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Programme Committee
Washington 2024

The foundation of our summit is strengthened by the dedication of the Programme Committee, composed of distinguished career services leaders from across the globe. Their unwavering commitment ensures that our efforts coalesce seamlessly to provide an unparalleled experience. Guided by a set of core principles, we aim to deliver a summit that stands as a beacon of excellence:

  • Interactive Learning: We place great emphasis on carving out ample time for meaningful interactions and peer-to-peer learning, fostering an environment of collaborative growth.
  • User-Centered Approach: Our programme content is curated with you in mind, rooted in a user-centered approach that ensures relevance, applicability, and tangible takeaways.
  • Diverse Perspectives: With a commitment to inclusivity, we curate a diverse range of viewpoints throughout the programme, sparking enriched discussions and multifaceted learning experiences.
  • Engagement Beyond Boundaries: We believe in nurturing engagement not only during the summit but also in the periods leading up to and between summits, to sustain the momentum of shared insights and connections.

The Global Career Services Summit is more than an event – it’s an immersive journey designed to elevate career services and empower professionals across the globe. We eagerly anticipate the convergence of our collective efforts to create an exceptional and transformative experience.

Mario Vela


Mario Vela is a visionary career development professional and double alumnus of The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). As a sociology and philosophy graduate with a Master of Science in Sociology, Mario’s career journey has been deeply rooted in empowering individuals and fostering inclusive career opportunities.

Mario’s commitment to social impact began at the non-profit Family Service Association in San Antonio, where he started his professional career. He then served as the Director of Partnerships at the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE) in Chicago, a leading organization dedicated to advancing the employment and development of Latino professionals. Mario’s role at HACE involved cultivating strategic relationships and creating impactful programs for aspiring professionals.

Following his successful tenure at HACE, Mario joined the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Chicago as the Director of Employer Relations. There, he played a pivotal role in establishing and managing over two-thousand global recruiting relationships, contributing to the sustained growth and success of the school’s career development initiatives.

In 2019, Mario returned to his alma mater, UTSA, as the Executive Director of the University Career Center, where he continues to make a significant impact on students’ and alumni career journeys. Currently, as the Assistant Vice-Provost of Career-Engaged Learning, Mario leads UTSA’s Classroom to Careers initiatives, driving innovation and bridging academic learning and professional success.

Mario’s vision for career development extends beyond his professional roles. He is the founder of the HSI Career Collaborative, a consultant, and mentor, engaging with students, professionals, and organizations to share his knowledge and inspire others to navigate their career paths with confidence. Mario’s dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion has led him to actively support initiatives that promote equal opportunities for underrepresented individuals in the workforce. Through his leadership, he strives to create a future where every individual can thrive and achieve their full potential.

With his experience and dedication to empowering individuals in their career paths, Mario is excited to share his insights and expertise by serving as Chair of the Programme Committee. The GCSS aligns with his mission to foster inclusive and impactful career development opportunities for students worldwide.

Griet Blieck

Griet Blieck has over 20 years of higher education experience in different roles. She is currently Head of the Corporate Relations Office at the Faculty of Economics and Business of the KU Leuven, Belgium. Her main areas of expertise are university-business cooperation, career & employability services, experiential learning inside and outside the curriculum, student-entrepreneurship and alumni relations.

FEB’s Corporate Relations Office acts as the central hub for external stakeholders. In close cooperation with the faculty’s student associations and the corporate world, the Office offers a broad portfolio of job market preparation initiatives. In addition, the Office organizes or facilitates intra and extra-curricular initiatives to develop management and employability skills in line with student’s own aspirations & ambitions of their future career. The goal is to enable students to confidently navigate the labour market and make informed career decisions.

Formerly she was Head of the Project Office where she co-ordinated many national and European funded projects in the field of professional skills development within Higher Education and the labour market. She also coached other staff members in grant writing.

