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Maine Career Development Association

2022 Annual Conference

Rethinking Work and Career Practice:
Responding to the Multiple Crises of the 2020s

Friday, June 17, 2022, 9:00am-3:00pm
University of Southern Maine, Lewiston-Auburn Campus

Schedule of Events (Subject to Change):

9:00am Welcome & Announcements

9:15-10:30am Keynote

10:30-10:40am Break

10:40-11:30am Q&A with Dr. Blustein

11:45am- Lunch

12:15-12:45pm Business Meeting

1:00-2:00pm Workshop Session #1

2:00-2:15pm Break

2:15-3:15pm Workshop Session #2


  • Full Day: $80
  • Virtual (AM portion only): $65
  • Graduate Student (Full Day): $40
  • Graduate Student (AM Virtual): $40

Full day registration includes keynote,
lunch and workshop sessions.

A 2022-2023 MCDA Membership is also included in the registration fee!

Register Today!

Annual Conference Sponsors

If you or your organization is interested in being a conference sponsor, please be in touch with MCDA co-treasurer Karen McGrady.

Sponsorship entails the following: 

"Conference Friend" Level - $75 

  • Small advertisement in conference program
  • Logo on slide during welcome and business meeting
  • Logo on poster in Welcome Lobby 

"Conference Sponsor" Level - $200 

  • Table display in registration area
  • Conference registration fee waived
  • Large advertisement in conference program
  • Advertisement slide during welcome and business meeting
  • Logo on poster in Welcome Lobby


Dr. David Blustein, Ph.D
Lynch School of Education & Human Development
Boston College

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a game-changing event, particularly for those who have lost their lives, their family members, their livelihoods, and their hope for the future. COVID-19 has transformed societies in ways that are still far from being understood. Adding to the sense of precarity is the advent of major war in Europe as well as significant changes in the labor market, such as The Great Resignation. As policy experts, government leaders, and other advocates consider how to rebuild our wounded and grieving societies, serious attention needs to be devoted to how the institution of work should be revamped in the wake of the massive job disruptions that are endemic to this crisis.

This presentation focuses on rethinking work from the vantage point of working people, students, and career professionals. What does research and theory tell us about how work can be constructed so that it is decent, dignified, stable, and secure? This presentation will propose a conceptual and practice-focused framework that can optimally contribute to the rebuilding of work as a source of decent and dignified experiences for all. Implications for career practice and policy conclude the presentation.

About David:

David L. Blustein is a Professor and the Golden Eagle Faculty Fellow in the Department of Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology at Boston College.  David is the author of The Psychology of Working: A New Perspective for Career Development, Counseling, and Public Policy and the recently published The Importance of Work in an Age of Uncertainty: The Eroding Experience of Work in America. He has been instrumental in developing psychology of working theory, which represents an inclusive and social justice-informed perspective on the role of work in people's lives and in their communities. David has contributed numerous articles and book chapters on psychology of working theory, unemployment, career counseling, decent work, dignity at work, precarious work, relationships and work, and other aspects of the role of work in people’s lives. David has extensive experience in providing psychological and career services to clients as well as consultation with national and international organizations, such as the International Labor Organization, OECD, and the United Nations Development Program. 

Session Workshops
Click on the titles to learn more


Dwight Littlefield
State Director for Career & Technical Education
Maine Department of Education
Augusta, ME

Rick Wilson
Career Education Specialist
Maine Department of Education
Augusta, ME

Samantha Brink
Vice President of Extended Learning Opportunities
Jobs for Maine's Graduates (JMG)
Augusta, ME

Strong economies hinge upon youth having the skills they need to secure meaningful, well-paid work. Post COVID and in the midst of Maine’s growing labor shortage, it’s time to rethink when,where and how we are preparing students for our shared future.

Join three Maine Workforce Development specialists for this informational panel discussion about innovation and opportunity in the area of workforce development for high school students across the state of Maine, what organizations are supporting this work, and resources for deeper dives.

Participants will:

- Learn how Career and Technical Education is a great opportunity for all Maine students, where it’s growing, and how students and employers benefit
- Learn about the history of Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO) in Maine, its current expansion and collaboration with employers
- Learn how ELOs create an infrastructure for students to learn, earn academic credits and credentials, and explore career pathways

About the Presenters:

Dwight Littlefield is the State Director for Career and Technical Education at the Maine Department of Education, a position he has held since 2018. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine at Presque Isle in Health Education. Dwight has spent 25 years in education in the private and public sector and is currently the chair of the KVCC Foundation Board.

