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The MCDA Wellspring October 2015


President’s Letter

By Susan Gordon


MCDA President reflects on the theme for next year and shares updates on what's to come.

Link to President's Letter  

MCDA Fall Networking Event: Positive Psychology with Denise Riebman


Come find out how to use positive psychology strategies to tackle the feared networking context.

Link to Event Details

Finding Employment that Works for Individuals with Asperger's Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder)


A seminar designed to assist career counselors, coaches, and other professionals who want to be better equipped to work with these clients.

Link to Event Details

Press Release: NCDA Launches New Website

By Melanie Reinersman


Information about the new NCDA website and web magazine.

Link to Press Release Details

Announcement: Call for Submissions
By Ronda Ansted

This year's MCDA theme is Meaningful Career, Meaningful Life and we want to hear from you.

Link to Announcement
Article: 3 Tips for Designing an Inspirational Workspace
By Caitlin Magidson

What does your work space say to you? Read Caitlin's interesting suggestions on how to feel energized and inspired at work.

Link to Article


Link to Announcement

Looking for Newsletter Contributions

By Krasi Shapkarova


Call for newsletter submissions.

Contribute to the newsletter

President's Letter

by Susan Gordon


My first professional job seemed like a dream come true; I was a programmer with IBM. I earned a nice salary, worked hard, and had great colleagues. But, I was not a happy camper. My life did not feel meaningful because my career did not hold meaning for me. Recently, the MCDA board joined together to plan for the upcoming year. While we enjoyed a beautiful September Saturday, creativity flowed. As we chatted about a theme for the conference, we became excited by the concept of what it is to have a meaningful career. I am delighted to announce that we are planning our year’s programming and conference around the theme of Meaningful Career, Meaningful Life.

If you are interested in speaking on a topic that is related to our theme, please see our call for program proposals and newsletter articles in this newsletter. Soon, you'll be receiving our call for conference proposals, as well. We look forward to reading your ideas.  For further info on proposals for programming,  you may contact Ronda Ansted, our President-Elect at mcda.pelect@mdcareers.org.

Speaking of  programs, we hope you are able to join us as we kick off the year at our annual networking event, featuring Denise Reibman. October will also feature our collaboration with Barbara Bissonnette, who will provide a full day training on “Finding Employment that Works for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum Disorder.” I attended Barbara’s seminar last year, and found it really beneficial. Information on both events could be found in this newsletter.

Our conference Meaningful Career, Meaningful Life will be held once again in Columbia, Maryland, the dates are Thursday evening, April 28, and Friday, April 29. Mark your calendars, and consider what you might submit for a conference proposal. 

Lastly, we have an exciting development to report: we are hiring a Virtual Assistant to help with our website and a variety of other administrative tasks for 5-25 hours per month. As you know, MCDA has been run exclusively by volunteers, all of us balancing work and family. It will be fantastic to have help with keeping the website up to date, getting the newsletter out, and in particular with conference coordination. My ongoing thanks to all the MCDA members who help to make sure we continue to thrive and provide professional development activities and networking to all of us. The VA will make it easier to focus on content! 

We look forward to providing you with a year of opportunities to be engaged with MCDA. We’ll put together a variety of opportunities to connect and learn. If you have ideas you’d like to share, let me know! You can email me at mcda.president@mdcareers.org.

Have a meaningful fall!



Sue Gordon

MCDA President


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MCDA Fall Networking Event: Positive Psychology with Denise Riebman

When: October 13, 2015 / 7:00pm-9:00pm

Where: Greenbelt Community Center, 15 Crescent Road, Room 201, Greenbelt, MD 20770

“Networking” is a term that can bring anxiety and foreboding to career professionals and job-seekers alike. Although plenty of advice and strategies are available, by integrating positive psychology resources, the networking experience can shift into something that builds self-efficacy and creates possibilities. Denise Riebman, a positive psychology career coach, will provide us with a highly interactive evening using positive psychology to change the way we approach this most effective of job hunting strategies. Be sure to forward this to anyone who cringes or groans when entering a room full of strangers, and make sure you come yourself to learn how you can make networking a “positive" experience!

