EACE 2024 Board of Directors Elections

Director, Finance Candidate

Sonya Lawyer
Internship Director and Associate Professor, Art, Design, and Communication
Stevenson University

1. Describe your interest in serving on the EACE Board in this capacity.

Collegial. Inspiring. Inclusive.  These are the words that first come to mind when I think of EACE.  My first EACE conference was in 2018 in Reston, Virginia.  I entered that first conference in Virginia with a little bit of trepidation because I was unsure of what to expect and walked away with new friendships, new ideas, and a feeling of belonging.  I have enjoyed serving in numerous roles across the organization from my first role serving as a member of the Professional Development Committee.   I then moved on to being a Co-Chair for the Exhibitors and Sponsorships Committee for three years (during the pandemic). Serving as the Co-chair for the Programming Committee for the Annual Conference in 2023 hosted in Baltimore, Maryland was very rewarding because during the conference I ventured into numerous rooms filled to capacity.  Currently, I am co-chairing the PR and Marketing Committee.  Each role in EACE has provided me with insights into the organization, but none more than the PR and Marketing Committee.  Through this position, I have seen how many committees, volunteers, and staff it takes to run the organization in an efficient manner while remaining relevant in the career preparedness space.  Collaboration across all committees in the organization has been key and instrumental as this committee works on strategic communications to the organization’s membership.  It has been inspiring to volunteer for this organization, and I look forward to helping EACE achieve the goals presented in our most recent strategic plan.  No stranger to hard work, I believe “Service is the rent we pay for life here on earth”

2. What skills and experiences do you possess that have prepared you to be successful in this role?

Collaboration is key. Daily, I work with multiple constituents (students, faculty, administrators, and employers) to place students in five disciplines in the School of Design, Arts, and Communication at Stevenson University into rewarding internships.  Working with students to develop career readiness skills in an Internship Preparation course then turns into shepherding them through their first work-place experience in an internship course.  Firmly believing that the best teachers never stop learning, I consider myself to be tech-savvy but also willing to learn new applications and programs.  As an Internship Director, I utilize multiple skillsets everyday including budgeting, data management, relationship building, and a little bit of creativity.  My inner nerd might be showing, but I enjoy creating well-organized and informative Excel spreadsheets.  I hold a bachelor’s degree from Howard University and master’s degree from the University of Florida. In the past, I served on the Mid-Atlantic Board for the Society for Photographic Education.  As a conference chair, I was responsible for establishing budgets for a 2-day conference and securing sponsors for the conference and an on-site exhibition.

3. What ideas and/or goals do you have for this position?

My main purpose, if elected to the Director of Finance position, is to keep the organization fiscally responsible while adhering to our strategic plan.  While I co-chaired the Exhibitor and Sponsorship Committee, I witnessed first-hand the challenges that the pandemic presented in meeting our fundraising goals.   I am eternally grateful to the exhibitors and sponsors who stuck by us during the virtual conferences, and I completely understood the need of other exhibitors and sponsors to scale back during those challenging times.  If elected to the Director of Finance position I have three main goals.  First, I would work with the Exhibitors and Sponsorship Co-Chairs to cultivate and build new relationships to help the organization achieve our fundraising goals.  Second, I would like to explore the creation of new named grants and scholarships to help more attendees defer the costs associated with attending the conference.  Lastly, I look forward to providing the membership with timely and transparent reports on the state of the organization’s finances.

4. EACE History

Years as member: 5 years

EACE Service History: 2023 - 2024 | Co-Chair, PR and Marketing Committee;

2022 - 2023 | Co-Chair, Programming Committee for the EACE23 Annual Conference;

2021 - 2022 | Co-Chair, Exhibitors and Sponsorship Committee for the EACE22 Annual Conference;

2020 - 2021 | Co-Chair, Exhibitors and Sponsorship Committee for the EACE21 Annual Conference;

2019 - 2020 | Co-Chair, Exhibitors and Sponsorship Committee for the EACE20 Annual Conference;

2018 -  2019 | Committee Member, Professional Development Committee, Scholarships

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