear; I drew from my NCDA colleague Past-President Cheri Butler’s work who attended Cannexus11. I’m hopeful the material was useful to participants. Challenged by their thoughtful questions and passion for helping those without privilege, access to technology or skill sets demanded within a rapidly changing global workplace left me humbled about career development’s work ahead. Lunch like no other time at a conference, I took notes about how NCDA might replicate the Cannexus Connections Networking Luncheon. Providing a mini-conference around box lunches added a great flavor to both networking opportunities and access to eight targeted topics and constituent groups. Accessing Mario Gravelle’s research between lunch and CERIC’s research arm was most profitable.

Phil Jarvis has been one of my mentors since early days of Choices, the Real Game and the Blueprint for Life.  So catching up with his exciting new Career Cruising work and seeing how he and Jeff Harris have integrated a suite of on-line career information, e-portfolio, course planner and community networking application offered me great hope about the future of technology and career development.

I learned that few colleagues have as much energy as Rob Shea. Joining luncheon attendees in providing a level of “hockey game applause” upon receiving a “free” copy of “A Multi-Sectoral Approach to Career Development:  A Decade of Canadian Research” (underwritten by The Counselling Foundation of Canada and CERIC) I felt my conference diploma had arrived!  With demands in Colorado calling, I extended my Ottawa stay to not miss the closing keynoter and panel.  And yes, I was hoping to catch a glimpse of any famous hockey player moving into the hotel to attend the NHL All-Star game. I’ve heard that some good hockey is played on any piece of ice in Canada, let alone during an all-star game!

Trying to get my hands around the future of career counselling and career development, the final pan-Canadian expert panel in the field of career counselling and development pushed me to see how both the constancy and change facing our profession demands courage and persistent honesty about our practice as demands grow and resources remain fixed as times grow lean.

And to finish off with a witty, resourceful and insightful Michael Adam’s keynote of Canada’s Demographic Destiny: Implications for our Rapidly Changing Labour Market, I pondered how NCDA might bring his wisdom to the States. His empathy for gender issues and concern for those with less access and opportunity matched his candor and vigour for asking tough questions about policy, social justice, and infrastructure investments. With my iPad notes running off the screen and head spinning, I raced to catch my plane to Colorado. Tired and stimulated by five days of pure career stimulation, only one question remained…how could I connect my “career flow” to my “social media kit” to better complete my “career cruise” around the “career legacy circle” within the “changing labour market”?. I’ve resolved that I best begin by reviewing A Multi-Sectoral Approach to Career Development:  A Decade of Canadian Research and reserve that United flight back to Cannexus13 for January 28-30, 2013. Merci, Au revoir mes amis.


Rich Feller Ph.D. is Professor of Counseling and Career Development and University Distinguished Teaching Scholar at Colorado State University, and President -Elect of the National Career Development Association in the United States.