Denise Riebman is a career development specialist who applies a strength-based, positive psychology framework towards inspiring individuals to find career happiness. Currently the Director of Career Development and Alumni Services at George Washington University’s Trachtenberg School, she has spent over 20 years working in the nonprofit and higher education sectors, specializing in career advancement, professional leadership, and community development. Since 2013, Denise has served as the National AmeriCorps Alum Career Coach where she shares career advice through national webinars and a career column. In 2014, she launched CareerHappinessCoach.com which offers individual coaching, workshops and consulting.

With certifications and training in Positive Psychology, Global Career Development Facilitation, Presence Based Coaching, Federal Careers and The Coaches Institute, Denise is deeply passionate about motivating people to see their potential and find fulfilling careers that impact the world for positive change. Denise has a PPM from the Muskie School of Public Service, USM.

How: To register, visit www.mdcareers.org.

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  Finding Employment that Works for Individuals with Asperger's Syndrome

(Autism Spectrum Disorder)

When: October 29, 2015 / 10:00am-4:30pm

Where: Sheraton Columbia Town Center Hotel, 10207 Wincopin Circle, 21044

This seminar is designed specifically for career counselors, coaches, vocational rehabilitation and transition specialists, and other professionals who want to be better equipped to guide these students and clients. You will learn:
  • How individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome think, and the impact of communication, sensory, and executive function difficulties in the workplace 
  • Why occupational choices should not be based on interests 
  • Four steps to finding the right job match 
  • How to establish rapport, deal with unrealistic expectations, develop manageable job search strategies 
Much more Information is presented using non-technical language, and illustrated with examples from the presenter’s extensive experience coaching hundreds of adults with Asperger’s Syndrome and similar autism spectrum profiles. Content is for professionals who assist individuals seeking competitive (not sheltered or supported) employment. 

Who: Barbara Bissonnette is the Principal of Forward Motion Coaching. She specializes in career development coaching for individuals with Asperger's Syndrome. She is the author of three books including Helping Adults with Asperger's Syndrome Get & Stay Hired: Career Coaching Strategies for Professional & Parents of Adults on the Autism Spectrum.

*This event is eligible for NCDA CEs for the GDCF credential. 

This event is not eligible for NBCC CEs.

How: To register, click here.

MCDA members receive a $30 discount off the registration fee.
Early Bird registration open until 10/9/2015!!


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 NCDA Launches New Website

by Melanie Reinersman


NCDA is proud to announce the debut of the newly updated website, www.ncda.org and web magazine, www.careerconvergence.org. With ideas collected from members over the past several years, the upgrade provides a better experience for all those NCDA serves in the field of career development. As always, the website is the face and first contact of NCDA, with the aim to remain inspiring and empowering!

September 1, 2015 marked the debut of the new NCDA website. Visitors will immediately notice numerous visual changes to the pages and layout, while experiencing behind-the-scenes changes that increase efficiency, services and ease of use. Additionally, a newly updated mobile-friendly site is available. Members also benefit from new online services.

NCDA will continue to make the website the “face and first contact of NCDA,” as described by Rich Feller, NCDA President, 2012-13. The high traffic volume, per hit rate analytics, shows an extensive number of people served (both members and non-members). According to Deneen Pennington, NCDA Executive Director, the NCDA tech contractor and website host, TCS Software, “manages a number of websites, including many that we have referred to them. Their client list is impressive, so for them to say we are at the “top of the traffic list” is quite remarkable.” We anticipate that the traffic will continue to grow on the website and mobile-friendly site.


Members and visitors can attend live demonstrations of the new website at the Career Practitioner Institute in Vancouver in October 2015 and New Orleans in February 2016, as well as at the NCDA Global Career Development Conference in Chicago in June 2016. An online Tour/Tutorial will also be available in 2016. These presentations will showcase new site's extensive resources, ease of use, and value to both members and non-members.


