The State Chapter of the National Career Development Association

GCDA's 2019 Mini-Conference 

"Empowering Clients and Unlocking Potential:

Proven Strategies in Career Counseling and Coaching"

As professionals in the Career Development space, we often deal with client issues around career fit, organizational change, burnout, effective job search strategies, and the impact of career uncertainty on mental health.  This conference will hold multiple sessions around these topics and offer practical and proven techniques to enable the successful empowerment and support of clients. 


Date: Friday, March 15, 2019

Time: 9am-3pm (check-in begins at 8am)


Oglethorpe University

4484 Peachtree Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30319

Free parking on site is available for all attendees. 

CEUs: 4.5 Expected


DNA Behavior, a sponsor for GCDA’s 2019 Conference, is offering each conference attendee a free report that describes your unique workplace talents. Upon registering, you will receive a link to take the short assessment. DNA Behavior will be onsite at the conference to discuss how you can use the results to better understand individual communication styles and accelerate performance.

FranNet invites each conference attendee to take a free confidential online Franchise Readiness Assessment. Simply visit and click the button at the top.  Upon completion, you'll instantly receive your 11-page customized profile report. A FranNet Associate will be onsite at the conference to discuss how this tool helps you assess your entrepreneurial core competencies, leadership and work style, your risk profile and the characteristics of businesses aligned best with your goals and needs.



Members: $145

Non-members: $170

Students/Retirees: $50

All prices include breakfast, lunch, parking, and CEUs.

Keynote Presentation


Career Coaching and Counseling: Approaches for All

While the two professions may sound similar, career coaches and career counselors perform different tasks. Understanding the differences between career coaching and career counseling is fundamental for career development practitioners. The two concepts may mirror congruence.  However career counseling and career counseling require different techniques and training for implementation.

Mastering the distinction between the two principles can help build a stronger alliance with the client. The session will discuss specific techniques that are utilized to cultivate both the coaching and counseling process.

  • Identify specific career coaching approaches and techniques
  • Implement specific strategies and counseling techniques
  • Distinguish between the two principles and determine appropriate usage
  • Discover which approach is most suitable for various clients
About the Speaker

  Dr. Sharon Givens is a researcher, a licensed psychotherapist and supervisor in South Carolina. She is also

  licensed to practice in North Carolina and Virginia. Sharon is a career counselor, professional trainer and

  academician. She is the CEO and Director of Visions Counseling and Career Center LLC., (VCCC). VCCC is a

  premier private practice offering career counseling and coaching, mental health counseling and psychological

  testing with locations in Columbia SC, Fort Mill, SC and Charlotte, NC. Sharon is also the sole proprietor of

  Training Visions, an international training firm, dedicated to providing customized training in the areas of career

  development, diversity and mentoring. Sharon has an undergraduate degree in social work with a minor in

  psychology. She has a graduate certificate in Psychiatric Rehabilitation and a Master of Science in Counseling

  and a Master of Education in Adult Education. Sharon also has a doctorate in curriculum and instruction with a

  cognate in counseling. Sharon was the recipient of the Lorin Anderson Award for Doctoral Research.

Dr. Givens is a National Board Certified Counselor, a Board Certified, Tele Mental Health Provider, Certified Career Counselor, Board Certified Life and Career Coach, Human Services Board Certified Practitioner, Approved Clinical Supervisor, a Global Career Development Facilitator, a Career Development Facilitator Instructor, a Certified Career Services Provider, National Career Development Association Master Trainer and a True Colors Facilitator. She has developed and conducted over 300 training/seminars across the country and in West Africa. Her specialty areas are career development, mental health issues, twenty-first century skills, work-life balance, instructional design, cultural sensitivity training and dialogue, and program evaluation.

Dr. Givens is active in several organizations. She is a member of the National Career Development Association, American Counseling Association, Association of Talent Development, Chi Sigma Iota- Honor Counseling Fraternity, and the International Mentoring Association.

Conference Schedule at a Glance

Check-in, Breakfast, Introductions


Keynote: Dr. Sharon Givens: "Career Counseling and Coaching: Approaches for All"




Breakout Session #1 (choose one)

  • Kali DeWald, BCC & Maggie O'Brien, NCC: "Transformative Coaching Appointments: Using the Stages of Change to Empower Clients and Students"
  • Malisa Anderson-Strait: "Company Lists that Expand Career Opportunities: Getting Job Seekers Out of Their Search Comfort Zone"
  • Andrea Holyfield: "Vision Boards: A Powerful Career Development Tool for All Ages"




Breakout Session #2 (choose one)

  • David Harris, MTS, MS: "Measuring Progress, Measuring Success: Mentoring  career clients in the first five minutes"
  • Jill Forest, MS: "Thriving as an Introvert in Your Career"
  • Alex Bryant, MPA: "Chaos Theory of Careers: Practical Approaches for Clients to Navigate the Changing Nature of Careers"