Stephen Boyd

Stephen is Director of Careers & Employability at the Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK. He has extensive strategic leadership experience having worked in HE careers sector for over 20 years. During that time, he has been fortunate to work with some amazing colleagues and had the privilege to lead some fantastic teams and, as such, been involved in some major innovations and developments in the careers and employability space. Areas of interest are widespread covering all aspects of our work but his current focus includes organisational culture; diversifying talent into careers work; managing change within teams and services; and measuring impact of careers work. The Careers Service at Manchester Met has recently received national and international recognition for its pioneering careers work, picking up a number of awards in 2023 including Best Student Program at the Global Careers Services Summit in London. A keen writer, speaker, and researcher of all aspects of employability, his doctoral thesis was entitled “Expectation, Interaction And Transition: A Study Of University Careers Fairs” (a subsequent article on this research was published in the NICEC Journal. In his spare time Stephen is currently writing (very slowly) a crime fiction novel and is an avid follower of Manchester City Football (Soccer) Club.

Kelly Charwat

Kelly Charwat has been working as the Program Associate of Interdisciplinary & Strategic Career Initiatives at the George Washington University Center for Career Services since April 2022. Her work focuses on marketing and communications initiatives for the Center. She also teaches a First-Year Experience course for the Columbian College of Arts & Sciences as a part-time faculty member. Prior to GW, she spent over 6 years working for the Washington Nationals. She managed the Nationals Authentics Program overseeing the acquisition, organization, and distribution of the Nationals memorabilia inventory. Kelly earned her BS in Kinesiology and Family Science from the University of Maryland – College Park and recently completed her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Western States.

Rachael Collins

Rachael has over 19 years of experience in the higher education sector, with a rich and diverse background in employability-related roles. Presently serving as the Deputy Director of Careers & Employability at the Manchester Metropolitan University, Rachael brings a strategic approach to achieving institutional priorities, with a particular emphasis on business engagement, enterprise, digital & marketing, and strategic projects.

Rachael plays a key role in raising the team’s external profile which this year has contributed to the Careers & Employability team winning a number of prestigious high-profile awards for their sector-leading work.

Throughout her career journey, Rachael has held various positions, including Career Advisor, Head of Placements, and, most recently, Head of Student Success. In her most recent role, she focuses on student-centric initiatives, future-proofing the employability offer, and building stakeholder partnerships. Rachael is committed to empowering students and equipping them for the ever-evolving landscape of work.

Tobe R. Frierson

Tobe R. Frierson is the Director of Strategic Enrollment Management Services in the division of Enrollment and Student Success (ESS) at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. In her role she serves as the chief-of-staff to the Vice Provost for Enrollment and Student Success, and is an integral part of the ESS leadership team. Tobe, along with the ESS operations team, is responsible for the oversight of core administrative and operational functions for the ESS division which includes: Undergraduate Admissions, Graduate Enrollment Management, Student Success, Student Financial Assistance, and the Center for Career Services. Tobe is responsible for coordinating strategic initiatives, assisting with the development and implementation of enrollment management plan development, supporting professional development, and planning special events for the division.

Trevor Johnston

Trevor Johnston is the Head of Careers, Employability & Skills at Queens University with responsibility for strategic planning and leadership of the Service in accordance with the University’s Strategy 2030 ambition with particular focus on enhancing the employability of Queen’s students. He leads the Service which supports students to develop their skills to prepare them for the world of work, enabling employers to come onto campus and meet and recruit Queen’s students as well as the international mobility team which supports some 300 students per year to undertake study and work opprotunities in some 30 countries around the world.

Prior to joining Queen’s, Trevor held a range of private sector roles as UK Business Development Manager for National Skills Academy for Environmental Technologies and Regional Manager for Northern Ireland with SummitSkills, a Sector Skills Council with responsibility for representing employers. He has previously led the development of an All-Ireland Interreg Funded Renewable Energy Installer Academy establishing regional training provision for a range of renewable energy technologies and an Ireland wide training, certification and quality inspection scheme for renewable energy installers.

