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Spring 2023 NCDA
Career Practitioner Institute
February 24, 2023,  In-Person Only
Annapolis, Maryland


Building and Sustaining a Private Practice
in Career Development

Five hours of in-person presentations will cover the most significant topics in the realm of career development private practice, including ideal practices, inclusivity and client motivation. Presented by experts in the field, this event offers five CEs. Join the NCDA Board and the Maryland CDA at this in-person gathering in the historic east coast city of Annapolis.

Click here to view/print the Annapolis CPI Flyer


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Registration closes Feb. 20, 2023

NCDA W-9 Form

Registration Fees - Annapolis
Member $150
Student / New Professional / Retired $99
Non-Member $199




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*times listed are Eastern

8:30 - 8:45 am


Welcome and Opening Remarks
Lakeisha Mathews, NCDA President

8:45 - 9:45 am


Finding the Way to Your Ideal Private Practice
Karen Chopra

10:00 - 11:00 am


The Neurodiversity Movement: Building an Inclusive Workforce
Stacey Herman, Kennedy Krieger Institute

11:15 am - 12:15 pm


A Tech Guide for Private Practitioners
Melissa Venable, NCDA

12:15 - 1:15 pm Lunch Provided
1:15 - 2:15 pm


Keeping Clients Motivated
Courtney Warnsman, Austin Career Connections

2:30 - 3:30 pm


Building a Private Practice in Career Development - Panel
Lakeisha Mathews, NCDA President, University of Baltimore
Sharon Givens, NCDA Past-President, Visions Counseling and Career Center
Karol Taylor, Private Practice
Fred Demers, Fred Demers Associates, Inc.


Detailed Agenda

8:30 - 9:45 am
Finding the Way to Your Ideal Private PracticeKaren Chopra
Karen Chopra, Chopra Careers

We all long for a private practice that suits our skills and personalities, allows us to do satisfying work, and meets our financial needs. With a little clarity and a plan, that dream of a thriving private practice is achievable. This presentation will guide you through the process of envisioning your ideal private practice, identifying your clients, and creating a plan to move forward.

Bio: Karen Chopra has been a career counselor in private practice for nearly twenty five years. She founded Chopra Careers and has helped hundreds of clients with career exploration, job search, and career management. She also helps career professionals and therapists launch and grow their own private practices. Ms. Chopra presents regularly at professional conferences and has been interviewed for articles and podcasts, including by CNN, Money, and NPR. An expert in workplace negotiations, she created the Certified Salary Negotiation Specialist (CSNS) credential with the Career Planning Academy. She is the author of the book Coaching Career Clients on Salary and Other Workplace Negotiations. The Mid-Atlantic Career Counseling Association honored her for Outstanding Professional Contributions in 2021. The Maryland Career Development Association has honored her with their Outstanding Career Practitioner and Lifetime Achievement awards.

10:00 - 11:00 am
The Neurodiversity Movement: Building an Inclusive WorkforceStacey Herman
Stacey Herman, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Kennedy Krieger's Neurodiversity at Work program takes a multi-faceted approach to hiring and retaining individuals of all abilities as part of the workforce. Neurodiversity at Work is a collective impact initiative designed to create and support gainful employment for individuals with disabilities, providing economic benefit for businesses and the larger community.  This presentation provides an overview of neurodiversity, building an inclusive workforce, breaking down barriers to employment, myth busting, and understanding the business case for hiring individuals of all abilities.

Bio: Stacey Herman is the Assistant Vice President of Neurodiversity and Community Workforce Development at Kennedy Krieger Institute. Her role includes the creation and supervision of programs designed to support individuals with disabilities as they transition to the workforce and access their community. This role allows Stacey to interact directly with individuals while working with multiple departments inside Kennedy Krieger Institute and the business community to raise awareness, train and develop employment opportunities for individuals of all abilities. Stacey lead's Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Neurodiversity at Work program, working with community leaders, business professionals, and policy makers to realize the Institute’s long-term goal of improving employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Stacey is currently the president of the Association of People Supporting Employment First Maryland Chapter, and is an appointed member of the Governor’s Workforce Development Board in Maryland. Stacey is a leading member of the Maryland Project SEARCH Leadership Committee.
Stacey graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Inclusion Elementary and Special Education. She then continued her education receiving a Master of Science in Special Education at John’s Hopkins University. In her studies, she focused on severe disabilities with an emphasis in autism.
Website: Neurodiversity at Work at Kennedy Krieger | Kennedy Krieger Institute

11:15 am - 12:15 pm
A Tech Guide for Private Practitioners Melissa Venable
Melissa Venable, NCDA
Career coaches, counselors, and specialists working in private practice are responsible for providing high-quality career development products and services to their students and clients. They are also responsible for managing their business. Technology solutions are available to manage a wide variety of tasks from training and outreach to finances and scheduling. This session presents guidelines for comparing and selecting new tools, showcases several user-friendly and effective options, and includes resources for further exploration.  

