The MCDA Wellspring December 2016


Message from the President

By Ronda Ansted


Find out what the MCDA Board has been up to and read about upcoming opportunities to engage, learn, and celebrate.

Link to President's Message 

Feature Article: The Re-entry and Workforce Development Collaboration
By Denise Braxtonbrown-Smith


Community re-entry after incarceration is challenging. Here's how we can help.

Link to Full Article
Dependable Strengths
4-Day Facilitator Training


Learn about a professional development opportunity to become an Instructor of the Dependable Strengths Articulation Process.

Link to Details
MCDA 2017 Annual Conference
Call for Proposals

If you are interested in presenting at next year's conference, we are now looking for proposals.

Link to Details

Members in the News

MCDA members bring a variety of expertise and when others notice, we celebrate. 

Link to Details
National Career Development Month

There is still time to submit your entry in the Poster and Poetry Contest!

Link to Details
MCDA Holiday Party

'Tis the season to reflect and celebrate so come join MCDA colleagues as we round up another year of learning and growth.  

Link to Details

Looking for Newsletter Contributions

By Krasi Shapkarova


Call for newsletter submissions.

Contribute to the newsletter

Message from the President

By Ronda Ansted


Seasons greetings to all of you!

I hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving and that the coming months bring you beauty and connection

as well as the typical hustle and bustle of the holidays. And speaking of holidays, I hope to see you at MCDA's December party, this time up in Germantown! It's always a pleasure whenever we can get

together and our holiday party is always a treat.


Your MCDA Board has been working hard to continue to expand our offerings to our members and to

keep things transparent so that you know what's going on. Our minutes are posted on our website so

if you're interested in our plans for the future and the decisions we're making, please check them out.

Also, keep your eyes open for workshops and events that help you increase your knowledge and



Our National Career Development Month poetry and poster contest has been reinvigorated and

there's still time to submit something if you have recently been inspired. Deadline to enter is December

23. We are also looking forward to seeing you at our conference, especially if you want to present. Our topic is "Bringing Joy into Career Development" so please submit your proposal by December 12 if you have some joy to bring!


And if your New Year's Resolutions include giving back to your community, please consider joining the MCDA Board. We are looking to grow all of our committees, so no matter your gifts, talents, and

availability please think about how you want to contribute. Please email me directly at if you'd like to volunteer with us and I'll help you find the committee that could best use your support. We're especially looking for people with technology and social media expertise.


Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I had the chance to reflect on my gratitude. I'm especially grateful to be working with such a committed and visionary board and honored to be supporting my colleagues as

your MCDA President. We're all striving to be an association that our members are grateful for; please

let us know how we can do this better.


With thanks,

Ronda Ansted

MCDA President

Founder, Be the Change Career Consulting

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The Re-Entry and Workforce Development Collaboration 

By Denise Braxtonbrown-Smith

When members of our community return home from incarceration, the journey back is oftentimes

fraught with long winding roads and frustrating detours. Along the way, there are also many stumbling blocks. Family reunification, housing, medical, substance abuse, emotional, psychological

and employment needs can make the return resemble an insurmountable uphill climb. Although not a

panacea, employment can make a major difference in all other areas.

When seeking employment, the formerly incarcerated attempt to start over and leave the past behind. However, leaving the past behind is often unattainable. With the jargon of ex-offender friendly employer comes the notion that  some employers may take a chance with a drug addict who burglarized to

support a habit, one who distributed drugs, one who stole money or even one who killed. To this end,

the returning citizen is always confronted with what crime is acceptable or forgivable to which employer  and under what circumstances. To some extent, the past is always the present. At some point during the interview process, the formerly incarcerated must address the reason for imprisonment. Thus, the possibility of rejection is always looming.

Although skills, education and the ability to otherwise perform on a job are paramount, emotional stability is also a necessity. The ability to remain calm when faced with difficult situations, the ability to work

through frustration and disappointments are also required when job searching. Getting rejected after an interview or not even getting an interview can put a dent in anyone’s confidence, even if that person doesn’t have a criminal background.

While agencies continue to develop creative programs such as paid internships which lead to permanent positions, incentivized entry level positions, government subsidized jobs, career pathways and stipend training for in demand jobs, agencies can also help the individual tackle the guilt, lack of self-esteem and confidence held by many returning citizens. A person who does not feel worthy to have a career, a

person who feels he is not good enough to be successful or a person who has not experienced self-forgiveness will sabotage the job and will not keep it.