Session #3 

  • Panel Discussion: "Career Counseling/Coaching and Psychotherapy: Collaborative Practices for Unlocking Clients’ Potential" featuring Dr. Michelle Tullier, Dr. Mack Bowers, Hannah Hawkins-Esther, LSCW, Kalpana Murthy, LPC, Career Coach and EMDR Psychotherapist, Dr. Ndiya Nkongho, and Dr. Avrum Weiss


Closing and Conference Adjourns


Presentation & Presenter Information 

Breakout Session #1 Workshops

Transformative Coaching Appointments: Using the Stages of Change to Empower Clients and Students

Presenters: Kali DeWald, NCC, BCC & Maggie O'Brien, NCC, University of Georgia Career Center

Many individuals might wonder: what does "meeting the client where they are" really mean? Obviously, there are many ways to interpret this common statement among helping professionals. However, the Stages of Change, part of the Transtheoretical Model (TTM), provide career services professionals with a structure to assess, assist, and empower our clients/students to discover where they are at in the change process and what practices would need to take place in order to get to the next stage. These 6-stages of change suggest that while the amount of time a person can stay in each stage varies, certain practices must take place in order for individuals to move into the next stage. Coaches can also assist clients to reduce resistance, assist and promote their progress and support individuals to prevent relapse via education of the 6-stages. The framework for this workshop will be the Stages of Change model, where I will explain the 6 stages individuals experience during their change process. With this model as a lens, individuals will see their work in a new way—skilled at using process-based strategies to connect with and empower individuals and combat resistance. Many career coaches believe that only the individual can provide the clues needed to reveal their readiness for change, and I want to empower coaches to unveil this within their appointments. This workshop will provide each participant with resources and specific strategies to help them in their work and offer opportunities for participants to practice what they've learned.

After attending this workshop, career specialists will discover the necessity of assessing students' and clients' readiness for change using the Stages of Change model. Given the six-stage model, career specialists will learn specific stage-based coaching strategies and tools to use within each stage that will both empower clients and assist in goal setting. To help clients and students excel in reaching their goals, career specialists will learn when action-oriented interventions will be most effective within the change process.

Company Lists that Expand Career Opportunities: Getting Job Seekers Out of Their Search Comfort Zone

Presenter: Malisa Anderson-Strait, Business & Career Librarian, Goizueta Business Library, Emory University

Job seekers can often easily target five to ten well-known firms, be they undergraduates, MBAs or working professionals with decades of experience. However, in limiting their career search to that short list of companies, a job seeker may be missing a great fit.  The challenge is convincing individuals to strategically expand their lists.  This session will focus on tips, strategies and best practices for leveraging subscription resources available via many university and public libraries for career research.  It will also discuss ways to coach users to see the value in an expanded target list.  For example, GIS tools are great for more than creating maps and can inform users seeking to target companies that align with specific industry, function or niche location criteria.  Mining industry directories on their own can be overwhelming for a job search, but combined with other contact sources can lead to networking opportunities. These tools can encourage and motivate job seekers to select criteria to fit key priorities meaningful to them, as well as thoughtfully revise their criteria for a successful job search.

  • Motivate your job seekers to expand their search strategies to identify firms that may not be top of mind
  • Identify best practices for maximizing available subscription resources to align with job seekers’ research success
  • Explore ways to successfully help job seekers better identify firms for their career search

Vision Boards: A Powerful Career Development Tool for All Ages

Presenter: Andrea Holyfield, Managing Consultant, Warren Averett Workplace

Typically used in life coaching settings, many people believe vision boards help the creator manifest or subconsciously create their desires. Whether or not an individual holds a belief in subconscious creation or metaphysical manifestation, it is widely believed that having a vision for a future helps us with decision making and planning. Visioning compliments many career theories including Super’s self-concept, Gottfredson’s process of selection and Social Cognitive Career Theory’s Choice Model.


Vision boards are effective with any age group as an effective and long-term career development intervention. Whether the career professional is counseling a client through anxiety or depression related to work or coaching them through a career transition, vision boards provide a tangible tool that can be used to create measurable outcomes.

Session Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will learn best practices for creating a vision board session
  • Participants will leave with the tools necessary to lead an effective vision board session
  • Participants will learn how to structure a strategic plan after a vision board session


Breakout Session #2 Workshops


Measuring Progress, Measuring Success: Mentoring career clients in the first five minutes

Presenter: David Harris, MTS, MS - Rock Springs Positive Coaching, Caring, and Counseling, Inc.

Challenge: Career professionals usually possess an immense treasure chest of resources and information plus wonderful abilities for brainstorming and exploring options and creating new possibilities. However, we constantly face the limitations imposed by the availability of session time combined with the client’s own desire to move quickly.