Rick Wilson is a Career Education Specialist for the Maine Department of Education in the office of Workforce Development and Innovative Pathways, and Coordinator of the current Statewide Expansion of Extended Learning Programming Funding. Rick, a graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington and Norwich University, was a teacher and ELO Coordinator for over thirty years mostly in Brunswick.

Samantha Brink, Vice President of ELO Programming, leads JMG’s ELO Team with the goal of expanding access to Extended Learning Opportunities (ELOs) to all Maine high school students through the creation and management of an infrastructure accessible by schools across our state to support credit-bearing career exploration. Prior to her role at JMG, Samantha spent almost 10 years running the ELO program for Sanford High School & Regional Technical Center. In addition, Samantha co-chairs Maine C3, a grassroots, professional development organization for community-based educators in Maine.


David Lee
Career Coach
Heart at Work Associates

If there’s anything the pandemic has taught us is that we all need to “up our game” when it comes to resilience. The increased level of change, challenge, and uncertainty we are facing requires that we and our clients upgrade our toolkit to address.

In this presentation, we explore techniques and practices that build a person’s capacity to deal with whatever challenges life brings. The approaches you will learn are based on research from the world of mind/body medicine, neurobiology, peak performance athletics, and wisdom traditions. You will learn both methods and the science behind them. In this session, you will learn techniques and ongoing practices that will help you bounce back from setbacks and keep your spirits and energy high throughout your job search.

Participants will: - Learn how to launch yourself out of an anxious “I just can’t do this” state into an empowered “I’ve got this!”state
- Learn the simple—yet incredibly powerful—practice that you can use to boost your mood at will, and…increase your overall ability to handle stress
- Learn how to apply the technique elite athletes use to increase their energy level and endurance, so you have the energy to do the things you need to do and the positive presence that makes others want to help you and hire you.

About the Presenter:

David Lee is a career coach and workplace consultant who has been involved in the resilience field for over 30 years, first as a clinician, and now as a consultant, speaker, and coach. He has presented on stress, resilience, and trauma throughout North America and abroad. His program Becoming Resilient has aired multiple times on public radio.


Rebecca Fraser-Thill
Fraser-Thill Coaching & Consulting, LLC

Narratives are central to our sense of meaning and direction in life. During times of change, our narratives can become unfocused or muddled, causing confusion and uncertainty. In this workshop we’ll discuss narrative psychology, how stories shift in different stages of life, and the ways in which we can actively support our clients’ narrative identity development throughout their work lives. Healthy stories about ourselves arise in community, not in isolation, so career counselors and coaches are integral to the process, which we'll discuss in full.

Participants will:

- Learn how identity development unfolds, and why the process is essential for well-being
Understand key findings from research in narrative psychology, including what redemption and contamination sequences comprise
- Reflect on their own narratives and how they have developed, as a means of understanding their clients' process

About the Presenter:

Rebecca Fraser-Thill is a Pivot Method certified Career Coach and the Senior Contributor at Forbes on meaningful work. Rebecca taught psychology at Bates College for 18 years and led the design of the Purposeful Work program there. She holds a Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology from Cornell University. Her coaching and writing have been featured in Business Insider, Dow Jones’ MarketWatch, Chicago Tribune, the BBC, the New York Post, Quartz, Oprah, Optimal Living Daily, The Zoe Report, VeryWell Family, The Tot and The Huffington Post, among other outlets. You can find her at www.RebeccaFT.com


Josh Mangin
Mainely Counseling, LLC

Our understanding of work is in a current flux. In this time of rapid change, metaphors may give a sense of purpose, direction, and understanding. This presentation will explore how nature can be a rich wellspring of metaphors and provide new perspectives to help clients understand and reconnect with their career journey. This presentation will provide demonstration on how to integrate nature-based therapeutic modalities with career counseling and development.

Participants will:
- Develop skills to discern when to use nature metaphors to assist with client's career development and career transitions
- Gain an introductory knowledge on how to integrate popular nature-based modalities within a career development framework
- Apply nature based metaphors to their own career journeys

About the Presenter:

Josh Mangin is a career and mental health counselor and currently a doctoral student in the University of Southern Maine's Leadership program. Gardening is his passion, especially when it comes to growing pumpkins, beets, and gourds.