In the future, NCDA will continue to collect feedback and ideas for potential website changes. The site is designed to be dynamic to meet the ever-changing needs of our members and the clients they serve. Career Convergence, the NCDA web magazine, provides evidence that changes in the field of career development are continuously occurring and NCDA aims to keep abreast of them. The Board is working hard to make NCDA an outstanding association to meet the needs of all the groups we serve. We want to make sure all members understand and know what we are doing. The detailed long term plan is on the NCDA website.

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Call for Submissions
By Ronda Ansted

Are you interested in presenting something under this year’s theme, Meaningful Careers, Meaningful Life? If so, we want to hear from you! If you have ideas for a skill-builders workshop, a networking event, or a webinar, please express your interest using this online form: http://goo.gl/forms/E4cEruocPW. If you’d like to host an informal networking get-together in your area, we can publicize it if you host it. We’re hoping to give members even more opportunities to get together, learn from each other, and network. Please be in touch and make this year meaningful!

Ronda Ansted, DM

MCDA President-Elect

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 3 Tips for Designing an Inspirational Workspace
By Caitlin Magidson

What does your work space say to you? What does it say about you to others? Does it say, “I’m committed to being here. I feel energized in this space. Innovation happens here.” Or, does it say, “I’m unsettled. I’m unmotivated. I’m stuck.”

Our work environment contributes to how we work and what messages we send to others about the experience they might have with us. A recent Forbes article shares that approximately 80% of what we perceive or experience is based upon the visual sense of our environment. As a Career Coach I hope to create a safe and inviting atmosphere for students and alumni; a place where they feel open to explore and create.

Here are 3 tips for Designing an Inspirational Workspace:

       1. Make It Your Own and Get Inspired

You could:

  • Frame a motto: Who are you and what inspires you? Why do you do what you do? I have a framed picture that says “Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You” by Steve Martin
  • Display a picture of your team: Do you love who you work with? Do you believe in “we” instead of “I”? Remember who you work with by keeping them in mind.
  • Grow a plant: Is there some life in your office? Will a bit of nature create a different feel? I have a few plants in my office…I won’t tell you if they are real or not but they sure do look good!

      2. Tell a Story

You could:

  • Create a theme with color or images: What colors align with your personality or company culture? Do things match, or are they distracting? I have themes of green and blue in my office.
  • Put up a whiteboard for brainstorming: Are you prepared to use your office to brainstorm?  Do you have a way to organize thoughts? I love using my whiteboard with students to brainstorm job search strategy.
  • Hang a wire to display pictures: Want to add a creative element to your office or remember your travels? Think of new ways of displaying the memories you love most.
  • Design an inspiration collage: Are there ideas, words, or pictures that help others learn about you? I have a big Zebra on my wall to represent that while they say a Zebra can’t change its stripes…in my office you can explore and change!
       3. Take Care of You

You could:

  • Use ergonomically friendly furniture: Do you take care of yourself by using good furniture? Is your computer screen adjusted right? Consider the adjustments you need to feel comfortable and happy.
  • Get up and walk: Your workspace may be inviting, but studies show that getting up is beneficial for your health. I try to take walks with my coworkers and brainstorm on an occasional run.
  • Keep it Clean: Does your space smell good and look good? Is there hand sanitizer available? Use green cleaning supplies to keep your workspace sanitary and environmentally friendly. I love wet-wipes!
  • Drink lots of water: Are you feeling good at work? What we eat and drink has an effect on how we feel at work. I keep a water bottle on my desk to stay hydrated.

When thinking about your current work or study space, what changes would you like to make? Your workspace matters; it creates identity, can promote productivity, and sends a message to others about what you’re all about.

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 Save the Date: Holiday Networking Party


When: December 8, 2015 / 6:30pm - 9:00pm

Where: Silver Springs, exact place TBD

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 Looking for Newsletter Contributions

by Krasi Shapkarova, MCDA Newsletter Editor


Greetings MCDA colleagues!

I hope you've had a wonderful summer. I am still looking for MCDA members interested in contributing to the newsletter. If you are interested (and I hope all of you are!), check out the submission guidelines here and/or email me directly at k.shapkarova@jhu.edu with questions, comments or concerns.


Krasi Shapkarova


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