Bio: Melissa Venable currently serves as the Director of Professional Development for NCDA. She is also the Board Chair for the Beaufort (SC) Digital Corridor, a nonprofit tech startup incubator supporting entrepreneurship in her local community. In addition to a professional background in online education and career services, Melissa’s experience includes 12 years working as an independent contractor on projects related to online training development and delivery, writing, editing, and graphic design. https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissavenable

1:15 - 2:15 pm
Turnarounds: Not Just for Business!Courtney Warnsman 2021
Courtney Warnsman, Austin Career Connections
Career transition and development can be such an exciting time. It can also be an extremely frustrating time when we may find ourselves with little or no energy to devote to our own careers much less to helping clients move forward in theirs. Join us for this interactive workshop where we will turn around that energy and share our favorite go-to strategies for motivating clients and ourselves.

2:30 - 3:30 pm

Private Practice: Past/Present/Future - Panel
Lakeisha MathewsSharon GivensKarol TaylorFred Demers
Do you currently have your own private practice or are you thinking about dipping your toe in the waters? Now is your chance to engage with a panel of successful private practitioners. Panelists will share their own experiences answering questions such as...What are some different options for private practice? What does it take to start one? What are the best strategies to market your practice and find clients? What is an appropriate fee structure? What does each panelist wish someone had told them before they went into the business? This session will wrap up with participant Q&A, so get those questions ready.

Lakeisha Mathews, NCDA President, University of Baltimore

Sharon Givens, NCDA Past-President, Visions Counseling and Career Center

Karol Taylor, Private Practice

Fred Demers, Fred Demers Associates, Inc.
Bio: Fred has over 35 years of experience in the field of human resources, organization change, and individual effectiveness – to include career navigation. Fred’s areas of expertise include Career Transition coaching, leader/executive coaching, talent and succession management, and organization effectiveness. He gained operations experience at General Electric, American General Insurance Company, and McCormick & Company, where he served as HR leader and management team member for Research & Development and for IT, and HR leader for Manufacturing & Sales.

Since 2008, Fred’s focus has been on Career Transition. In addition to his private practice, he served on Right Management/Manpower career transition teams from 2008 - 2016, and most recently with Whitehawk Group on major corporate downsizing/outplacement activity during the Covid crisis.

Fred is now engaged full-time with a Baltimore non-profit organization whose mission is to prepare, train, and connect returning, unemployed, and underemployed citizens to living wage jobs, many of whom are justice-involved.

Fred holds the CCSP and GCDF certifications, is a member of NCDA and MACCA. He holds master’s degrees in Business Administration and Organization Development, and Executive Coaching certificate from the Georgetown Leadership Coaching program.


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Continuing Education 

Five (5) Continuing Education hours are available. 

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NCDA's Credentialing Commission has approved the CPI according to the Continuing Education Manual

NCDA has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP #1003.  Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified.  NCDA is solely responsible for all aspects of this program.


After the event, NCDA will send participants an electronic link to the evaluation form. After completion of the evaluation, the system will direct you to your online membership record where your continuing education transcript can be printed.


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Annapolis Waterfront Hotel
80 Compromise Street
Annapolis, MD 21401

Room Rate: $229 plus taxes (currently 13%)
Reservations must be made by January 30 to receive the group rate

Online Hotel Reservations

Mark Your Calendar for the next Career Practitioner Institute
Fall 2023 - TBD

What is a Career Practitioner Institute?

NCDA offers these smaller, regional conferences for the purpose of

  1. gathering practitioners together for a day-long event or virtual afternoon at a low cost
  2. allowing state CDA leaders, NCDA Board members and representatives opportunities to present to and interact with smaller groups of practitioners
  3. showcasing NCDA expert members, helpful products and benefits to anyone working in the field of career development
  4. offering CEs (continuing education credits) to practitioners who seek these
  5. convening Board meetings and state CDAs


What are participants saying about
NCDA Career Practitioner Institutes?

 "Two of the best things about the presentations were the thought- provoking ideas and concepts and the competencies of the facilitators."

 "I enjoyed gaining new information and practices to re-energize my work."

 "As a new member, this was very beneficial... I learned about the many resources and training opportunities available to me personally, but also those that will be helpful in my work with my students."

What have participants learned?


"How to facilitate people to unlock their own potential."

"The importance of focus."

"How to be the 'guide on the side, not the sage on the stage'."