Work experience may be lacking, skills may need to be updated, and a career path may need to be outlined but when the person is really seen and has the experience of being treated as someone who

has overcome, even a winner, they often attempt to achieve their goals and soar. They need all of us

to believe in them. With hectic schedules and overwhelming caseloads our task is a daunting one. I am confident, however, that with steady doses of positive encouragement and reliable, responsible and

caring referral sources, we can accomplish anything with those who are finding their way back.

D. Branxtonbrown-Smith, PhD, CPC

Project Lead, Supporting Ex-Offenders in Employment, Training, and Transitional Services

Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake, Inc.

222 East Redwood Street

Baltimore, MD 21202

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Dependable Strengths

 4-Day Facilitator Training

When: January 9-12, 2017

Where: Hampton Inn, Opossumtown Pike, Frederick, MD

What: Become an Instructor of the Dependable Strengths Articulation Process (DSAP), an effective strengths identification and job-seeking process known to increases the participant’s ability to develop

a professional brand through narrative story, open opportunities, and increase networks.

The DSAP is a must-have tool for any professional in social service, education, or any helping profession.

Bring out the best in your clients, students, or customers! Help them identify their unique strengths while increasing their motivation, self-esteem, and self-direction. Then use the Job Magnet System to help

them find meaningful work.

Who: Presented by the East Coast Regional Center for Dependable Strengths

How: Visit the registration page and secure your spot.

Fee: $825. Covers the 4-day training and all the materials you will need to facilitate your own

Dependable Strengths Workshop.

Questions? Contact Anne Scholl-Fiedler at 301.529.7418.

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MCDA Annual Conference

"Bringing Joy into Career Development"

Call for Proposals

Help us make the 2017 MCDA Conference a great event!

We're now accepting session proposals for the conference on April 27-28, 2017 in Columbia, Maryland. The conference theme is "Bringing Joy into Career Development."

As a career and/or workforce development professional, you are encouraged to share your expertise

with your colleagues at the conference through a workshop, round table, or keynote presentation.

Proposals must be submitted electronically by midnight, Monday December 12, 2016. Instructions are available to assist you in completing your application(s). Both the online submission form and

instructions are available at

We look forward to receiving your proposal!

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Members in the News

Our very own MCDA President, Ronda Anstead, was recently interviewed by
Vicky Hallett of the Washington Post where she shares her insights on the
benefits of seeking job opportunities abroad. As she highlights, there is value in
international experience, which often brings self-awareness. To read the entire piece, visit Thinking of leaving the country? It could be a good career move.

 Reminder: Celebrate National Career Development Month

November is National Career Development Month! To celebrate, MCDA is hosting a poetry and poster contest. This is a chance to help promote literacy and careers among K-12 students and adults alike. State winners will progress to compete in the national poetry and poster contest. The contest deadline is December 23rd.


This year's theme is "The Joy of Work: Positive Approaches to Work, Career & Life!"

Access the entry form, find out more information and event ideas, or contact Lois Bennett, contest chair,


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MCDA Holiday Party

Jingle and Mingle at the Maryland Career Development Association Holiday Party! 


Please join us for a little bubbly and good cheer as we toast the holidays and the coming New Year!

Enjoy a cocktail and some delicious hors d'oeuvres! Bring a white elephant gift to exchange and a few extra dollars for raffle prizes from our careers community! Come celebrate 2016 with friends old and new! 


Date: Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Time: 7:00 - 9:30 pm

Place: Carrabbas of Germantown, 19935 Century Blvd, Germantown, MD 20874, 240-686-1100


For more information and online registration:

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Looking for Newsletter Contributions

by Krasi Shapkarova, MCDA Newsletter Editor


With the new year, starting in February, the MCDA Newsletter will become a monthly publication. Submissions for each month will relate to a specific theme. Be on the lookout for the themes coming
out soon!

In addition, career professionals love to celebrate each other. Have an accomplishment you are proud
of? Let us know so that we can share with the rest of the MCDA community.


Krasi Shapkarova


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MCDA, c/o Lisa Oliver, P.O. Box 553, Mechanicsville, MD 20659
Make check or money order payable to MCDA

MCDA, c/o Lisa Oliver
P.O. Box 553
Mechanicsville, MD 20659
Make check or money order payable to MCDA

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