Claire Klieger

Dr. Claire Klieger is Assistant Vice President & Executive Director, Career Services at Swarthmore College. She is a seasoned career services professional. Throughout her career at Swarthmore and the University of Pennsylvania, Claire has focused on highlighting the value and versatility of a liberal arts education and actively pursues strategies to navigate barriers to access for underrepresented students. In addition, she has worked as an international career content specialist, including a year in Morocco to help establish U.S.-style career centers at public universities and vocational centers in Morocco.

Claire believes strongly in the merits of cross-cultural learning, spending her formative years living in the Middle East and North Africa. Claire has a doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in English and Anthropology from the University of Virginia. She’s thrilled to be attending her 7th Global Career Summit!

Aranee Manoharan

Aranee is Senior Associate Director for Careers & Employability at King’s College London, delivering an integrated approach to student career development across the whole student lifecycle, both in and out of the curriculum.

A Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Aranee specialises in designing inclusive curricula that prepares students with the knowledge, skills, and experience for lifelong success, using high-impact pedagogies and assessments that are delivered in collaboration with community & industry-based partners to facilitate real-world learning and impact.

A committed advocate for equity, inclusion, and social mobility, Aranee has contributed to addressing structural inequities impacting refugee and ethnic minority communities in the areas of health, social, education, and human rights for nearly 20 years. Within HE, she serves on a number of sector boards, including as an expert adviser for the Royal Society of Biology HUBS Network on the ethnicity awarding gap; a member of the Institute for Student Employers (ISE) EDI Working Group as well as Advance HE’s Race Equality Charter Governance Committee; and as a Board Director for AGCAS, the UK’s professional body for HE Graduate Careers Services & Professionals, where she leads the social mobility, widening participation, and regional inequality portfolio.

Aranee also heads up her own consultancy, AM Coaching & Consulting (AMCC), which specialises in implementing inclusive strategies to facilitate equitable, effective, and high-performing working and learning environments. This includes working with organisations to establish inclusive practice in the areas of leadership & management development, Board development and governance, graduate talent development, and curriculum design.

Dr Alan McAlpine

Alan is the Deputy Director Student Success at Curtin University. He leads a team that spans the student journey from orientation to graduation. He looks after three main teams, orientation and transition, Careers and Employability and the (new) Social Impact Hub. Alan was previously Associate Director, Student Success at QUT, and prior to that managed Careers and Employment for over ten years. He is a longstanding Management Committee member of the National Association of Graduate Career Advisory Services (NAGCAS) and was President from 2010 – 2014. He sits on the Career Industry Council of Australia (CICA) executive and chairs the board of Graduate Careers Australia. Alan has over 20 years’ experience in the career development field, the majority of which has been in the Higher Education sector. During that time, he was part of three citation awards from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC). He is a tragic 70’s music rock lover and plays his guitar (very badly) and sings.

Maura Quinn

Maura Quinn leads Early Career, DEI and Talent Acquisition Programs at Liberty Mutual. She has dedicated her career designing and implementing innovative recruiting initiatives and executing on best in-class customer service to better attract, engage and hire talent from all backgrounds for internships and entry level positions. She began this career journey with Liberty Mutual almost 22 years ago as a new college graduate.

Maura graduated from Boston College with a bachelor’s degree in human resources management and marketing. She currently serves on the College Industry Board, the Association of Campus Recruiting Executives and formerly the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Board of Directors.

Michelle Schenk

Michelle Schenk is the Senior Director of the University Career Center at the University of Texas San Antonio, managing a centralized career office which liaises to nine colleges. She has a passion for experience design and is thrilled to be a part of the GCS Summit Programme Committee again. Prior to her career in higher education, she served eight years active-duty in the U.S Air Force in a variety of roles: first as a financial manager for a defense satellite program at Los Angeles Air Force Base, then as an aerospace studies instructor (AFROTC) at the University of Washington in Seattle, and finally as a Financial Services Officer at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. After serving in the military, Michelle went back to higher education and started off her career management journey as an MBA career advisor for the full-time MBA program at Texas McCombs, The University of Texas at Austin.

Michelle has over 19 years of higher education experience,16 years specifically in career management. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration at Trinity University, her master’s degree in public administration at the University of Washington, and her second master’s degree in advertising at The University of Texas in Austin.