Jim Peacock
Peak-Careers Consulting

Chaos? Happenstance? Luck? Serendipity? The chaos of life often complicates things for us. In a perfect world, assessments can assist a client in choosing an occupation, but life is more chaotic than that for most of us. This session will look at what we can do to help a person create opportunities. Learn how to help students/clients create unplanned events and to look at career exploration as an opportunity to discover new occupations. Discover ways that you can use intentional serendipity in your daily work.

Participants will be able to:
- Identify examples of ‘chance’ in their own lives which changed their career
- Describe three action steps they can recommend to their clients to help them create curiosity
- Identify three steps they can recommend to their clients to create luck & career opportunities
- Describe the key elements of the Happenstance Learning Theory
- List 5 skills required to create chance

About the Presenter:

Jim Peacock is the Principal of Peak-Careers Consulting offering professional development for career practitioners, including the Facilitating Career Development (FCD) class, online seminars, and workshops. He is a Certified Career Services Provider (CCSP), a two-time President of Maine-CDA, recipient of the 2007 NCDA Outstanding Career Practitioner Award, and the Ken Hoyt Career Education Practitioner Award in 2020. Author of A Field Guide for Career Practitioners.


David Lee
Career Coach
Heart At Work Associates

Storytelling is a powerful—yet gentle and non-intrusive--way of inviting people to see their problems from a different perspective, package hard-to-hear feedback and ideas in a non-threatening way that doesn’t trigger feedback, and help people break free from inertia and a sense of helplessness. It also adds a tremendous sense of freshness to the work of career counselors, coaches, and educators because it helps them add more of their creativity and personality to their work. In this session, we will explore a few of the ways you can use stories to increase the efficacy—and fun factor--of your work.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

- Help clients shift from a disempowered “I can’t" state to an empowered “I can do this" and "I can see options now" state using storytelling
- Make their ideas and teaching points more understandable, fascinating and memorable, using stories and analogies
- Challenge clients’ unproductive perspectives without being confrontational and triggering defensiveness
- Help clients “try out” new behaviors in their mind, by creating “virtual reality training videos”, enabling them to see new waves of acting and responding
- Make the stories clients use to answer behavioral interview questions more compelling by adding an I (for Insight) to the SAR (Situation Action Result) or STAR (Situation Task Action Result) models typically taught by career coaches

About the Presenter:

David Lee, M.Ed. has been using and teaching storytelling as a change catalyst tool to audiences of therapists, coaches, educators, and leaders for 30 years, and has presented at conferences throughout North America and abroad. He is the author of Powerful Storytelling Techniques (ATD Press), Dealing with a Difficult Co-Worker, as well as numerous articles on this and related topic. The third edition of The Talent Handbook includes a chapter of his on using storytelling in onboarding new employees.


Anush Hansen
Kennebunk Career & Wellness Counseling

The pandemic has caused many of us to rethink how we want to work, and what is most important to us. As we think about entering into a more “normal,” post-pandemic world, it’s more important than ever to evaluate and vocalize our values, priorities and goals, and to determine what we need to feel more balanced, healthy and fulfilled in work and life.

In this highly interactive session, career and mental health counselor Anush Hansen will provide some background on the connections between wellness and work-life balance, the use of card sorts in career counseling, and why and how she developed the Work-Life Balance Assessment card sort. She will offer strategies for how you can use it with your clients and students to help them prioritize self-care, career development, and better work-life balance moving forward.

During the second half of the session Anush will facilitate an interactive group activity, where you’ll identify your top career priorities. She’ll lead you through a series of thought-provoking follow-up questions to help you reflect upon the meaning of your priorities, and start thinking about small changes you can implement to move toward your goals.

Anush will also briefly introduce two new student card sort tools that are in development, including the Student Balance & Wellness Card Sort, and the Student Career Values Card Sort.

Participants will be able to:

- Describe the 8 Dimensions of Wellness and how work-life balance can be conceptualized within a wellness framework
- List 3 ways they can use the Work-Life Balance Assessment with their clients and students in order to help them build more balance and wellness into their day-to-day lives
- Gain a clearer sense of their own career priorities, and will walk away with some specific steps for moving toward their career and work-life balance goals

About the Presenter:

Anush Hansen is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Career Counselor, and the owner of Kennebunk Career & Wellness Counseling, where she helps clients discover and build careers they love. She is also the owner of Balanced Card Sorts and the creator of the Work-Life Balance Assessment. Anush holds a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling and a master’s in Public Health.

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