Solution: Mentoring in the first five minutes using the Career Client Check-in


This workshop will teach the technique of creating and reinforcing the client’s awareness and regard for 1) work-life integration, 2) developing and maintaining an active and engaged network 3) exploring new possibilities in work and in lifestyle. In addition, the workshop presents a quick and highly effective method for creating success by monitoring progress.

 1)   Understand the methodology of the Career Client Check-in Form

2)    Ability to use the form with clients

3)    Understand the importance of monitoring progress to create successful outcomes

4)    Understand the importance of positive feedback in creating success


Thriving as an Introvert in Your Career

Presenter: Jill Forest, MS - IMPACT Group

Because of the quiet, reflective nature of Introverts, their valuable ideas and insights may not be shared with others, they may not see the importance of developing relationships in the office and in their professional network(s) and they may not understand how their more reserved nature can be negatively perceived by others.  Unfortunately, all of these actions can adversely affect their career growth and opportunities.  In this presentation, career specialists will learn how to help their clients: 

  • Overcome negative perceptions at work
  • Build relationships in the office and throughout the company/organization
  • Become visible to their supervisors and colleagues while still being true to who they are
  • Navigate and prioritize when to attend a professional development activity
  • Learn to manage their energy levels

Chaos Theory of Careers: Practical Approaches for Clients to Navigate the Changing Nature of Careers

Presenter:  Alex Bryant, MPA/Lead Consultant/Omega Forty Seven Consulting

Chaos Theory of Careers (CTC; Pryor and Bright, 2011) has emerged as an increasingly prevalent contemporary career development model. Theoretical concepts emphasize adaptability in a modern world where complexity and change inevitably impact professional pursuits. Evolving from Chaos Theory based in the fields of mathematics and science, CTC maintains that, though life is unpredictable, risk; optimism; and persistence can optimize the chances of the right opportunities presenting themselves. Despite the theory’s growing popularity, application among career development practitioners is still in its infancy though several career centers throughout the U.S. have begun to integrate CTC into their operational frameworks.


This session will explore CTC principles and the benefits of incorporating its theoretical facets into career counseling and coaching. We will dissect CTC’s practical applications (many of which build upon existing best practices) to include targeted networking, archetypal narratives, and “planmanship.” The presentation will examine proven CTC strategies employed by post-secondary institutions across the nation such as Toppel Career Center at the University of Miami and Vanderbilt Career Center at Vanderbilt University. The session will demonstrate creative ways to cultivate a “chaos culture” where students, clients, and stakeholders are encouraged to actively engage with CTC tenets.

  • Explore Chaos Theory of Careers principles and benefits of practical application in career counseling and coaching practices.
  • Dissect effective strategies and best practices for implementation.
  • Examine methods for cultivating a “chaos culture” to encourage participation among students, clients, and stakeholders.

Session #3 - Panel Discussion

Title: Career Counseling/Coaching and Psychotherapy: Collaborative Practices for Unlocking Clients’ Potential 

Moderator: Dr. Michelle Tullier - Georgia Tech


Summary: Career counselors and coaches know that clients need to bring their full, authentic selves to their careers. Clearly defined values, sense of self-efficacy, motivation, resilience, and effective relationship skills are key for tackling issues of career decisions and goal-setting, work performance, professional relationships and growth, and goal attainment, e.g., job searching. Similarly, psychotherapists and mental health counselors find that clients experience roadblocks to personal growth and well-being when grappling with issues of career indecision, dissatisfaction or challenges on the job, grief and stress over job loss, or lack of knowledge to move toward career goals.


The career development lexicon (Savickas, 2015) could be read as a list of common problems in psychotherapy: attitudes, beliefs, decidedness, developmental tasks, exploration, maturity, role salience, self-concept, self-efficacy, self-implementation, stages, transitions, and more. Where

does the role of a career counselor end and that of a psychotherapist begin, or the reverse? Or, is it that neither must end for the other to begin and instead both blend to help clients reach their potential?


This panel of psychotherapists, moderated by a career counselor, will address the convergence and divergence of career counseling and psychotherapeutic interventions and approaches when clients’ work and personal worlds collide on the road to finding meaning, satisfaction, success, and peace in their lives. Practical considerations will be discussed as well, such as how therapists and career counselors or coaches can best collaborate, and ethical or legal considerations for sharing of information and other communication. 


Savickas, M. L. (2015). Career counseling paradigms: guiding, developing, and designing. In P. Hartung, M. Savickas & W. Walsh (Eds.), APA handbook of career intervention, vol 1 (p. 135). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.


Panelists: Dr. Mack Bowers, Hannah Hawkins-Esther, LSCW, Kalpana Murthy, LPC, Career Coach and EMDR Psychotherapist, Dr. Ndiya Nkongho, and Dr. Avrum Weiss


If you are interested in presenting at GCDA's Conference in March 2020, please reach out to Kali DeWald, 

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